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THE ART AND BUSINESS OF SPEAKING

March 2010

How to Knock Your

(Speaker’s) Block Off

Writing Tips from the Masters Cook Up a

Killer Query Do You Need a Book Agent?

Learn How to Market by Watching TV

Protect Your Online Imag2e PA G E 3

Challenging Assumptions achieve success by not fitting in Seth Godin, marketing guru and best-selling author

T h e O f f i c i a l M a g a z i n e o f t h e N at i o n a l S p e a k e r s Asso c i at i o n • w w w. n s a s p e a k e r . o r g


THE ART AND BUSINESS OF SPEAKING

March 2010

Challenging Assumptions

14

Think differently, innovatively or from a new perspective to create your unique voice as a speaker and a writer. By Kathryn Hammer FEATURES

to Knock Your (Speaker’s) Block Off 18 How Overcome psychological hurdles to create exciting new material. By Jared Meyer

22 Writing Tips from the Masters Take this sage advice from famous authors to improve your writing. By Sam Horn

Up a Killer Query 24 Cook Follow this fool-proof recipe for selling your book proposal. By Kathryn Hammer

28

Getting Your Book Published:

Do You Need an Agent? Tried-and-true tips for snagging a book agent or becoming your own. By Bonnie Tandy Leblang

Don’t Skip the Commercials! 30 Learn four ways to improve your marketing by watching TV. By Terri Langhans, CSP

CO LU M N S 6 Reality Check Putting a fine point on the speaking industry

8 What Would You Do? Casting a reality check on real-world conundrums

10 Welcome to My World A snapshot into the lives of the people who hire us

D EPARTMEN TS 12 Relevant Resources Time-saving tools and technologies

32 It’s Your Business Advice for enterprising speakers

34 Turning Point A career-changing moment or experience

38 Humor Me

4 News from Headquarters 36 Index of Advertisers 37 Calendar of Events

Quips, tips and parting shots

33 Beyond Borders Exploring culture, countries and comfort zones March 2010 | SPEAKER | 3


news from headquarters

National Speakers Association Officers Phillip Van Hooser, CSP, CPAE, President Kristin Arnold, MBA, CPF, CMC, CSP, President Elect Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, Vice President Ronald P. Culberson, MSW, CSP, Secretary Ron Karr, CSP, Treasurer Sam Silverstein, CSP, Immediate Past President Stacy Tetschner, CAE, Executive Vice President/CEO

Reported by Stacy Tetschner, CAE NSA Executive Vice President/CEO 2010 Art Berg Grant The Art Berg Fund provides grants for charitable projects that benefit clients. Applications will be accepted through April 1, 2010. For information, contact Andrea@ nsaspeaker.org or visit NSAFoundation.org. NSA Foundation Scholarships The NSA Foundation awards four $5,000 scholarships annually to juniors, seniors and graduate students who want to pursue a speaking career. To download an application, visit NSAFoundation.org. Submission deadline is June 1, 2010. IN MEMORIUM Kay duPont, CSP, CPDT, of Atlanta, Ga., passed away Dec. 25, 2009. duPont was a speaker, writer, trainer and an editorial consultant for The Communication Connection. She served as NSA Georgia newsletter director and Speaker magazine editorial board chair for two years. Jim Rohn, CPAE, 2004 Master of Influence Award recipient, died Dec. 5, 2009, after an 18-month battle with pulmonary fibrosis. His seminars, books, articles and CDs touched millions. Post remembrances at www.jimrohn.com.

Joanne Sujansky, PhD, CSP, of Pittsburgh, Pa., passed away Dec. 10, 2009. She founded KEYGroup® and wrote numerous books and articles on leadership, change and retention. Send cards to her family at 2666 Gloucester Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15241. Roz Trieber, MS, CHES, of Owings Mills, Md., died Dec. 31, 2009. She was a speaker, writer and seminar leader who specialized in humor and stress management. Send contributions to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2141 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 7000, El Segundo, CA 90245, Gilchrist Hospice, 11311 McCormick Rd., Suite 350, Hunt Valley, MD 21031, or Hopewell Cancer Support, PO Box 755, Brooklandville, MD 21022. Herb True, PhD, CPAE, of Notre Dame, Ind., died in November 2009. Dr. True, a founding member of NSA, was a humorist, a clinical psychologist, and a Professor Emeritus at Notre Dame University. Send contributions to The Center for the Homeless, 813 S. Michigan St., South Bend, IN 46601.

E x p e r i e n c e®

NSA’s monthly audio magazine

 ack Stage: Gerard Braud with •B Scott Halford, CSP  ategory of One: Joe Calloway, CSP, •C CPAE, with Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE  nes to Watch: Jane Atkinson with •O Scott Ginsberg • Off Stage: Gerard Braud with Rene Godefroy

• I f You Could Do Just One Thing This Month: Bill Cates, CSP, Chris Clark-Epstein, CSP, Ford Saeks and Mike Rayburn, CSP  SA Event Update: Mark Mayberry •N • Global Speakers Federation: Lindsay Adams, CSP  tarfish Humor: David Glickman •S  issecting Starfish: Ron Culberson, MSW, •D CSP, and David Glickman • President’s Message: Phillip Van Hooser,

4 | SPEAKER | March 2010

Board of Directors Marjorie Brody, PCC, CMC, CSP, CPAE Kirstin Carey, CSP Jarik Conrad, EdD, MBA, MILR, SPHR Ed Gerety, CSP Scott Halford, CSP Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE Linda Keith, CPA, CSP Scott McKain, CSP, CPAE Sarah Michel, CSP John B. Molidor, PhD Ford Saeks Jean Houston Shore, CPA, MBA, CSP Francine Ward, JD NSA Foundation The Foundation serves NSA members and the public through: • Financial help for NSA members and their families who are facing health or natural disaster emergencies; • Grants to NSA members who need help with their dues or meeting registration fees; • Scholarships for speech/communications students and professors; • Oversight and funding for speaking-related research; and • Grants to help charitable organizations communicate through technology Founder and Chairman Emeritus Nido R. Qubein, CSP, CPAE Chair Stephen Tweed, CSP NSA Foundation Board of Trustees Lenora Billings-Harris, CSP Terry Paulson, PhD, CSP, CPAE Jane Jenkins Herlong, CSP Sam Silverstein, CSP Don Hutson, CSP, CPAE Laura Stack, MBA, CSP Ron Karr, CSP Phillip Van Hooser, CSP, CPAE John B. Molidor, PhD Al Walker, CSP, CPAE

Speaker Editorial Advisory Board Molly Cox, Chair Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE Jill Konrath Gina Schreck, CSP Terri Langhans, CSP Dennis Stauffer

Managing Editor Barbara Parus

Design switchstudio.com

Publications Assistant Lauren Aiken

This Month on V o i c e s o f

Founder Cavett Robert, CSP, CPAE

MBA, CSP, CPAE

Editorial Office and Subscriptions: National Speakers Association 1500 S. Priest Drive • Tempe, AZ 85281 Tel: (480) 968-2552 • Fax: (480) 968-0911 Web site: www.nsaspeaker.org. Advertising Sales Mandy Schulze, CMP Sponsorships, Advertising & Exhibits Manager Tel: (480) 264-4297 • Cell: (480) 600-3512 Fax: (480) 264-4298 Email: mandy@NSAspeaker.org Speaker (ISSN 1934-9076) (USPS 012-886). Volume 4, Number 6. Published monthly except February and August by the National Speakers Association, 1500 S. Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281. Periodicals postage paid at Tempe, Arizona, and at additional mailing offices. Contents Copyright 2009 National Speakers Association, all rights reserved. Subscription rate for NSA members is $35 of $425 annual dues allocated to Speaker; non-member sub­scription rate is $49 for 10 issues. Add $10 for Canadian or international postage. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Speaker, National Speakers Association, 1500 S. Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281.


