Thursday, August 17, 2017

Recession Proof Your Career by Choosing People

My career as a speaker was built during the "Great Recession".  Before the crash I was advised that if my desire to be a professional speaker was real, I should change topics, as teaching people how to engage, network, build connections, etc... was "fluffy and nobody would pay" for that topic.

Enter 2008 and 2009.  The economy plummeted and people were being laid in near record numbers. Business professionals were scrambling either to find their next job or to show their extra value to their employer to avoid being the next one to be let go.

Those who were finding success attributed their career stability to their networks.  All the news outlets were running stories about the power of networking, and the topic was considered anything but "fluffy".  While I had not had years of experience as a speaker, my take on how to make, grow, and keep your business relationships touched the problem faced by so many people.  Associations who were hungry to provide real value to their members hired me to present and I created win / win relationships with several organizations that have continued to work with me or refer me to this day.

Over the last two years I have again begun to see the eye rolls from meeting planners (and more so from the conference committee members) about the topic of connecting with people.  The reality is in our busy and tech crazed business world the need to establish long-term and mutually-beneficial relationships is more important that ever, but in a strong economy people do not see the immediate need to connect. 

Yet we live in very uncertain times.  While the stock market and job numbers are showing strong gains, there is little trust in what is ahead.  The division in our society over the current state of affairs in Washington DC (and the world) leaves our economy vulnerable, and people are talking about when the bottom may again fall out.  

If people are worried about the economy, they should be taking steps to recession-proof their careers now.  Too many of us (myself included) did not adequately understand what 2008 / 2009 was going to be like and how long it would take us to regain our previous income levels. Conversations these days are often full of questions about what is coming, but I am not seeing many people actively making plans to be ready for the less favorable economic possibilities. 

All opportunities come from people and there is nothing better to ensure that you will bounce back in the face of adversity than having established a network of people who will be there to help out in good times and bad.  The problem is that our social media crazed world has lead people to think they have more powerful connections than they really do.  A like, link, share, or follow means nothing if there is not a real relationship behind it.

Earlier this year I spoke at a conference of successful business leaders who were among the most "self confident" people I have worked with in my career (read that as: nice, successful, and arrogant).  While my presentation went fine, a few of them complained to the organizer that my focus on the importance of connecting with people was "old fashioned" and "dated".  They voiced their belief that this was not top of the list to take their companies to the next level. My belief is that when you choose people you always find victories, especially over the long run.  When I think about the business sector where these CEOs operate, they will be among the hardest hit if their is a correction in the economy.  To lessen the importance of the relationship side of growing a business will leave many of them struggling or bankrupt.  

Everyone is vulnerable to the possibility of a stall (or fall) in the economy, and business leaders and associations should be exploring what is next. Cultivating a culture of connecting is not only good for today, but will help prepare everyone for any bumps in the road.  

Choose people everyday, as there may be a time when you need them to help you.  When the economy stalls is not the time to start networking.  

Have A Great Day

thom singer 

Sunday, August 06, 2017

EmCee Role Must Evolve With The Changing Meetings Industry


I will admit, not all professional speakers like being the Master of Ceremonies for a conference or other live event.  Speaking and hosting are two very different skills, and the amount of time and effort that has to go into being the MC of a multi-day event does not equal the value in the amount paid for the services.  Keynotes pay more when you look at the "per hour rate".  

Plus the greatest skill many speakers possess is how quickly they can clear out of the conference after they finish their on-stage talk.  Too few stick around and chat with the attendees.  An EmCee has to be "on" not just up front in the general session, but in the hallways, at coffee breaks, during meals, at happy hour, etc...

I like serving in the role of EmCee.  I like it a lot, and it is a growing part of my business. It is especially cool when coupled with a keynote and my "Conference Catalyst" program, as I know in these combined roles I can help set the tone for the whole event.  It is a big responsibility, but it matters to the success of a convention.

Over the years my approach to being EmCee has morphed. With all the changes in the meetings industry I am undertaking the most intense effort of study and content curation of my decade long career.  Last year I wrote a one-man show as part of an exercise in storytelling (which spun out my new keynote "The Paradox of Potential") and this week I am taking my first workshop in Stand Up Comedy.  While I am not looking to create a comedy routine, there is much I can learn from comics that will serve my audiences in the future.

A conference is no longer a series of presentations.  It is a show, but most people who speak at events are not yet aware of these showtime expectations of the modern audience.  Thus, the EmCee must become the thread that runs both personality and audience engagement throughout all aspects of the agenda.

Becoming an astute observer becomes more important than ever for the master of ceremonies.  To identify the core learning objectives in the general sessions and some of the featured break-out sessions is paramount to the success of the event host.  "Content Weaving" and "Summation" are becoming what separates the professional from some random board member or employee who fills the host role. 

