Happy Holidays!!!! Busy December in Canada and Boston

As we enter into this Christmas holiday week, I hope you take a moment to sit back, enjoy the fire, sip the eggnog and count our many blessings.  As I wander around the country listening to our members,  it has indeed been a tumultuous year for many professional speakers.  I am confident that we will see signs of recovery in the upcoming year, but not without a few steps back periodically.  I was facilitating a group of CEOs this month, and when talking about the economic forecast, they called it “bouncing on the bottom”.  Just as soon as you think we are in recovery, we’ll get a setback, then recover, setback, recover….for the next year or so.  Then a long, but steady recovery.

I’m looking foward to the recovery and I’ll be you are too, so put your feet up, enjoy the holidays, and don’t forget to put your plans together on how to leverage the recovery and weather the inevitable setbacks (For more info on this, listen to the December Voices of Experience (VOE) segment available on the NSA Podcast Network on itunes).

Last weekend, I was in Boston (Natick, MA to be precise) to spend some time with the NSA-New England Chapter.  Led by Chapter President Suzanne Bates, this chapter is rockin’ and a rollin’!  Had a lovely dinner the night before with the Board at Big Papi’s (I keep thinking about the song, “Big Poppa” by Notorious B.I.G. in the movie, “Hardball” with Keanu Reaves?)   The next morning, we had around fifty people for the chapter program, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve, and Inspire Your Audience to Action and then after lunch, we chatted about the trends we are seeing in the speaking industry.  Check the chapter out!

Then, I dashed off to catch a plane (but not without having a drink at the bar with the Board!) – only to get caught by weather at O’Hare.  Drat the bad luck!  Good news is that there was room at the Chicago Airport Hilton and I was home by 10am the next day.  Stuff happens, right?

I also went to the Canadian Association for Professional Speakers (CAPS) convention in Montreal, Quebec.  Yes, it was frightfully cold and we had a bit of snow on the ground!  Nevertheless, about 300 people gathered together for one of the best CAPS conventions EVER!!!!  (In full disclosure, I have been to six conventions now and just joined CAPS this past year).

With about 300 people in attendance, it has a great, intimate feeling of comraderie fairly reminiscent of our winter workshops.  I was honored to represent the NSA-US, and they very graciously recognized my presence during the President’s Ball (the Speakers’ Hall of Fame ceremony is part of the Ball).  I participated in the “Who wants to get a CSP” preconvention session, “Who’s in the Hall” (see below) and as a panelist in the Rising Star concurrent session where each chapter selects one representative to give five minutes of their best stuff – and then get critiqued by three panelists.  In this case, it was me, Jane Atkinson and Michael Kerr, CSP, HoF.

The other big news is that the CAPS Foundation has just hit the $100,000 mark for contributions!  That means they have enough in the “corpus” to begin helping some professional speakers in need – much like the NSA Foundation.

They did a few things that I think we should consider in the future, either at our conferences or convention:

  • The mainstage had a “Calloway’s Corner” where Joe Calloway would interview the mainstage presenters – after their speech or even instead of the speech, either individually or with the previous speaker (Letterman style).  Reminded me of the “Up Close and Personal” sessions we used to do as a concurrent, but this was on the mainstage.  This was VERY engaging and well-received by the members.
  • The mainstage presenters were ALL amazing speakers with the opening keynoter, Retired General (and now Senator) Romeo Dallaire who is a Canadian celebrity.
  • They had “tracks” based on the needs of the speakers: emerging speakers, growth speakers, ambassadors, global and a “quantum” track.
  • Rather than have a “meet the pros” session, they did a “Who’s in the Hall” where a “pro” would be scheduled to be in a set location in the hallway for a defined period of time (typically 90 minutes) during the concurrent sessions.  While a topic was identified for each “pro” (mine was how to integrate facilitation into your speaking business), the conversation could go anywhere.  No handouts required!  I particularly liked this format since I didn’t have to scream to be heard above the din!

Next year, the convention starts on Thanksgiving weekend Sunday in Toronto – but I hope that doesn’t dissuade you from checking out our sister association’s convention!  It’s a blast!

Explore posts in the same categories: Chapter Visits, GSF Visits, VOE

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