Lenora Billings-Harris, CSP Jane Jenkins Herlong, CSP Don Hutson, CSP, CPAE Ron Karr, CSP John B. Molidor, PhD

Terry Paulson, PhD, CSP, CPAE Sam Silverstein, CSP Laura Stack, MBA, CSP Phillip Van Hooser, CSP, CPAE Al Walker, CSP, CPAE


reality check Putting a fine point on the speaking industry

NSA University: Education on Demand

N

SA is reaching out to the global speaker community like never before with the launch of NSA University (www.NSAUniversity. org). This powerful new platform will provide professional speakers worldwide with an incredible educational experience that will serve members better and generate non-dues revenue for the association. Many members already have discovered that Webinars, teleconferences and downloadable programs are effective ways of serving clients and increasing income. In fact, we learned about those opportunities at NSA. Now it is time for our association to move in the same direction. Our vision is to grow NSA University into “The Ultimate Online Source for Speaker Education.” This will be the premier one-stop shop for people who are interested in speaking and want to further their careers with “education on demand.” The NSA University campus will be built in three phases so we can manage growth carefully and get it right. Phase One is the NSA-U Webinar Series headed by NSA Vice President Laura Stack, MBA, CSP. This phase will offer Webinars in all of the core competencies (expertise, eloquence, enterprise and ethics), in addition to downloads of previously recorded programs. We will seek the permission of members to feature their recordings from conventions, meetings, PEG

6 | SPEAKER | March 2010

programs and Webinars. For a list of upcoming speakers and topics in this series and to register, visit www.NSAUniversity.org. In Phase Two, NSA-U will launch a learning management system that packages programs on selected topics and includes the NSA Academy. This phase will provide members and others with access to program packages on specific topics that spark their interest. Phase Three will expand the program collections into certification programs with instructors and facilitators. Some of these programs will involve a group of students in an interactive learning environment working together for a semester. This is an opportunity for speakers to delve deeper into a topic than NSA meetings allow. There will not be fees for every NSA offering; for example, programs you already receive through PEG membership and other groups will still be included. NSA’s goal is to expand the benefits of those programs by making them available online for a fee to benefit our members and others for years to come. While we can think of NSA University as a perpetual convention, it will not replace the real networking, community building and faceto-face learning that only live

chapter meetings, conferences and conventions can offer. This is the ultimate membership development tool, however, because many speakers will find NSA through these online offerings and then choose to join and attend chapter and national meetings. This is our University to spread our word and use our talent. It is a place where you can share your ideas or gather new ones. With the vision and support of Dulce de Leon, NSA’s Manager of Web Services, we will bring it all together. Many of you have great expertise in learning and development, and we welcome your ideas in helping us shape NSA U into a truly effective resource.

Steve Waterhouse, CSP Dean, NSA University


The Ultimate Online Source for Speaker Education

Do you want to hone your presentation skills and increase your knowledge of the speaking profession —but you don’t have time to attend meetings and conferences? Now you can learn what you need to know to take your business to the next level—right in the comfort of your own home, office or even while you’re on the road. NSA University is your online education destination for obtaining digital recordings from conventions, meetings and other content-rich programs, and participating in the:

NSA-U Webinar Series February 2010 – August 2010 Get expert-level content delivered by expert presenters whenever and wherever you want education.

ONLY

39

$

EACH

Sign up today! For more information about the NSA University Webinar Series, to register for a Webinar, and for a complete listing of NSA University offerings, visit www.NSASpeaker.org or call (480) 968-2552.

Steve Waterhouse, CSP Dean, NSA University

Laura Stack, MBA, CSP Webinar Director, NSA University

Program Schedule for March and April: MARCH 8, 1 P.M. to 2 P.M. EST Book More Speeches: Using Multiple Streams of Revenue to Sell More Speaking Engagements Stephen Tweed, CSP APRIL 5, 1 P.M. to 2 P.M. EDT The Money Side of the Speaking Business: What-if scenarios to match what you can (or want to) get done with what you want to make! Linda Keith, CSP APRIL 19, 1 P.M. to 2 P.M. EDT Powerful Presentation Skills: Are You Improving or Reinforcing Bad Habits? Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE

National Speakers Association


what would you do? Casting a reality check on real-world conundrums

Don’t Mess With My Text ”We would make the organizer/ client aware of the situation and discuss a solution. If they are OK with us talking on our originally planned points, then we would present as planned and announce to the audience that the program will be a bit different than what’s outlined in the brochure description. If the client expressed a strong need for us to deliver the message printed in the brochure, we would do our best to study up, adjust quickly, and add those points to our prepared speech.” —Jon Wee Hermosa Beach, Ca.

If the brochure has been printed, I would write a formal letter to point out the error. I do not speak on areas outside of my expertise, but I would attempt to adapt some of the material to meet the stated content. Most important, I would stick to my material as tailored for that audience and not compromise my credibility by trying to speak on topics that I’m not known for. —Lesley Everett United Kingdom

I would ask the meeting planner for permission to say that there had been a miscommunication and, if granted, I would proceed with my planned program. —Lou Heckler, CSP, CPAE Gainesville, Fla.

You are scheduled to speak at a large convention, and you submitted your promotional materials, including your speech description, to the client. When you see the event brochure, however, you notice your program description was changed to cover points that you will not address. How would you handle this situation?

When this happens, it’s usually my fault, not the client’s. If I don’t submit my program description quickly, a client may visit my Web site and pull information to fit the agenda. Or, a long-time client may reuse an outdated description. If the brochure has been printed, I might start my program by poking fun at my oversight. I’d ask the audience to fill out the evaluation form before I begin and rate ‘covered material as stated’ as 5 out of 5. Then, I’d say that I won’t be covering that material. If I learned about the error early enough, I’d call the client to clear things up. Moral of the story: Stay on top of your communication. —Robin Getman, CSP Minneapolis, Minn.

What Would You Do? is a regular column that presents a real-life dilemma faced by professional speakers. NSA members are encouraged to submit a dilemma for possible discussion in this column. Please submit dilemmas to ethics@nsaspeaker.org. NSA reserves the right to edit submissions for length and style. All dilemmas will be anonymously attributed. Opinions expressed are those of the individual respondents, not NSA.

8 | SPEAKER | March 2010


welcome to my world A snapshot into the lives of the people who hire us

Meeting Planning Made Easy

10 | SPEAKER | March 2010


W

hen it comes to making meetings run smoothly, Barbara Louis, CMP, the owner of Best Meetings, Inc., in Bloomington, Minn., brings a lot to the stage: experience, people skills and the technology to make everything seem simpler than it is. Louis, a member of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), believes strongly in working with speakers’ bureaus. “I rarely work one-on-one with a speaker. I turn to bureaus for my clients’ speaker needs,” Louis said. Best Meetings is in its 14th year of business, but Louis has been in the meeting planning business much longer. In fact, she was a meeting planner before she knew she was a meeting planner. “I worked in fund raising for my children’s school, and was complimented on my meeting planning skills. Back then, I didn’t even know meeting planning could be a career.” Best Meetings does everything from creating customized online registration to housing requests to booking speakers. When it comes to speakers, Louis clearly prefers working with people who know the difference between hype and reality.

Molly Cox: Why do you like working with speakers’ bureaus?

bureau to check them out and follow up. I don’t like to keep a lot of clutter in my office, so I watch videos and read background information online.

went to Kinko’s. I’ve had a full-time IT person on staff for eight years now, and I couldn’t run the business without him.

Have you experienced any problems working with bureaus?

What emerging topics do you see in 2010?

The biggest issue I’ve had is lack of response time. In this business, we need information right away. Also, some bureaus won’t let you talk to the speaker. There’s no trust.

People want to know what’s going to happen with the economy, healthcare and healthcare policies.

What do you like about meeting planning?

I have five employees who are great to work with, and the support of my spouse of 43 years.

I love the variety and working on things from start to finish. We might work behind the scenes at one event, but handle everything at another event. We customize for clients, which makes us unique and keeps things interesting.

What makes your work environment a happy one?

Barbara Louis, CMP, has volunteered and worked professionally in the meetings industry for 30 years. Her business, Best Meetings Inc.,

What drives you crazy?

provides comprehensive services to associa-

People who don’t meet deadlines and don’t understand the details involved in meeting planning.

tions, corporations and government agencies in the areas of association management and services, and meeting, event, convention and trade show planning. Louis

Do you have advice for speakers who work with meeting planners?

was selected as the “Planner of the Year” by

Communication is critical. Speakers can ask questions to convey their interest, such as: “How does your committee make decisions? Is there anything I can do to help?”

“Excellence in Education Certificate”

MPI’s Minnesota Chapter and received an presented by the ASAE. Visit www. bestmeetings.com. Humor, health and life balance expert Molly Cox is

Barbara Louis, CMP: Bureaus will back me up if there’s a problem. They do their homework and know how to satisfy the client’s needs. They also know their speakers and who will deliver on their promises.

How can speakers help meeting planners promote events?

How do you work with bureaus?

What’s the biggest change you have seen over the years?

film, Note to Self: An Aspiring Film for

When we started the business, we didn’t have a fax machine so we

Visit www.mollyspeaks.com.

For associations, speakers should provide an article for a newsletter, and submit their program description and biographical information as soon as possible.

committed to helping people see the humor in everyday life to help them put things into perspective and be more productive. She is the co-author of the book, Improvise This! How to Think on Your Feet so You Don’t Fall on Your Face” (Hyperion). Her latest

I almost exclusively work online via e-mail. If I have a few speakers in mind, I will send the speakers’ links to the

Caregivers, is currently in production.

March 2010 | SPEAKER | 11


relevant resources Time-saving tools and technologies

Do Some Light Reading Digital reading technology has skyrocketed in recent years. An estimated 3 million e-readers were sold in 2009 and sales are expected to reach 10 million by the end of 2010, according to Forrester Research, Inc. Purchasing an e-reader may seem like a hefty expense, but book lovers should consider the benefits. At an average price of $9.99 per book, you can enjoy thousands of new releases for less than half of what you’d pay for a hardcover—with lightweight convenience. Choosing an e-reader, however, isn’t easy. There are many factors to consider, including size, resolution, readable formats, where you’ll buy your e-books, wireless access and storage. Take a closer look at these popular e-book readers. Barnes & Noble Nook™ Dual screens, the ability to lend books to friends, access to 3G and Wi-Fi, and support for openbook formats make the Nook a hot new competitor in the digital reader market.

