VOE – January – Eat Your Own Dogfood!

As I travel out to the chapters, I am frequently asked “why did you want to become NSA President?”  It’s actually a good question, The short answer is because it clearly hits the trifecta.  I believe that I can make a difference for NSA, my business and my own personal growth.  And so I volunteered.  So let me explain, as this model may be useful for you whenever someone asks you to do something “pro bono” – in other words, for free.  It has to hit the “trifecta” – satisfy all three criteria before you say “yes”:

First, it has to be something that you are personally passionate about. For me, I love NSA – I love the people, the culture, our mission.  Where else can you stand on the shoulders of other successful professional speakers and cut years off your learning curve?  And get a chance to hang out with other phenomenally smart people who travel around sharing their expertise and inspiration with the world?

Second.  You have to believe the organization will truly benefit from your talent. In my situation, I firmly believe that NSA needs a strategic thinker who brings a business approach to NSA.  Evidently, the Board thought so too!

Lastly, the work has to help your business. From a professional standpoint, I speak about team work, collaboration and high stakes meeting facilitation.  I find it only fitting that I experience these principles firsthand.  I call this “eating my own dogfood”. Some might call it “practice what you preach”.  And I think this is paramount for our credibility on the platform.  How can anyone talk about leadership if they have never led anything?

At NSA, we have been wrestling with a similar issue to eating your own dogfood.  We encourage our members, who are experts in their own right to speak more, speak better, and make more money.  In fact, we published a white paper a few years ago about leveraging the value of your expertise.  And if you have never read it, I encourage you to go the NSA website and download “The Expertise Imperative” as it gives you a robust list of activities to increase and leverage your expertise.

Now NSA is the leading source for community, education and entrepreneurial business knowledge needed to be successful in the speaking profession.  So it follows that NSA is also in the expertise business – helping speakers monetize their expertise.  We too we need to eat our own dogfood – modeling for our members how to add value to our “customers” – that would be you, our members.

If you take a page from the Expertise Imperative White Paper, there are several things you can do to be considered “the expert in your field.”  You can:

Create the Virtual Conversation. You do this by

-Creating a social media presence on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter

-Blogging about current events directly connected to your area of expertise (check out my presidential blog on wordpress.com!)

-Setting up a YouTube Channel to tell your story – NSA has a channel with short, interesting videos that help promote the value of NSA membership and to share items of interest to our members.  Check out Vice President Ron Culberson providing a short tour of NSA Headquarters.  He’s hilarious!  Okay, not really funny, but he tries.

-Collaborating with your clients to help them promote the event – just check out what Gina Schrek and Neen James are doing to promote the UNconference being held in Atlanta on February 18th to the 20th!  Are you providing promotional lead-in videos to your meeting planners?

-When you become a leader in the virtual conversation, you then get cited by influential magazines and periodicals, which even further reinforces your expertise.  Love that.  By the way, Did you know that we are a featured story in Inc. magazine this month?

The social network then bleeds into the traditional network of publications, books, CDs, white papers, articles – all used to establish your credibility. So this is really cool.  Our first book, Paid to Speak will hit the bookstores in March!  Besides our two white papers, our newest product, the Business of Speaking is being ordered by the case.  I’m not kidding!  And you don’t want to miss the bonus DVD of Joe Calloway’s legendary speech, “Letting Go of What Used to Work.”  Every time I watch it, I keep throwing stuff out!

-You can also offer your clients a piece of you to take home in the shape of back of the room products – books, CDs, learning systems, guidebooks – which is why we now have a NSA bookstore at each national event.  For years, we never did that.  Now we do.  How cool is that?

Finally, we can leverage our expertise through some kind of technological offering.  NSA is tinkering around with different technologies including mobile apps and plan to develop something for the annual convention.  I am not sure what the exact plan is, but I know that will be our first step into developing our own mobile applications.

And, by the way, did you know that VOE is on itunes so you can have it automatically download into your iphone or ipod.  Or ipad…..whatever.

You may be noticing a small, yet deliberate shift in the NSA landscape that I just want to point out to you, which individually are small tremors, but collectively, they add up to shift in the way we do business so that NSA continues to be the leading source for community, education, and entrepreneurial business knowledge to help you be wildly successful in this business.

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One Comment on “VOE – January – Eat Your Own Dogfood!”

  1. Jason Womack Says:

    I just listened to the January edition of VOE, and when I got home yesterday, printed out the document you discussed about our “expertise.” I’m reading it next. I came over here to the blog to read about happenings, and want to thank you for sharing so much.

    Happy New Year, from an NSAer in Ojai, CA.


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