As with any new undertaking, the commitment to the long-term is my biggest focus.  There is too much a stake to imagine my fresh path will be enough for the avalanche of changes that are impacting the business side of meetings.  Yet is is somehow exciting to know that what got me to this point in my career is not what till take me to the next level. To stay relevant we all must keep learning.

Meeting organizers all have different opinions as to what is important for a successful meeting, and some see a master of ceremonies as just an extra expense. But the most innovative in the business are telling me that hiring 'the right EmCee' (not just anyone) is now becoming a fresh priority and an area they are giving more value in the budgeting process.  Having a solid host means they do not have to worry about every detail while also having to manage an EmCee who is not experienced in the planning and execution of a conference.  

I foresee that I will be working in the meetings business for the next 15 years, and it is clear that more changes are coming. I expect the role of EmCee to grow, thus I am working hard to expand my offerings.  Stand Up and Improve classes are just a part of it.  I need to crystallize my skills at summarizing events and observing what is impacting the culture of the conference (and beyond). 

Meetings are a combination of learning and human engagement, and I am well suited to serve audiences who care about both while also living the story of the experience.  

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Hire a Professional Master of Ceremonies

6 Reasons to hire a professional master of ceremonies for your next event.  When you make your attendees a priority you realize the investment in an EmCee is minimal compared to the impact on your event experience.

Hear episode 278 of the "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do" podcast.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Become A Podcast Guest - It is great way to grow your business!!!


Recently I heard about a guest on a podcast who in less than 48 hours received 12 new inbound inquiries, had nine enrollment conversations and closed three $30,000 sales… that’s $90,000 in revenue… from appearing on just ONE show!
Honestly, I was stunned. I had no idea appearing on podcasts could generate so many leads, conversations and cash.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been looking for a new way to get the word out about my products, programs and services as Facebook ads are getting way too expensive, fewer people are opening my emails and I’m tired of being on the road conducting speaking gigs.
I’ve seriously given thought to trying to get booked on a few podcasts, but I wasn’t really sure how to identify who the players are or how to contact them.
That is, until… my friend Steve Olsher sent me a free 'Preview' edition of his Ultimate Directory of Powerful Podcasters, Big-Time Bloggers & Social Media Stars.
Steve’s Directory provides you with the names, photos, bios, “area of focus,” email addresses and marketing reach scores for the most powerful digital influencers anywhere. In other words, he’s done ALL of the work for you.
For the next 48 hours, you can grab a FREE 'Preview' copy of the Directory HERE 
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The Directory is an incredible resource. I’m sure it took his team hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to put it together.
If you’re a coach, author, speaker, online marketer, holistic practitioner or small business owner, I highly recommend grabbing a 'Preview' copy of the Directory while you can.
These influencers are always on the hunt for interesting guests like YOU to put in front of their large followings. Just imagine what being featured on the right high-visibility platform could do for you overnight.
Take a moment & download your FREE 'Preview' copy of The Ultimate Directory HERE >>> https://ar117.isrefer.com/go/Directory/thomsinger/
You’ll be glad you did.
Have A Great Day
thom singer
P.S. When you grab the ‘Preview’ edition of the Directory, you’ll also get instant access to Steve’s free video training series, ‘Profiting From Podcasts’ which teaches you his proven process for getting booked on the world’s leading shows and generating MASSIVE visibility… at NO cost. And, you’ll also have an opportunity to pick up the ENTIRE Directorywhich contains detailed contact information for all 240 new media influencers for 96% off the normal price!
Get Instant Access HERE >>>  https://ar117.isrefer.com/go/Directory/thomsinger/

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Support Your Industry. Grow Your Pie.

"In a dark time, the eye begins to see"- Cavett Robert
I have seen dark times, and they opened me up to be ready to recognize success.  I have seen bright times and I have enjoyed the warmth of growing my business and supporting my industry.  

I am shocked when others find ways to blacken the sunshine that is illuminating the faces of others.  Why must people throw stones when someone else is rising high?  I am excited about the path I am blazing, but I am also becoming aware of how people behave in selfish ways.    It confuses me, but somebody always takes a shot at those who are excelling. 

This week I attended my 9th annual convention of the National Speakers Association.  Influence 2017 left me inspired for what is ahead for me in the next year. In my time as a member of this organization I have learned so much from the other speakers I have known (and those legends I did not have the honor of knowing).  Each time I attend I come home fired up to do more.

When Cavett Robert founded the National Speakers Association over 40 years ago he told other speakers “Don’t worry about how we divide up the pie, there is enough for everybody! Let’s just build a bigger pie.”  Too many get jealous of others and want to keep them from rising. Yet I believe in Cavett's theory of a bigger pie.  It is paramount to my core thoughts about the speaking business (and the meetings business). I want to see everyone build a bigger pie.  I get upset when I see those who undermine fabric of the pie growth speakers. 