Pros

Cons

• Slightly contoured design fits comfortably in your hand • Separate color LCD touch screen for easy navigation • Replaceable hardshell back cover in a variety of colors • Create personal screensavers • Supports microSD card so you can expand storage

• Slow navigation, page turning and boot time • Color LCD has significant impact on battery life • Sometimes bookmarks aren’t functional • Inability to download books outside the United States

Amazon Kindle™ 2 The newly redesigned Kindle is slim, stylish and delivers books in less than 60 seconds. With a 1/3-inch profile, it’s as thin as most magazines and lighter than your average paperback.

12 | SPEAKER | March 2010

Pros

Cons

• 5-way controller enables precise on-screen navigation • No monthly wireless bills – Amazon pays for Kindle’s connectivity • Over 50,000 audio titles available from Audible.com • Basic Web browser • Amazon’s e-book store has more than 400,000 titles

• Irremovable back cover and battery • No folder system for organizing books by genre • e-books can be purchased only from Amazon • Does not use an SD card for storing memory


Apple iPad

New Offering: Apple to Release iPad in Late March Apple’s sleek iPad, unveiled on January 27, will be a major competitor in the e-reader market. The Mac and PC-friendly device packs a punch with a powerful Apple chip, multi-touch technology and a remarkably crisp display. Shifting away from the traditional file system, the iPad (like the iPhone and iPod Touch) provides applications for most anything you want to do, including listening to music, reading or working on a presentation. In a way, it’s a netbook on steroids. Tap into the iPad buzz at theappleblog.com. Starting at $499. www.apple.com

Sony Reader Touch Edition™ Turn pages with the swipe of a finger and enjoy fast and intuitive navigation of your favorite books with Sony’s PRS-600 touch screen digital reading device, available in three colors.

Pros

Cons

• Interface is straightforward, uncluttered and easy to navigate • Access to free public domain titles from Google Books • Compatible with multiple e-book stores • Ability to borrow e-books from libraries

• Glare and contrast issues • Irremovable battery • Notation and markup functions can be cumbersome • Limited zoom function with PDF files • USB charging only works with a PC

Compare at a Glance Specs

Kindle™ 2

Nook™

Reader Touch Edition™

Display

600 x 800 pixel, 6” E Ink display

600 x 800 pixel, 6” E Ink display and 3.5” color LCD

600 x 800 pixel, 6” E Ink display

Size

8”x5.3”x0.36”

7.7”x4.9”x0.5”

6.9”x4.8”x0.4”

Weight

10.2 oz.

12.1 oz.

10.1 oz.

Connectivity

AT&T’s 3G high-speed data network in the U.S. and 3G and Wi-Fi-enabled partner networks outside U.S.

None – Connect via USB to Internet enabled PC only

Storage

2GB or 1,500 books

2GB or 1,500 books

512MB or 350 books

Touch screen

No

Yes

Yes

PDF/Word doc Support

Yes/Yes

Yes/No

Yes/Yes

This product information

Text-to-Speech

Yes

No

No

was compiled and researched

Audio

Headphone jack and rearmounted stereo speakers

Headphone jack, mp3 player and built-in mono speaker

Headphone jack, supports AAC and mp3

by Lauren Aiken, NSA’s

Memory Expansion

No

Yes

Yes

Battery Life

1 week (wireless on) or 2 weeks (wireless off)

10 days (wireless off)

2 weeks

Replaceable Battery

No

Yes

No

Price

$259

$259

$299

tech-savvy publications assistant and PEG newsletter coordinator. Lauren doesn’t own an e-reader, but would like to purchase one in the near future. Lauren can be reached at Lauren@nsaspeaker.org. March 2010 | SPEAKER | 13


Challenging 14 | SPEAKER | March 2010


Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow and 11 other best-sellers

Assumptions Think differently, innovatively or from a new perspective to create your unique voice as a speaker and a writer. By Kathryn Hammer

March 2010 | SPEAKER | 15


W

aiting for the proverbial writing muse? Or that flash of inspiration when the light bulb comes on? Forget it, says Seth Godin, best-selling-author, speaker and Internet marketing sensation. Instead of waiting for things to happen, make them happen.

Recognized by Successful Meetings Magazine as one of 21 top speakers for the 21st century, Godin’s light bulb is always burning. He even looks like a light bulb, exuding high wattage and high heat. Small wonder he shaved his hair. The signature bald head may be as much a safety feature as a trademark gimmick. He’s a hot commodity now, but long before Godin would autograph the first of his 12 best-selling books, an English teacher in Buffalo, N.Y., signed his high school yearbook: “To Seth Godin, the bane of my existence.” “She thought I’d never amount to anything,” Godin recalls. There’s no triumph or gloat in the words of the 49-year-old marketing phenomenon. It’s the sort of restraint you might expect from a man whose guilty pleasure is all of one square of chocolate a day. A less disciplined and gracious person might follow up with mention of the 1998 sale of his pioneering Internet company, Yoyodyne, to Yahoo for $30 million dollars. Or a rib poke as to how Technorati rated his blog the No. 1 most-read in the world. Or a tally of his successful Web sites, including the fast-growing Squidoo, and a rundown of the 33 languages in which you can read his books. And the 12 best-selling books? A lesser man might note that the number doesn’t even count e-books or titles released before 1999. Somehow, Godin even resisted pointing out the availability of the—ahem—Seth Godin Action Figure. Whether Godin took his teacher’s assessment of his potential as a challenge or just ignored it, he proved her wrong in short order. He earned degrees in computer science and philosophy from Tufts University before picking up his master’s degree in marketing from Stanford University. Straight out of Tufts, he landed at Spinnaker Software at the brink of the Internet age, to work alongside such visionaries as Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton. As brand manager, 16 | SPEAKER | March 2010

Godin led the team that developed the first generation of multi-media software. A Side of Relish Not bad for a guy with lifelong Attention Deficit Disorder. But then, Godin has never been one for labels or limits. He’s a long way from his high school English class and his first job at the Carousel Snack Bar, where he was charged with cleaning grease off the hot-dog machine. The future guru also earned the distinction of breaking the snack bar’s three coffee carafes. “I was the worst employee ever,” he admits. “I was fired, and I deserved it.” The most dispensable employee in snack bar history is now enjoying a successful book tour for his latest book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? The book explores the whys and hows of individuality and entrepreneurial thinking. In many ways, he says, it was his most difficult book to write.

Godin touts no labels, no limits. “It was very personal for me,” Godin says. “I spent the first 10 years of my career trying to fit in. In 1980, the status quo was respected. And I wasn’t very good at that. Lucky for me, the world changed.” Today, the world accommodates— and rewards—people like Godin,

who notes, “There’s a chasm between what we’ve been told works, and what really works. We’ve been brainwashed into being compliant cogs in machinery. Schooling and social norms are designed to create people who fit in. I did a lot of research to see why this is. The book gives people tactics and strategies to help them through situations and challenge the assumptions we make every day. I lay out why they need to pay attention to these assumptions and why they are a problem.” For speakers who want to write, he says, the first order of business is to challenge your assumptions on why you’re writing the book. “There are three reasons a speaker should write a book,” he says. “One, it gets your thoughts in order. Two, it’s a generous way to spread ideas to people who need them. And three, it makes you harder to replace. None of these reasons involve making money.” It’s a counterintuitive notion, but then, so are most of Godin’s ideas. Once he explains things in his inimitable way, they seem like basic common sense. It’s not that you won’t ever make money with your book, Godin explains. Done right, you will. But making money from book sales is not the first priority. “A book is a souvenir of your idea, not the idea,” Godin says. This is especially true for speakers. As one’s ideas spread, people will naturally want to learn more. They’ll seek you out. You’ll be in demand as a speaker, which puts you in a position to command a higher fee. Got Milk? It’s simple economics, Godin says. “Hiring a speaker is like buying milk. No one’s going to drive across town to buy milk. Nobody pays three times or 10 times what the other store charges for milk. If you don’t have something the other guy doesn’t have, you’re milk. We have a surplus of ‘good enough.’ No one goes out of their way to buy ‘good enough.’” And don’t think it’s just your idea that matters, he cautions. “If you don’t have a distinctive voice as a speaker or a writer, you’re milk. Develop a voice and an approach that no one else has. People will drive across town and pay premium price.” “I write like I talk,” he says. And though the words are free-flowing and plentiful, they’re remarkably


