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  • I just attended a ‘lab’ held by the National Speakers Association for people interested in doing coaching. It was a three day event.

    What an incredible disappointment.

    I do a fair amount of coaching and I was ready to hear some great new ideas and concepts I could put to use immediately. Sorry, but it didn’t happen.

    More importantly, what can YOU learn from what I experienced.

    Before I start, let me lead with this. I ALWAYS want to attend events and be blown away by the content and value I receive. I would love to constantly report to you that there was ‘great stuff’ out there that you needed to spend your time and money to do.

    Unfortunately, this is not very often the case.

    Let me give you what I did NOT like about this event. Remember, I am a member of this organization and the only way I can personally help to improve it is by giving constructive criticism. Unfortunately, it is very seldom heard or listened to.

    I’ll be doing an event at the NSA national convention in Orlando this year and if you attend, make SURE that I practice what I preach. If you’re attending that event, make sure to sign up for my session NOW. It is filling up fast.

    Here were the problems/issues as I saw them:

    1. Microphones did not work properly. Although this is the home office of the organization, the mics don’t work very well. This made it difficult to concentrate on the content (if there was any) to be heard and/or properly understood.

    I put this comment on my evaluation and I’m hoping that the ‘powers that be’ will listen. Many of the people at my table felt the same way.

    Your Action Point: Always have your mics set up so that they work and everyone can hear properly. I’ve screwed this up myself, but I try and do everything I can NOT to.

    2. Content was SLIM TO NONE

    I know I’m pretty demanding, but even toning myself down a notch or two the content was WEAK! Very weak.

    There was a lot of the ‘touchey feeley’ stuff which I will tolerate (and even enjoy on occasion) if it it sand- whiched between GREAT content.

    The content was minimal. Nothing concrete, just a lot of silly fluff. Very disheartening.

    Your Action Point? Make sure you pack your presentation with MEAT, not fluff!

    3. Exercises MUST Prove a Point

    I got the feeling that many exercises were ‘thrown in’ because people were told you needed to have them.

    Bad Idea.

    Exercises can be helpful if they are not INANE and prove a valuable or important point. Not true here. The exercises were weak and unhelpful.

    Your Action Point? If you do an exercise, make SURE it has relevance and is worth taking the time to do it. If not, leave it out.

    4. Shooshing

    This really pisses me off. When some people attempt to re-gain a group’s attention they sometimes make this ‘SHOOSHING’ sound that everyone has heard a parent do to a child.

    The people who are in the room feel stupid and childish. There are much better ways to get people to come back ‘to order’ after a break. This is NOT one of them.

    Although it’s not my preferred technique I’ve heard a chime or a bell used.

    Whatever you do, don’t make adults feel like stupid little children when you try and get their attention back.

    Your Action Point? Get back people’s attention by using an ADULT method. People need to be treated with respect and are not children.

    5. Speaker Selection

    Do people actually go watch people do their material before they invite them to speak? I guess the answer to that question many times is NO.

    Often times speakers are selected on the basis of personal relationships and the net result is POOR speakers.

    I have NO idea how these speakers were selected but it would appear that the people who selected them did NOT screen very well.

    When I do an event I try and put my personal ego aside and ask myself: ‘Who would BEST serve my audience’ to share this particular topic.

    I don’t care if I really dislike the person, if they are the RIGHT person for the topic, I’ll invite them.

    Your Action Point: Think of what your audience needs, not who you like or want when selecting someone to speak at your event.

    6. People BELIEVE the Speakers

    Here’s a great one.

    One of the speakers made some representations that in a matter of minutes I proved to myself were blatantly wrong.

    YET, the group as a whole listened, took notes and ASSUMED that the information that was given out was accurate and correct.

    One ‘error’ I caught was so flagrantly incorrect I wanted to get up and shout in the middle of this person’s presentation. I didn’t, but in some ways I feel like I should.

    People BELIEVE speakers. Often times speakers give out INCORRECT information. Those who do need to be ‘busted’ as soon as possible so as not to misinform the audience members.

    Your Action Point? Make sure you carefully review your speakers information to make darn sure it’s as accurate as it can be. If it’s not, they will blame YOU, the promoter or organizer of the event.

    To be fair, the final day had some decent marketing information, but there were some issues there as well.

    Another thing I must mention here is this. The NSA as a group is really making an effort to improve. I’ve seen it over the past couple of years. HOWEVER, for me to hold my tongue to be politically correct would be a disservice to other members and the speaking community as a whole.

    I offer all of these comments in hopes that the issues and problems will be addressed and corrected. They sure need to be.

    This morning I gave a speech for American Image Consultants International. I spoke about marketing themselves and their services.

    What a great group and I had a lot of fun. I’ll give you more insights on what I did and how it worked next time. I’ve got some interesting things to share with you in this area.

    Those are some quick ideas for now. More later. Look for a special offer about Dave Bullock’s material shortly. He’s in town to record an audio AND video program with me.

    See you Soon,


  • Filed under: Ezine

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