Key Takeaways from our November Chapter Event

Do you attend NSA NYC meetings with your “rose-colored glasses” officially on? I do.

I am always upbeat and optimistic about who I am about to meet and what I am about to learn.

Our November meeting was especially “Rosy” thanks to the agenda and NSA NYC’s President Sylvie di Giusto’s   snappy rose-colored suit!

Our Master of Ceremonies Jeanne M. Stafford  started the meeting with a jolt, when she immediately challenged us to ask the person sitting nearby “What problem(s) do you solve? and Who do you solve problems for? That type of “pop quiz” challenge will certainly add some rose color to your cheeks! Jeanne’s perspective was well taken. If you haven’t thought about the problems your presentation solves you might want to spend some time organizing your thoughts. This just might be a new way of presenting your specific topic to potential clients.

We then settled in for an informative and colorful update on the state-of-the-industry Sarah Michel, CSP  from Velvet Chainsaw Consulting. Sarah is an industry professional who has spent the past 20 years reaching the very heights of our industry.

In her role with Velvet Chainsaw, she oversees such areas as Conference Networking, General Session Content, Design & Delivery, and 1st Timer Experiences. In other words, she knows an awful lot about what makes shows and speakers click. This was a presentation you had to hear.

Some of Sarah’s key takeaways:

  • The days of “Speak and Flee” are coming to an end. Conferences are now looking for professional speakers to create interactive content that is designed to get attendees networking and connected.
  • Networking is now the number 1 reason attendees come to shows. You need to have content that gets them talking to each other. Attendees come to shows to make new contacts in their fields. Keep in mind 38% of conference attendees are newcomers.
  • Attendees are “problem-centric” and not “content-centric”. They want their speakers to relate the content to how it affects them and solves their issues. Learning is transformational. Attendees want to leave with new skills, not just new content to ponder.
  • Your audience is no longer satisfied to just listen and take notes. What will you have them do? Try to devote ⅓ of your time to discussion sessions where attendees get to interact with one another.
  • The “DIKUW” pyramid:
    • Data – Provide background facts that establish the issues.
    • Information – Provide the latest information on the data.
    • Knowledge – Dispense the knowledge the attendees need to master the subject.
    • Understanding – Create exercises that allow attendees to present their takeaways in their own words.
    • Wisdom – Make the attendees smarter so they can return home as masters of the topic for their interactions going forward.

5 Pillars of Sarah’s new presentation guidelines:

  1. Talking trumps Listening – It increases retention and builds relationships.
  2. Meaning trumps Content – So what – Now what.  Allow time for the peer to peer discussions to get to the true meaning of your content.
  3. Different trumps Same – Try New room sets, storytelling, novelty….
  4. Utilize Strong Visuals – 50% of brain processing is devoted to visuals. (Check out: for great visuals.)
  5. Shorter trumps Longer – Attention spans are shorter than ever. Do your presentation in 8 – 10-minute blocks.

For more be sure to head to the Velvet Chainsaw website.

The future of professional speaking is rosy but you need to modify your palette if you truly want to compete.

Holiday Party – Ben Wolff  updated us on the upcoming NSA Holiday Party scheduled for December 12 at the Midpoint Bistro (40 West 45th Street). Speaking about snappy suits, this affair will be “Black Tie” only.  Don’t forget to check out the silent auction which has loads of useful gifts, seminars, etc.

Our book of the monthPhobia Relief” was introduced by author Kalliope Barlis Phobia Relief, Fear to Freedom is a simple and easy to read book that discusses skills to overcome irrational fears, quickly. First discovered while she was playing professional golf, Kalliope uses the same skills she used to become a pro golfer in just two years, to guide others to find freedom from their fears.

Our own NSA NYC Past President, Speaker, Author and Humorist Tami Evans  provided this month’s radiant member insight about working with Speaker Bureaus.

Tami reminded us how important it is to have your entire suite of marketing materials available for prospective clients.

In addition, Tami recommended the following:

  • Be Sellable!
  • A good video is a must. This is a strong investment in you. Don’t skimp.
  • A professional website is critical. Every bureau will look to your website for indications about who and what you are.
  • Provide proof of what you do. Testimonials and testimonial tweets solidify your video, website and the claims you make.
  • Partner Relationships – Make it easy and seamless for a potential bureau to find you. Tip: Have your phone number right next to your face on your website. Let potential partners know that you will drop everything to follow up.
  • Speak! Anywhere and everywhere you can. Hone your skills. Constantly strive to improve your skills through experience.

President-elect Jay Townsend  boldly challenged us all to get involved with the NSA NYC Board. An application form can be found here.

At last count, thanks to NSA NYC Renee Rosenberg  the coat drive had collected dozens of coats and many online donations were made as well to support New York Cares’ annual coat drive for the city.

See you soon,
Glenn Rudin  
Owner –  Always Been Creative
Sales & Marketing Consultant