disciplined. No meandering, no slow wind-up pitches. Though he never lets up, there’s an economy of words befitting someone who would choose to allow himself only one measly square of chocolate. Like his platform voice, Godin’s writing voice is fun and friendly. Prescriptive, not preachy. Candid, but not crusty. Though his ideas are often remedies to what he sees as wrong or broken, the focus is on the fix, not the flaw. From Blog to Book Godin was on the cutting edge of blogging, and among the first to recognize its potential to form the basis for a book. The writing habit breaks down the task of writing a book-length manuscript to manageable bites. If you’ve been blogging and writing speeches, he says, you have the bones of a book in your computer right now. It’s how he wrote Unleashing the Ideavirus in just five days. It’s became the Internet’s most downloaded e-book. For anyone stalled by that blank screen, Godin’s advice is simple: “Don’t sit down to one. As for writer’s block, Godin’s prescription is equally straightforward. “No one wakes up with talker’s block,” he says. “So talk it. Take notes as you’re saying it. Then put it together.” Perfection on the first goaround is not the goal; it’s getting it out of your head and onto the page. The rearranging and polishing come later. And for most writers, Godin says, that means a good editor. Tyrannosaurus Wrecks Us It all seems so simple when Godin says it. And, he would argue, it is. It’s just that darn lizard. Lizard? “Excuses and fears and the things holding us back come from our ‘lizard brain,’” he says. “It’s that primitive part of the brain at the top of the spinal cord. It’s the same as the brain in a chicken or a lizard. It lives in the amygdala and some researchers call it the ‘Lizard.’ The lizard craves safety and survival and revenge, and it uses anger and fear to get what it wants. Just like a lizard.” Not surprisingly, Godin thinks lizards make lousy writers. Your lizard is not interested in sparkling writing and breakthrough ideas. “It wants you to play it safe. It’s afraid of what others might say or think, and wants you to be, too. Lizard brain will sabotage your

writing and your speaking, too. “No one wants to hear a speaker who tells them what they already know. They want a speaker to tell them what others are afraid to say. Whatever the lizard tells you not to write about, that’s what you should write.” Don’t even get him started about your lizard worries that someone will steal your idea or cost you sales. “The enemy is not piracy, it’s obscurity. Name one successful pop music group that doesn’t permit its music to be played on the radio. There aren’t any.” Godin also wants you to challenge your assumptions about publishing. “Is your goal simply to have a stranger pick up your book and buy it based on the cover?” he asks. “Or is it to spread ideas?” The publishing world, he points out, is no longer a monolithic, New York-based empire. A big publisher offering a hefty advance is an appealing option, but the odds against it are huge. “Winning the lottery is a great outcome, but it’s a lousy strategy.” Instead, Godin suggests writing to a small, motivated group. Then, select from an array of publishing options for the best match in reaching your audience.

Bright Ideas Beget Bright Ideas It’s tempting to imagine that Godin simply has the Midas touch, but he freely admits that not all is golden. “Oh, I’ve had some really horrible ideas—hundreds of them.” Like the instant aquarium—a videotape that delivered the soothing ambience of tropical fish gliding back and forth across the TV screen. “That was a flop,” he recalls with a chuckle. It’s simple math, he says. Have more good ideas than bad ones, and get through the bad ones fast. It’s not easy, but it does work. Certainly, it did for Godin. But just to be on the safe side, the rest of us might want to supplement that prescription. Three squares of chocolate sounds about right.

Kathryn Hammer is a ghostwriter, author, and executive communications consultant who has neither the discipline nor desire to restrict herself to one square of chocolate a day. You and your lizard can visit her at www.keynotecafe.com.

A Grab Bag of Godin Goodies Godin’s Web site http://www.sethgodin.com Godin’s blog http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog • Squidoo http://www.squidoo.com Seth Godin explains Lizard Brain http://the99percent.com/videos/5822/seth-godin-quieting-the-lizard-brain

Free e-Book Downloads from Seth What Matters Now – a collection of big ideas from 70 big thinkers http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/12/what-matters-now-get-the-free-ebook.html Full list of links for Godin’s most popular e-books, including Unleashing the IdeaVirus and a free audio book of the best-selling Tribes http://www.squidoo.com/Seth-Godin-ebooks-

March 2010 | SPEAKER | 17


18 | SPEAKER | March 2010


How to Knock Your

(Speaker’s)

S

Block Off. by Jared Meyer

ome professional speakers freeze in their tracks at the mere thought of changing their message, topic, platform or business model. They’re overwhelmed by unlimited options, risks and the fear of trying something new. The diagnosis? Speaker’s block!

If you’ve ever suffered from this malady, don’t despair. Speaker’s block isn’t as bad as it sounds. Unlike the terror of writer’s block—not writing due to a lack of inspiration or creativity—speaker’s block can occur for opposite reasons. In this case, speakers have an overabundance of inspiration or creativity, but don’t want to leap over potentially uncomfortable psychological hurdles.

Completely reinventing yourself isn’t necessary. Changing your topic is one way to begin the process of making big improvements to your business. Take these steps to avoid frustration and gracefully transition to new material.

Stage 1: Evaluate If you think you are ready to change your material, where do you currently fall on the speaker’s spectrum? At the far left, there are speakers who want to simply update their content. At the far right, there are speakers who wish to reinvent their entire business. If you find yourself stuck in the middle, changing your topic may be the right decision for you. Selecting a new topic is easy for some speakers, especially if they already have multiple topics. To find the right fit, all it takes is

scrutinizing their interests, expertise, industry and market, in addition to demand and competition. Inquire within. Why do you want to change your topic? Why now? There are many of reasons to try something new, including jump-starting your business, a lack of market interest, or just plain boredom. Make a list of valid reasons for stirring things up. It will stop you from doubting yourself and your intentions. Make a commitment. This step will test your heart’s desire. Are you truly committed to overcoming speaker’s block? Even speakers who can develop new topics quickly may have difficulty committing. An unwavering commitment will help you complete your transition. Embrace your expertise. As an expert who speaks, it would be reasonable to assume that your expertise will support your new topic. No matter what your reason for changing your topic, the foundation of your evaluation stage should be based on how your expertise relates to your new topic. March 2010 | SPEAKER | 19


Creativity is the new courage. Being creative is fun, but if you’re unfocused, you may find yourself constantly creating new ideas. Understand risks. In the current economy, some people feel it’s not a good time to make changes in their business. Others believe it’s a great time to develop a new topic and that switching gears may sharpen their edge. After you’ve assessed the risks, consider the opportunities you may miss if you are no longer speaking on your original topic. Make a list of pros and cons. By being aware of potential consequences, you can protect yourself and reduce the risk of an uncertain future.

philosophies, concepts and strategies related to your current material. Creativity is the new courage. Being creative is fun, but if you’re unfocused, you may find yourself constantly creating new ideas. Don’t be overwhelmed by too much creativity. Develop three concepts that really excite you and tie into your area of expertise. Your new topic should be relevant and interesting to you and your market. Do some research to ensure there aren’t hundreds of speakers offering identical topics.

Stage 2: Creativity Speakers usually don’t change topics overnight. Take the time to make intelligent decisions while preparing the foundation for your new topic. Don’t make any sudden moves. It’s always better to be employed when you’re looking for a new job. Keep your current topic active. Do not completely abandon your current material. Keep it alive and well, especially when there’s interest from former or perspective clients. Invest time and effort into the process. Opportunity overload is a great excuse for delaying progress. Don’t procrastinate just because you’re busy with current business. You will make the time if you really want to make the change. Your material may need only minor surgery. You have unlimited potential for developing a new topic, but you might only need to make a few minor modifications to your current one. Sales speakers, for example, don’t always have to speak on sales. They may decide to change topics while maintaining some of their original material as their foundation. If modifications aren’t the solution for you and you still desire significant changes, then develop ideas based on 20 | SPEAKER | March 2010

Stage 3: Activation Figure out the most efficient, productive and profitable way to develop your idea. You could save yourself a lot of time and money. Ask the right people for feedback. Share your new ideas with people who matter to you. Consult with fellow speakers, solicit client feedback and reach out to speakers’ bureaus. It may be tempting to tap into everyone you know on Facebook, but randomly asking for feedback will produce random results. This strategy is easy, but it won’t do your efforts justice. Test your new topic. When you think you have one or two brilliant ideas, test your program in segments or in its entirety on your local NSA chapter members, who will provide you with audience feedback and written evaluations. Ask someone to film you in action so you can critique yourself presenting the new material. Market. Update your one-sheets, Web sites, and social networking profiles. There’s no need to totally revamp your Web site or your brand at this time. Feel confident as you share your new material with the decision-makers in your market.

There will always be room for improvement in the speaking industry. When things don’t go as planned or you change your mind, you can start the process all over again by making other modifications to your material. It’s important to schedule reasonable deadlines and treat the process like an urgent project, so you don’t endure analysis paralysis for years to come. Think about all the bookings you’ll get with your new material! Jared Meyer is a professional speaker who educates entrepreneurs on building their businesses via experiential marketing. With over 10 years of marketing experience, he has contributed to 100+ programs for popular brands. Visit www.jaredmeyer.com.

Symptoms of Speaker’s block Procrastination Lack of know-how Too much to share Lack of focus Too much creativity Too much inspiration Commitment issues Fear and doubt Receiving irrelevant feedback

Don’t Dwell on It

Speaker’s block sufferers ruminate over these questions: Is a new topic really necessary? Should it be based on what I love or what my clients desire? Should it be concept driven or market driven? What is my new message? Should it be tested first? Can I make a long-term commitment to a new topic? How does my expertise relate to the new topic? How will a new topic impact my current business model, business plan and brand?