NSA has become a beacon of my success.  When I meet people who want to become professional speakers, I encourage them to attend as many events (local and national) as they can.  But not many get engaged.  I hear many speaking "gurus" who sell services to those who want to speak talk down participation (as clearly they want to sell the information to those who want to make a living in this business), but I never could have found any success without my being engaged in NSA.

When I speak to audiences I always tell them that no matter what industry they are part of, they need to become active in their industry association.  I am shocked how many associations do not champion the cause of associations.  None of us can grow unless we all are on board to expand.

I am shocked by people who do not support their industries.  It is so much easier to grow your industry's pie than to constantly chip away at the foundation of your peers.  I did not know Cavett Robert, but I am sure he smiles at the speakers who have followed after him to expand our boundaries.  Those who support the industry and grow the pie are the legacy he left behind.  I strive to do my little part to add to that legacy.  I look up and smile thinking of him.  I am thankful he founded the NSA.

What do you do to add to the legacy of your industry?  If you cannot answer that I challenge you to do something. Anything.  No matter how small.  It all adds up.  

And do you know who founded your industry association?  You are their legacy... learn their story. 

Have A Great Day

thom singer



Thursday, June 22, 2017

The World is Changing - And So Will Your Job

There are many changes happening in the business world.  I am not sure I grasp what all of it means, and I am trying to not have my head in the sand.  The small things matter, but can easily be overlooked.

How people will earn their living is going to be disrupted and more and more people will become self-employed consultants.  Many will thrive in this environment, but having worked as a solopreneur for nearly a decade, I am also aware that some will not be prepared for all that goes with self-employment. 

My own industry, the meetings business, is going to undergo disruptions.  Speakers are going to be directly impacted, as what audiences want is different than it was just a few short years ago.  Meeting organizers are seeking ways to shake up the traditional meeting formats.  The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) recently held a conference called XDP that was an attempt at redesigning production and participation at a live event. 

Speakers need to be more interactive, as audiences of today appreciate being involved in the presentation.  Speech times are also shorter, so to really connect with people the speaker must have wicked good presentation skills.  Content has to be stronger, but content alone belongs in a white paper, not on stage.  The mix necessary to survive as a speaker will start to become clear in the next few years, and the trick for me (and my peers) is to be open to changing up topics and how we engage while on stage and off stage.

No matter what you do for a living, you need to be looking for what is happening in your industry and how the "new-new" will impact how you do your job. The world is changing, and I fear many will be left behind.  The baby boomers will most likely not be impacted too much, but those of us who are under age 55 need to be ready for some interesting times in the next 25 years.  

I have no answers, but I clearly see the questions.  I am optimistic that I will figure out a way to navigate the future, but I am worried that it will not be easy.  

Have A Great Day

thom singer 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Go Ahead, Judge Me - But Then Give Me A Chance


People judge others.  We all do it.  It is wired into our DNA.  Four thousand years ago if someone walked into your village you needed to be able to quickly decide if they were friend or foe, as a foe could kill you in your sleep.  Thus, we size people up within moments of meeting them, and it is hard to shift that opinion.

Yet we live in a complex world and it is a good idea to realize that when we make snap decisions they are not always right, and when we label and people too fast (in a negative way) we can limit the results that come from knowing another person.  When we dismiss the value of another, we might sell short our own opportunities.

All opportunities come from people, and thus we need each other. I try hard to let people show me more about who they are and what they do before I let a first impression become my permanent opinion.  By giving people a chance there is some risk that they can disappoint, and many decide it is not worth taking a chance.  I disagree, as there is also a chance they can become an amazing friend and supporter.  I want and need more friends and supporters, so I will always let someone prove they have value before determining they are not worthy.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Your Mindset Brings More Business

If you want more business and desire for each member of your team to contribute more to the growth of you company, then you need to care about the mindset of the individual and the organization. 

In my research for the new "Paradox of Potential" keynote and workshop, I came across the work of Stanford's Dr Carol Dweck (both her book, Mindset, and her decades of research).  Dweck's teaching on a fixed vs growth mindset have had a material impact not only in how it supports what I am finding from speaking to hundreds of people about their own potential, but also in my bottom line.

When you see the world via a fixed mindset you do not challenge yourself to learn as much.  You may not see a need to try new things. If you are certain that your talent is god-given, either think you have enough, or you do not.  This will put limits on your ability to achieve more results.  You will be fast to give up or not put in enough practice and preparation. Thus there is little chance you will achieve more than you expected.  We humans tend to rise and fall to the expectations we believe.

If you do not think hard work, study, and practice will have an impact, why do it?  Easier to blame your IQ, circumstances, or other situations as being out of your control.