Raising the Bar in the Speaking Profession The NSA Foundation Can Assist Your Favorite Charity The Art Berg Grant - $2,000 NSA members make the world a better place through charitable involvement. If you’re an active volunteer, your charitable organization could benefit from a grant to support a technology- or communicationsrelated project. The late Art Berg, CSP, CPAE, was passionate about technology’s ability to facilitate communication. The Art Berg Fund was established to support the innovative use of technology to benefit 501(c)(3) not-for-profit groups. Application deadline: April 1, 2010

Wanted:

Students for NSA Scholarships

Research Grant - $10,000 A research grant is available for the advancement of professional speaking in NSA’s four competencies: Expertise, Eloquence, Enterprise and Ethics. Who should apply? Faculty members, graduate students, research fellows, and individuals interested in the communication process and professional speaking. Application deadline: June 1, 2010

Scholarship Grant - $5,000 Do you know a student who has a burning desire to become a professional speaker? He or she may be eligible for an NSA Foundation scholarship. The Foundation awards four scholarships annually to full-time college junior, senior and graduate students at an accredited university. Application deadline: June 1, 2010

For more information on NSA Foundation grants and scholarships, visit www.NSAFoundation.org or call Andrea DiMickele at (480) 968-2552.


Writing Tips from the Masters By Sam Horn

As the world becomes increasingly digital, writing becomes more important. Your ability to arouse interest, exchange ideas, deliver your message, collaborate with others, and ultimately succeed hinges on your ability to write effectively. Follow these timeless tips from some of the world’s greatest authors to improve your style and substance. Keep it brief or you’ll get grief. for example, “We never know who’s When popular author Elmore Leonard was asked to what he attributed his success, he said, “I try to leave out the parts people skip.” Keep paragraphs under seven lines. Paragraphs longer than that are perceived as “hard to read” and people tend to skip them.

Be disagreeable.

“To agree is boring. To doubt is intensely interesting.” – Oscar Wilde Think about it. If readers agree with everything you say, it’s a waste of their time. Ask yourself what readers believe to be true about your topic. Then, take exception to it. Point out how it’s outdated so people rethink their assumptions.

Delight readers intellectually. Introduce something in the first 100 words that causes readers to say, “I didn’t know that.” If you don’t, they will quickly conclude you don’t have anything “new” to add and they’ll tune out. If you do, people will pay attention because they can’t predict what’s coming next. For example, do you know who inspired the late Michael Jackson to write “We Are the World”?  Jane Goodall.  When she visited him at Neverland, he asked how he could help heal the world. She said, “Write a song.” So he did. Once you introduce an “I didn’t know that,” hook and hinge it to your topic so it’s relevant; 22 | SPEAKER | March 2010

going to inspire us …”

Articulate the problems that keep readers up at night.

How-to’s are perceived as nice but not urgent. People stop in their tracks when you voice what’s bothering them. If you’re a financial adviser, start with “Worried about not being able to pay bills? Afraid of what would happen if you lost your job? Concerned about paying for health insurance and retirement? Then, you’re in the right place …”

Say it once and move on.

Speakers often say something several different ways to ensure listeners get the point. What’s their rationale? If audiences miss it the first time, they’ll get it the third time. When writing, if they don’t get it the first time, they can re-read it. In fact, when we repeat things, readers roll their eyes, think, “She just said that,” and start scanning.

Name and number your methodology.

As entrepreneurs, speakers make a living with their minds. That’s why it’s so important to make your intellectual capital proprietary so you can monetize it. Depict ideas in a visually clean, numeric structure so they stand out and you “own” them. If you don’t, they’ll blend into the text and

look like “wah-wah” rhetoric. If you do, you become “quotable,” your ideas will link back to you, and you can merchandise them.

Plant a tangible action seed.

Longfellow wrote, “Let us, then, be up and doing.” Want readers to take action? Clarify how they can apply what they just read. Suggest they “tear and share” your article by discussing it at a staff meeting or copying it for colleagues who might find it useful. Give your book “legs” by recommending readers to keep it on their desks or nightstands so they can refer to it when handling a challenge.   Kurt Vonnegut was asked the secret to being a great writer. He replied, “You’ve got to be a good date for the reader.” You’ve heard the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”? Keep these tips “in sight, in mind” by posting them near your computer so they can help you be a good date for your readers. Sam Horn, America’s Intrigue Expert and the author of POP! (which best-selling author Seth Godin calls “revolutionary”) helps entrepreneurs crystallize compelling, commercially viable ideas that they can turn into income. An award-winning speaker and consultant, Horn has helped thousands of people develop breakout brands, businesses and books. Visit www. SamHorn.com.


Advertisement

Build your brand and grow your business A positioning strategy behind the world’s most successful speakers, including Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki, and Suze Orman, branding yourself as both author and entrepreneur seems like a marketing must for all speakers seeking to share their expertise, grow their personal brand and their business. Sure, you’ve thought about it—having the credit “best-selling author” accompany your name. The prestige, immediate credibility, and competitive advantage that come with authoring a book are undeniable, and it’s no secret that published speakers command higher fees. Chances are you’ve already considered taking your message from the stage to the page, but have been stumped by what to do next.

-Glenn Croston, author of 75 Green Businesses You Can Start to Make Money and Make a Difference and Starting Green

Is your goal to build your reputation, increase your recognition and grow your business? If so, a self-published book hiding in the back of a room isn’t going to do the trick. Knowing this, Entrepreneur Press, a leading publisher in the small to midsize business category, developed a new publishing option: Entrepreneur House Authors. Entrepreneur House Authors is a fullservice, publishing and marketing solution perfect for speakers seeking to grow their brand and their business by leveraging their book. Under this innovative publishing program, Entrepreneur Press and its parent company Entrepreneur Media Inc. present visionaries, like you, with the

means to publish your book, gain exposure by the millions, and ultimately, become the recognized expert in your field. “We help speakers share their expertise through publishing a book, and then we work with them to use that book to further define their identity, establish their credibility, build their reputation, and grow their business,” explains Leanne Harvey, director of marketing, Entrepreneur Press. “We do this using the reach, media exposure, business partners, and publishing expertise of Entrepreneur—something that no other publishing option can compete with.” Combining Entrepreneur magazine’s readership of three million, and Entrepreneur.com’s six million unique visitors per month, with a multitude of esteemed online business partners including AOL.com, MSNBC.com, FoxBusiness.com, and WashingtonPost.com, Entrepreneur offers “author-preneurs” invaluable face time with millions of potential clients worldwide. “Working with Entrepreneur Press has given me the opportunity to broaden my online platform and in turn, grow my business and my company,” says Susan Gunelius, author of Kick-Ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps. “Little did I know that partnering with Entrepreneur Press would lead to my becoming a featured columnist on Entrepreneur.com reaching millions of readers per month. My relationship with Entrepreneur Press has opened a multitude of doors for me to network with people around the world, share my passion and expertise about marketing, branding and copywriting, and grow my business significantly.” Partnered with Entrepreneur Press, speakers seeking publishing success get the editorial benefit of working with a traditional publisher and the backing of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. a respected voice in the media community and trusted brand for more than 30 years.

“The team at Entrepreneur Press has literally helped me create an entirely new brand and career. No other publisher I have worked with so fully supports their authors with publicity, marketing expertise, and the type of creative brainstorming that comes with only the best of the best,” says Dr. Dani Babb, author of Finding Foreclosures and The Online Professor’s Practical Guide to Starting an Internet Business. “Without their expertise, incredible exposure, early assistance and believing in my work with a real strong partnership, I would have had a much tougher road to get to this place today. Thanks to Entrepreneur kicking off things, I have a two hour weekend show on Entrepreneurship on Fox Business and am the go-to person for numerous national media outlets. They are THE BEST!” If you’re writing a book and are seeking a publisher who will help you elevate your brand and grow your business, visit:

entrepreneurhouseauthors.com.


Cook Up a

M

y mother-in-law could take flour, lard, salt and water, work her magic and transform the ingredients into flaky pie crusts to die for. In my hands, however, the dough was more suitable for doorstops. I could make anything else; just not pie crusts.

24 | SPEAKER | March 2010

Queries are like that. They use the same basic ingredients, but success is all in the technique. The good news is there is a recipe for a well-written query. It’s not a secret, and it can be learned. By the way, agents and editors receive lots of doorstops when they’re really craving deliciously flaky pie crusts. A query is a business letter designed to whet the reader’s appetite for more information. You don’t need to cram all


Killer Query By Kathryn Hammer

A Recipe for Success

of the golden goodness of your brilliant idea, fabulous writing skills, contentrich wisdom and expertise, and lengthy credentials into a few paragraphs. Your query hints at the promise of it. You can cook up a winning query letter with these basic ingredients: Hook. Grab ’em and make them want to continue reading. Mini-synopsis. Title, actual or proposed word count, brief summary of topic, categorization and treatment.

Writer’s biography. Relevant background to establish your authority and credibility to write, which will help market your work. Increasingly, that means platform, too—your public reach and influence. Market information. Who will buy the book? Why is it needed? What makes it fresh and timely? The hook always comes first. Other ingredients go in separately, or are premixed to reflect your strengths. It’s

important to cover everything in one page. That means no rambling, no navel gazing, no begging, and no testimonials from your critique group. Every sentence must be highly efficient. Consider these hypotheticals that combine elements for a big bang in limited space. Example 1: Based on a three-day workshop that I presented to more than 30,000 hospitality industry employees, my 60,000-word manuscript is filled with bullet points, checklists and

March 2010 | SPEAKER | 25


exercises that will equip any in-house trainer to deliver an intense, fun and effective customer service boot camp. Result: In one breath, you’ve nailed the book’s format, topic, style, target audience, highlighted your credentials and established a great platform. Example 2: After CNN picked up the story of my frustrating and oddly hilarious decade-long search for my birth parents, my Web site received over half a million hits in three weeks, prompting me to write this practical guide to help millions of other adoptees navigate and outwit the system. Result: It’s all there: topic, style, voice, target market and size, documented interest, platform and established credentials. If you have a strong referral or previous encouraging contact, say it. (“Oprah Winfrey suggested I contact you …”) For best results, it should be true. Otherwise, lead with a startling, funny or thought-provoking statement that strikes to the heart of your subject. Quirky works, too, or in my case, bizarre. The first line in the successful query for my first book—a humor manual on surviving hospitals and medical care—posed a question: Have you ever been probed with a ChemLawn applicator by people wearing shower caps on their feet? They had to read on, if only to see if I was pitching a book on alien abductions, or if they should take out

26 | SPEAKER | March 2010

a restraining order. Then, I set the hook by defining the market: There are more than 35 million people hospitalized annually, plus another 20 million outpatient surgical visits, and 3.5 million health care workers—all of whom could use a good laugh and fewer potted plants. If only 1 percent had friends willing to accommodate that, well, ka-ching.

The Write Stuff Don’t sweat slim writing credits. Stress the credentials you do have. Here’s how I finessed it for a woman whose query letters on teaching dyslexics had struck out with agents and editors: To a dyslexic, my PhD is no better than a BFD. While I’m accredited in all of the right professional organizations, and have all of the right letters after my name, so do a lot of people who have tried and failed to bring real solutions to desperate and frustrated children and their parents. However, I’ve got the ultimate letters: XOXOs. Boxes full, written on beautifully composed notes and cards from hundreds of students who were unable to write their own names when they first came to me. Two agents requested the manuscript. An offer of representation followed, and the book sold to a mass market publisher. Write well and without errors. After all, your query letter is your writing sample. If you can’t manage one page, who would

think you can sustain 250 pages? Do your homework. Agents and editors have different preferences, so personalize each query to interests and tastes—don’t just substitute names. People caught on to that trick 40 years ago with Ed McMahon’s personalized letters from The Publisher’s Clearing House. Your book’s premise can be about breaking rules. Just don’t break an editor’s or publisher’s rules if you’re trying to make a great first impression. It seems counterintuitive when you’re trying to stand out in a hugely competitive market, but most queries don’t resemble what agents and editors ask for. They ask for pie, and they get pineapple or Play-Doh. If you give them pie—you will stand out. Now, get cooking! Kathryn Hammer is an author, ghostwriter and executive communications consultant. In addition to ghostwriting books, articles and speeches, she has three books under her own name, (Contemporary Books/McGraw-Hill) and two new titles scheduled for release in 2010 (Publications International, Ltd.). Visit www.keynotecafe.com.

“Write well and without errors. After all, your query letter is your writing sample.”


Thanks for your expert introduction to my presentation. The audience really welcomed me!

My pleasure! Let me make another introduction: Have you heard about the National Speakers Association?

Share the Wealth! You already know that NSA is the ultimate resource for information, education and networking in the speaking industry. Why not share the benefits of membership by recruiting others who aspire to a speaking career?

Win prizes for recruiting the most members! Grand Prize: Family 4-Pack of 1-Day Passes to Disney World + 1 night stay at the Orlando World Center Marriott Second Prize: Free full set of Convention Recordings (2) Third Prizes: 1 year member renewal fees paid *Campaign ends June 15, 2010

HOW TO RECRUIT: Identify Potential Members Tap into business colleagues, members of other professional organizations, and speakers who don’t belong to NSA. Show & Tell • Show Speaker magazine and the member information magazine to prospects. • Share your NSA success story and tell them how they can join.

WHO TO RECRUIT: • • • • • • • • • •

Diverse professional speakers Keynoters Consultants Trainers Salaried speakers Coaches Professors/educators Clergy Book-touring authors Subject matter experts

MEMBER BENEFITS: A professional network • National Conventions and Conferences • Members-only Web site • Chapter networks • Speaker magazine • Voices of Experience audio magazine • Online “Find a Speaker” Directory • Awards and recognition

National Speakers Association 1500 S. Priest Dr. • Tempe, AZ 85281 Tel: (480) 968-2552 • Fax: (480) 968-0911 info@nsaspeaker.org


Your Way, Right Away. “After I agreed to write it, I decided to get an agent to negotiate the contract.” After interviewing dozens of authors for this article, I learned that speakers are their own breed, and nothing about book deals is standard. That being said, how do you get an agent, and do you really need one?

What’s an Agent?

Getting Your Book Published:

Do You Need an Agent? By Bonnie Tandy Leblang

F

or the lucky ones — Jennifer Abernethy, Steve Shapiro, Ruth Sherman and others — the phone just rings or publishers offer book deals after hearing their presentations. Some speakers land their own deals by presenting their book concepts directly to publishers or by a twist of fate. “My latest book deal was totally backwards,” explained Steve Shapiro. “I first sold the book Personality Poker (Penguin Portfolio Imprint, September 2010) to a publisher, and on the back of that I got my agent.” “I broke all of the rules and sent my proposal through the Internet,” said 28 | SPEAKER | March 2010

Sheri Koones, author of Prefabulous + Sustainable (Abrams, April 2010). “I had two offers on my first book. I just found a need for a particular book, and filled it.’” I, too, had a book deal with Random House, and then looked for an agent to negotiate the deal. Silly me. I thought I was in a unique situation and needed an agent. I learned neither hypothesis was true. Like Shapiro and me, Ruth Sherman searched for an agent after receiving an offer. “McGraw-Hill called me out of the blue and asked me to write a book—no proposal, no nothing,” said Sherman, author of Get Them to See it

An agent is a book-marketing expert and advocate who should know your industry and the book editors who would be most interested in your proposed book. Some agents will help shape the book proposal and develop your platform, but others won’t. Agents have connections, and can introduce you to the “Who’s Who” in the publishing world. Book editors respect good agents, often reviewing the agented proposals first. If they’re interested in buying your book, they prefer working directly with agents. It’s in an agent’s best interest to negotiate the best deal for you on the advance, royalties and rights. Most earn 15 percent of the book deal, as well as the book’s royalties in perpetuity. After the deal is sealed, the agent can step in as your advocate to help resolve any disagreements with the publisher. Agents strive to keep the publisher happy. They may work with you once, but will continually approach that publishing house for other authors.

Legal Eagles Most likely, your book contract won’t be your agent’s first with the publishing house, explains literary attorney F. Robert (Bob) Stein. The agency has already negotiated a boilerplate contract with that publishing house (one that the agency had negotiated for one of its top authors). That means the agent no longer looks at those standardized clauses, and only negotiates the advance, royalties, rights, rates and


territory, leaving much of the contract the way the publisher wrote it. It protects the published house, not the author. Stein reviewed the contract that Julie Jansen’s agent negotiated. “He turned up 40 more things to change in my contract,” explained Jansen, author of I Don’t Know What I Want, But I Know It’s Not This. For this, he was well worth his $500 hourly fee. Some agencies have attorneys on staff; others hire one just for the top author’s contract and use that boilerplate for all others. Agents act as attorneys when negotiating deals, so be sure to ask, “Do you consider yourself an expert at negotiating the boilerplate of a book contract?” Once you have a publisher and have negotiated your contract, ask a publishing/literary attorney to review it. The publisher will give you its standard boilerplate that’s all in the publisher’s favor. An attorney will know what to look for and can explain the publisher’s terms to you. “Even if you have an agent, it’s good to have an attorney look at the contract,” says Maura J. Wogan, publishing attorney with Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz. They have all negotiated agreements, know what to look for and where a publishing house will yield. Personally, I agree with Wogan’s suggestion. I negotiate my own contracts, and ask an attorney to peruse each one before I close the deal. The attorney always finds things I’ve missed, making it well worth the expenditure.