But I want to be in control.  It makes me feel right to know that I can impact my own future. A growth mindset brings possibility.  It is through this view of my activities (and I am trying to have this view when I am conscious of the choice) that I am achieving a record breaking year in sales and audience interaction. Believing that I can learn to engage clients (both those who hire me and the conference participants) is making it happen.  This has allowed me to seek ways to change how I behave daily in every interaction I have.  There is a new hunger to accomplish more.  I seek to to get those who hear my message to take real action..

Potential does not equal results. We have to work at finding ways to improve our abilities in countless areas of our lives. Henry Ford famously said, "whether you think you can, or your think you can't - you are right".  Do you think your potential is limited?  Do you have a mindset that is holding you back?  Why let your competitor win because he believes he can?

Your mindset, plus the right actions, will bring more business. 

Happy to share my own stories about what is changing in my business with anyone who wants to reach out (by the way, those with fixed mindsets never reach out).

Have A Great Day

thom singer



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Congrats to the new "Certified Speaking Professionals" (CSP)

The National Speakers Association Certifies 43 Speaking Professionals

The National Speakers Association® (NSA), the leading organization for the professional speaking industry, is proud to announce 43 professional speakers have earned the CSP™ (Certified Speaking Professional) designation in 2017.

It has been three years since I earned my CSP, and I have always been proud to be part of this unique group of speakers.  Just over 800 professional speakers have this designation.

Established in 1980, the CSP is the speaking profession’s international measure of speaking experience and skill. 

The CSP designation is conferred by NSA on accomplished professional speakers who have earned it by meeting strict criteria. CSPs must document a proven track record of continuing speaking experience and expertise, as well as a commitment to ongoing education, outstanding client service, and ethical behavior. The 2017 class of CSPs will be honored during a ceremony on July 8 at Influence 2017, NSA’s annual convention in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

"The CSP™ (Certified Speaking Professional) designation is the highest earned specification that can be achieved by a member of the National Speakers Association or Global Speakers Federation Member Associations,” says 2016-2017 NSA President John B. Molidor, Ph.D., CSP. “Achieving the CSP designation is no easy task; professional speakers must show documented proficiency over a minimum of five years, must receive positive evaluations from their clients, and must be evaluated and affirmed through a peer review process. When meeting professionals hire a Certified Speaking Professional, they can be assured the speaker brings to the table a high-level of expertise and competency, superior speaking ability, and a proven track record of professionalism and success.”

Introducing the 2017 Class of Certified Speaking Professionals:

Christopher Bianez, CSP, Plano, Texas
Aram Boyd, CSP, Danville, Calif.
Guy Burns, CSP, Virginia Beach, Va.
Mary M. Byers, CSP, Chatham, Ill.
Max Stanley Chartrand, PhD, CSP, Casa Grande, Ariz.
David J. Chinsky, CSP, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Heather Christie, JD, CSP, Naples, Fla.
Dennis Cummins, DC, CSP, Miller Place, N.Y.
Sima Dahl, CSP, Chicago, Ill.
Dirk W. Eilert, CSP, Berlin, Germany
Lee Ellis, CSP, Atlanta, Ga.
Celynn Morin Erasmus, CSP, Johannesburg, South Africa
Steve Foran, CSP, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Sandro Forte, FPSA, CSP, London, England
Chris Fuller, CSP, Arlington, Texas
Chuck Gallagher, CSP, Greenville, S.C.
Merit Gest, CSP, Denver, Colo.
Charmaine Hammond, CSP, North Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada
Stacey L. Hanke, CSP, Chicago, Ill.
John M. Hannon, CSP, Sarasota, Fla.
Joel Hilchey, CSP, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Michelle E.W. Howison, CSP, Houston, Texas
Sydne Jacques, CSP, Salt Lake City, Utah
Bethanne Kronick, CSP, Camp Sherman, Ore.
Alesia Latson, CSP, Boston, Mass.
Rob Lilwall, CSP, Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Gary Lynn, PhD, CSP, Milburn, N.J.
Tim Marvel, CSP, Dallas, Texas
Marty Mercer, CSP, Atlanta, Ga.
Tod C. Novak, CSP, Newport Beach, Calif.
Gerry O’Brion, CSP, Denver, Colo.
Kathleen D. Pagana, PhD, CSP, Williamsport, Pa.
Matthew Pollard, CSP, Austin, Texas
Thomas Ray, CSP, Sarasota, Fla.
Philipp Riederle, CSP, Burgau, Germany
Dean Savoca, CSP, Denver, Colo.
Jeff Shore, CSP, Auburn, Calif.
Bill Stainton, CSP, Seattle, Wash.
Carolyn Strauss, CSP, Denver, Colo.
William “T” Thompson, JD, CSP, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Jerome Wade, CSP, Albuquerque, N.M.
Crystal Washington, CSP, Houston, Texas
Ken Weichert, CSP, Nashville, Tenn.

Congratulations to all.

Have A Great Day

thom singer