Abernethy. A hybrid of cooperation and competition, this term was coined for the teaming up of two rival companies. Abernethy’s book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Social Marketing (Penguin/ Alpha, April 2010), resulted from another sales expert recommending her to an agent who was looking for a sales expert specializing in social media. Target agents who represent your focus. You’ll find them by looking at the acknowledgement section of books to see who’s been thanked. If possible, speak to more than one person the agent has represented. Ask a book editor. For my first book, I contacted the acquisition editor and ended up with the agent she recommended. “Senior editors deal with zillions of agents—they’re a better source than those who’ve written books as they see the down and dirty of how agents behave, what they do, and how they handle their authors,” said Jansen. Attend writers’ conferences. That’s where Judi Moreo met a publisher who heard her idea and decided to publish her book, You are More Than Enough: Every Woman’s Guide to Purpose, Passion and Power (Stephens Press). Write a killer book proposal. The proposal is your sales brochure to convince a publisher that your book should exist and you are the person to write it. It sells the publisher on your topic, credentials and marketing plan. Agents aren’t concerned with your book’s literary merit, but whether it will sell. Use your proposal to sell them.

Finding a (Good) Agent

Be Your Own Agent

Follow these tried-and-true tips to snag the right agent for you. Get personal recommendations. Network with your friends, business associates, peers, mastermind group and/ or on LinkedIn, and ask for a referral. Ask your competition, or “coopertition” (co-oper-tition), says Jennifer

Speakers are persistent and believe in themselves—qualities that can help them be their own agents. When trying to sell your book, meet with editors and act like they need you more than you need them. Interview them, not the other way around, says Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE, co-author of ConnectAbility (McGraw

Hill). Show them your plan and ask, “How can you make my book more successful than I can make it on my own? If you can, you’re in!” As with any negotiation, you have to be willing to walk away from the deal if it’s not what you want. Consider the size of the publishing house. “You may be better off not going with a big publishing house,” says Cathcart. Being at a big house “doesn’t mean you’re going to get into bookstores; it means you’re on the list presented to bookstores with thousands of other books. It doesn’t mean your book will get attention.”

Self-Publishing There is one more route for speakers who want to get their books published: self-publish. Unlike most writers, speakers know their audience, have a built-in platform and direct access to their target readers, and can sell their own books whenever they’re working. These attributes position speakers as ideal self-publishing candidates. Marilyn Sherman, author of Why Settle for the Balcony, is a self publisher. Like many speakers, she sells books from her Web site and at the back of the room.

Bottom Line There is no right or wrong way to get your book published. Do your research and know your options so you can make an informed decision.

Bonnie Tandy Leblang is a talent agent, professional speaker, internationally syndicated columnist and author of six books, four of which she negotiated herself. She also is a foodie with a blog: www.BiteoftheBest.com. March 2010 | SPEAKER | 29


! s l a i c r e m m Co e h t p i k S Don’t

hing TV c t a W y b arketing M r u o Y e v n Impro a C u o Y s y Four Wa ghans, CSP B y T erri

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love to watch people watch TV commercials— or not watch them—because you can learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to effective marketing, even though you may never run an ad on TV. Effective marketing messages are built on a foundation of four critical components, regardless of whether you’re creating a TV spot or a postcard or a one-sheet for your speaking 30 | SPEAKER | March 2010

business. When you build your message on a solid base of all four, your marketing is compelling and has more impact. If you fall short in one of the four areas, like a table with uneven legs, your message will be wobbly at best, perhaps even worthless. Your prospect will do the TV equivalent of fast-forwarding through the commercials, and simply ignore or promptly forget you and your message.

1. Stand Out Your marketing needs to stand out in a way that attracts, not repels, the prospect’s attention. The message itself needs to be different. Most people tend to show or describe their products, services or program, which essentially boils down to being boring or boastful. It’s all about you, and people don’t care about you. Connect before you try so hard to convince; demonstrate that you understand the prospect’s world


and know how to make it better. Your marketing must stand out from the category. In other words, look at what most other speakers/ consultants/authors do, and don’t do what they do. Hint: Have you ever seen a one-sheet with a postage stampsize picture of the speaker?

2. Intrigue and Involvement When you watch TV, notice how long it takes you to identify the advertiser. Sometimes it’s not until the last few seconds, and it’s almost always a powerful device. It’s called the “power of the reveal,” and its power lies in creating intrigue. The mind is a curious thing, and it demands satisfaction. You will stay with a message longer if you are trying to guess the answer, or solve the riddle, or wait for the punch line. Predictability is your enemy. “Oh, another leadership speaker” versus “What the heck do they mean by that?” This is why the title of your program, or worse—your name—rarely makes a good headline, and why your logo should not be the focal point of anything except your business card.

©2009 Terri Langhans

3. Emotion Your marketing should not show an emotion. It should make people feel one. When you watch commercials, do you smile, chuckle, guffaw, gasp, wince or even choke up? Good. During the 2008 Super Bowl®, some level of humor was featured in 83 percent of the ads, according to The New York Times. When marketing makes an emotional connection, it humanizes a company and makes it (and you) more approachable. Think dialogue, not monologue.

4. Bring the Benefit to Life Speakers love to explain and describe who they are, what they do and how it changes people’s lives/behavior/attitude/whatever. Why is any or all of that important to the prospect? What is the need or the want that is satisfied by the voodoo you do? Answer those questions, but don’t just talk about the answers, bring them to life.

Remember the “Got Milk” commercials? (Not the mustache ones.) For 13 years, the California Fluid Milk Advisory Board tried to convince people to drink milk, describing the nutrients and telling people “Milk does a body good.” The message was all about why you should drink milk, and milk sales declined an average of two percent per year for 13 years. In 1994, when the new message focused on why you love to drink milk—because you just can’t eat certain foods without it—it truly brought the benefit to life. The message reversed the decline in sales to the tune of $100 million incremental sales the first year. The product, the price and distribution system didn’t change—only the message. Instead of telling you that

milk tastes good, it made you thirsty. Build your message on the same strong foundation, and your marketing will do the same. Terri Langhans, CSP, is the former CEO of a national ad agency and marketing firm that won the American Marketing Association’s EFFIE award for the most effective campaign in the country, as well as the CLEO and a New York Film Festival Award for TV commercials. She is the author of The 7 Marketing Mistakes Every Business Makes (And How to Fix Them) and COE (Chief of Everything) at Blah Blah Blah. Visit www.BlahBlahBlah.us or www.MaverickMarketing.com. March 2010 | SPEAKER | 31


It’s your business Advice for enterprising speakers

Is Your Cyber-Slip Showing?

S

ocial media enables you to expand your personal and professional reach. On the downside, it comes with the risk of muddying your hard-won professional image and reputation. Avoid these common pitfalls so you don’t unintentionally air your dirty laundry or form unsavory alliances.

political sites or blogs on topics like addiction or depression? If you deal with “thirdrail” topics that you wouldn’t mention in a professional setting, keep them sequestered. Develop separate accounts and user names for items that should remain personal, if not private.

Promiscuous Linking

Leaving a Trail

Pitfall: You compete for the highest number of connections without regard for who you’re adding to your network. Some people treat online networking like a high school popularity contest: The more connections you have, the better you must be. But do you really know who you are inviting into your network? If not, you may be adding someone with a tarnished reputation. Only invite people you’re acquainted with to be your friends; otherwise, they will be turned off by an invitation from a virtual stranger. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable calling someone on the phone, then resist adding him or her to your online network.

Pitfall: You comment on controversial blogs and message boards, and routinely write scathing online opinion pieces that include your name and e-mail address. Your online activity leaves a trail, and you should be careful where that trail leads. Once you’ve posted something, it cannot be retracted. Even if you control the site and can delete it, you cannot control who saw it or if they saved that information. Review your trail of bread crumbs. Could someone follow your comments from a polarizing blog back to your professional Web site?

or comments are scathing or complaining, people will assume that you’re an unhappy, dissatisfied or angry individual.

Damage Control

Sloppy Sites Over-Sharing Your Personal Preferences Pitfall: Your personal blog, family Web site, political affiliations and favorite bookmarks are all a Google-search away from the public eye. Certainly, everyone has a right to their own opinions, hobbies and personal lives. But pay close attention to how easily your professional connections can access information about your personal life. Are you publicly bookmarking 32 | SPEAKER | March 2010

Pitfall: Your professional site should be as tidy and fastidious as you are. Used for professional purposes, social media can move you or your company forward. If you’re using these sites professionally, make sure they represent you in the same light you strive for in your physical appearance and demeanor. The text should be free of slang, misspelled words and poor punctuation. Pay attention to your tone and attitude. You may be witty, but if your posts

Did you recognize yourself in any of these descriptions? If so, what now? The first step is to eliminate the offending material or connections. If you have direct access to the item, you can delete it. If someone else controls the content, politely ask for the content to be removed. When all else fails, contact a company that specializes in cleaning up your online presence, like ReputationDefender and ReputationHawk. Identify programs and tools you’d like to use, both personally and professionally. Then, consider creating and maintaining completely separate accounts, user names, or other identifying markers. No one is saying you shouldn’t do all of the things you enjoy doing through these outlets. Just be mindful on how you do it. Sara Canaday is a professional consultant who is dedicated to helping clients chart their own course for success and achievement. She factors in every aspect of professional presence, including image, non-verbal communication, personal branding and emotional intelligence. Visit www.saracanady.com.


Beyond Borders Controlling cultures, countries and comfort zones

Be Heard in Any Language

P

resenting internationally offers many challenges. As a speaker, you must be aware of not only what you say and how you say it, but also what audiences expect from your presentation. You can communicate your presentation in English more effectively if you translate the message through your words and into the context of your listeners. Native English speakers sometimes forget to prepare for different cultural perceptions, assuming English is the cultural context. Hidden cultural differences, which result from subtle and inaudible cues, often cause misunderstanding and friction. In some countries, for example, asking for audience feedback is not advised. Being aware of your audience’s cultural factors will help you communicate your message and build a clear, personal “international” brand as a professional speaker. But how can you adapt your presentation to communicate your message to diverse cultural groups?

Cultural Issues Communicating to global audiences doesn’t mean speaking English slowly and loudly, eliminating jargon and choosing the right words. When telling a story, replacing brand names and places with local ones isn’t the answer either. What you consider significant may not be important to your listeners. You need to accept that your own beliefs may not be universal truths. Much of what we say, do and feel is so ingrained in us that we do not realize the impact of cultural conditioning on us.

Take your presentation, for example. Is it designed to motivate individuals to succeed? If so, it would be well received by Americans and Anglo-Saxon cultures who are proud of their individuality. The Japanese, however, view individuality as immaturity because people are expected to do what it good for the group.

Language Issues Language isn’t just how people speak— it is who they are. Knowing the language gives you an insight into the people. When you learn the language of another people, you notice differences in structure, vocabulary and shades of meaning, and that helps you to understand their outlook. The English language reflects an action-driven society, as illustrated in: “Actions speak louder than words” and “Time is money.” The language itself is structured efficiently with subject-verb-object. In contrast, Thailand has 12 words for “you,” denoting the importance of seniority. Nepal has different words for “uncle,” according to whether the man is the brother of your mother or father, and whether he is older or younger than your parent. Japanese leaves the verb until the end to modify or do away with, depending on the reaction of the listener: The quest is for harmony and saving face. (See sidebar.) Does your presentation focus on deadlines or sealing the deal? Unfortunately, this will not resonate with cultures that value nurturing relationships. Understand the values of your audience to translate your message into their context.

Saving Face The concept of “saving face” is second nature to Asian cultures. At its simplest level, it is about not making someone feel embarrassed or uncomfortable; for example, it is unacceptable to ask audience members to “raise your hand if …” But it’s much more than that. Face lies at the root of all business relationships in the Far East. It is about giving respect, and acknowledging one another’s place in society. Deborah Swallow, DBA, is a Fellow of the PSA and an academic entrepreneur, executive coach, business consultant and author. She is an expert on intercultural communications, cultural diversity and international business practices. Swallow has worked in over 30 countries addressing the complexities of people who work internationally across multiple cultures. Visit www.deborahswallow.com.

March 2010 | SPEAKER | 33


Turning Point A career-changing moment or experience

Think Outside the Cockpit

M

y dinner conversation with NSA colleague Ed Rigsbee, CSP, in September 2004 had a powerful impact on my career. A few months earlier, we both spoke for a national association in Nashville. Ed called me in advance to ask me about my wingman concepts, which he wanted to incorporate in his closing speech. “Wow! I should stay in touch with this speaker,” I thought. So, when I presented a program in Ed’s hometown a few months later, I invited him to watch me speak. Later, I bombarded him with questions on my platform skills, PowerPoint® and content. Then, he asked me a question that changed my career’s trajectory forever. “Waldo, you talk a lot about being a wingman in your speech. You should expand that brand. Your domain should be www. wingman.com instead of waldospeaks.com.” Ed made a great point. As I was rather inexperienced in marketing, I told him the domain was already taken and I never looked into it any further. “Waldo,” he pressed, “You’re a wingman to your clients. What about yourwingman.com?” One word came to mind: brilliant! That single conversation shifted my brand emphasis from “Waldo” to “Wingman” and transformed my career. I embarked on a rebranding mission and revamped my Web site, changed my 34 | SPEAKER | March 2010

speech title to “Never Fly Solo”—which is also the title of my new book—and created a glossary of wingman terms (e.g., wing-giver, wingmom) that I use in my seminars. I also trademarked Your Wingman™, Got Wingmen™ and Never Fly Solo™. But it was more than just a name change. It was a content and emotional

partners, crosscheck our blind spots, expand our perspective and give us mission-critical feedback. Ed’s candor and feedback set me on the right path. Over the years, I’ve had similar conversations with other NSA speakers, including Dan Seidman, Jeffrey Gitomer, CSP, CPAE, David Greenberg, CSP, Ken Futch, CSP, and Tim Gard, CSP, CPAE, who have given me amazing insights and valuable suggestions. My wingtip to you is to actively engage other NSA speakers in your network. Don’t try to do it all on your own. Reach out and build relationships with NSA wingmen who will give you mission-critical feedback. Ask for help, be open to what you learn and, most important, be willing to change your flight path. Flexibility is vital to evolving in a rapidly changing market. Finally, don’t forget to lend a wing as well. Think outside your own cockpit and be willing Waldman’s “Wingman” concept to support your NSA peers. In transformed his career. these challenging times, you never know who needs you on shift in my messaging. I downplayed the their wing. steely-eyed, maverick fighter pilot image and focused on the wingman concept that symbolizes teamwork, trust and Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” courage. I transitioned from a salesWaldman, MBA, CSP, is an focused speaker to a leadership speaker. inspirational leadership Today, my clients refer to me not just as speaker and peak performance Waldo, but as “The Wingman.” coach. Past President of NSA Just like fighter pilots, the most sucGeorgia, he is the author of Never Fly Solo. cessful speakers never fly solo. We fly Visit www.yourwingman.com or e-mail him with wingmen who, as our trusted at Waldo@yourwingman.com.


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Humor Me Quips, tips and parting shots

Laughing Matters in China

A

s a motivational humorist and a former stand-up comic, I was hired to entertain at a prestigious Hong Kong awards ceremony because last year’s speaker bored the audience. I was excited about the gig until the client asked to see my material and next to every joke wrote: “Please do not do.” The client wanted nothing about marriage, the economy, the workplace, relationships, dogs—basically, any bad news or problems. The title of my gig was “Workplace Humor: Turning Problems into Punch Lines.” Although I consider myself something of an expert on this, I couldn’t figure out how to turn this problem into a punch line. I couldn’t mention problems and all of my punch lines were vetoed. My speech disappeared faster than a bowl of pork lo mien on a Sunday night. The Chinese corporate lawyer suggested, “Why don’t you joke about how beautiful a Hong Kong sunset is?” She will clearly not be asked to create 38 | SPEAKER | March 2010

China’s version of “The Daily Show.” (Note to self regarding future gigs in China: Please do not do.) I even asked the client, “Can I try physical humor? Maybe some prat falls?” The e-mail response that came back stated: “Very unlady-like, please do not do.” It was a long flight, so I had time to prepare material on the plane. The glamorous Cathay Pacific Asian stewardess was my audience. I started by explaining the premise of my speech: Take your job seriously, but not yourself. Make fun of yourself. She registered horror. “Oh, no! We not talk about or make fun of our shame.” No self-deprecating humor? Nothing about failed romances, failed diets, penis size? Those are the staples of American humor. Nothing makes us laugh as much as our inadequacies. What could I possibly talk about? We were over the North Pole when I got the stewardess to laugh. I asked her why she was covering her mouth and she said, “Laughing at someone is considered rude. Very rude.” “Oy!” I exclaimed. “Oy? What does that mean?” she asked. And there went my Jewish material. There was no way I could be funny in China. I was going to be a sitting duck, or perhaps a Peking Duck. After 16 hours on the plane, I came up with only three minutes of material. Checking into the Grand Hyatt, I was a wreck. But so was the clerk at the reception desk. He couldn’t stop apologizing, telling me the server was down and it would be an hour before it was

repaired. That was it! Thank you, Grand Hyatt. Thank you, God. Thank you, Buddha. Mostly, thank you, Internet Explorer, all servers, cell phones and Windows Vista. I’d finally found something I could joke about that defies time zones and cultural differences. We are all alike in our dependence on the Internet. I sent a text message to the client, asking: “Can I poke fun of technology?” What came back was, “Please do.” It was the night of the black-tie event with China’s most influential business people. I started my act asking the audience if technology was stressing them out. “How many of you, when you talk without your Blackberry, your thumbs still move?” Bada-boom, bada-bing! They laughed! I continued on, joking about the frustrations of modern day life. “Do you stay in a bad relationship because you can’t handle upgrades?” I was a hit. I turned a problem into many punch lines. Onto my next gig—a comedy workshop in Berlin. Oy!

Judy Carter is a humorist and motivational speaker who uses the “power of the punch line” to connect with audiences from the boardroom to the ballroom. She is the author of the best-selling books, The Comedy Bible and Stand-Up Comedy, and she brings customized comedy to corporate organizations like BlueCross, FedEx and Boeing. Visit www.judycarter.com.


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Speaker magazine, NSA's official award-winning publication, is published 10 times annually in print and digital formats. Speaker provides me...

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Speaker magazine, NSA's official award-winning publication, is published 10 times annually in print and digital formats. Speaker provides me...

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