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Are you influential in your industry?

By July 24, 2023No Comments

Imagine 1100+ professional speakers descending on the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando for their annual conference called Influence. Some of us have been attending for 20+ years; think of it more like a family reunion — we don’t go for the content, we go for the connections.

There are so many members that are helpful, kind, generous, and selfless. My dearest friendships have formed here. But, alongside them are also people with big egos, and a lot of brag-a-saurus-types — that’s unfortunate, but I bet your industury has that too. (I heard more than one person utter “I am a big deal.” and “I think you should do this.” — ugh, can you hear my eyes rolling?)

Admittedly, I love the convenience of seeing people I love in one place, but it is exhausting with laughter late into the night, a lot of champagne, and all the hugs you could ever want in one weekend! As an extreme extrovert, you might be surprised to learn my fave conversations are the 1:1s.

Breakfast with one of the smartest women I know; she consults for the events industry and works with the world-renowned firm Velvet Chainsaw. They help organizers transform and grow their major conferences. Sarah has guided my career and influenced many of my strategic decisions in my business. Time with her is pure gold.

A surprise conversation with Grant, owner of The Speaker Lab, which assists people in getting booked and paid to speak; we have been friends for 15+ years, and I have watched him influence careers for speakers that have a massive impact in the world. He’s so smart and so authentic.

In a working session with my director, Mike Ganino, working together to elevate my new luxury mindset keynote (I can’t wait to share that with you!) — he had so many insights for me. He works with thought leaders who have commercialized their intellectual property and want to elevate the experiences for their audiences in more powerful and deeper ways. He’s exceptional at his craft.

As you can imagine, my experience at Influence — the good AND the bad — made me reflect on my involvement in NSA so far, and reassess what it looks like going forward. But it also made me reflect on the word ‘influence’ and how we can all be more influential in our industry and our organizations (and how that is supported by our research into the Luxury Mindset!). 

Most brand owners, industry associations, and organizations want to know one thing: how can we get the right client’s (or member’s) attention for our service or product?

But, when trying to figure that out, they often focus on how their audience FEELS about their organization or association — rather than how they THINK about their association or organization.

We all know from our luxury mindset research it is far more about experiences than things. We can all agree, thoughts create feelings.

So when it comes to how your audiences or members think about your association or organization, not everyone thinks about it the same way. Understanding what influences them and how best to market to each of them is key for any brand’s ability to attract and retain the right client or members’ attention.

Influencing Through Service

For more than 25 years, I’ve served the National Speakers Association, involvement in our industry was important to me, and maybe it is for you too.

I can hear you saying, “but Neen, I am too busy,” or “Neen, I travel too much,” or “Neen, I am too overwhelmed.” I get that. Same, same. Yet I still think there is a way you can be involved to influence direction and conversations at any organization or association for the greater good.

I have served in many ways, and perhaps these ideas will inspire you to decide how you can be more influential in your organization:

Here are some actions I’ve taken:

  • Join – pay the membership fee to show support and leverage the resources for your CLE credits or education. You are worth it.

  • Attend – register for your annual conference (even if you don’t like the content, the connections will be worth your time), and it’s important to keep investing in yourself.

  • Serve – join your local chapter or National board or committees. I have held every leadership role over the years; I have also been a meet-and-greeter, room monitor, chair-mover, first-timer buddy, timekeeper, treasurer, secretary, and program chair, and I helped create the National Board 3-Year Strategic plan (that was many, many years ago) and have organized three National conference events and many Foundation fund-raiser events — how could you serve?

  • Speak   I’ve lost count of the free presentations given in-person and online at local chapters and national events. How can you share your expertise in your industry?

  • Mentor  I’ve also lost count of the free calls, Zoom sessions, and 1:1 face-to-face meetings to help others, just like others have helped me (looking at you, Sarah!). Who could you mentor this year?

  • Recruit  Bought new members into NSA because they wanted to develop their speaking business. Every organization benefits from new talent and members — can you be a recruiter for your organization?

  • Promote  shared across social media, publications, and in conversations — can you share your experience about your organization with others?

  • Refer  Regularly made business connections for people and do it without expectation. I have put millions of dollars into the pockets of other speakers and partners, just like others have referred me to their clients to help grow my business. What is one referral you could make today?

  • Share  Shared all systems, strategies, templates, handouts, intellectual property, books, and resources and continue to do that. You might be asking, “But wait, aren’t they competitors, Neen?” — nope, there is only one Neen James, and they will never deliver or be like me or you. What could you share?

  • Invest  it has been a privilege to help fund speaker’s registration for events, conference attendance, hotel bills, dinners, flights, and memberships — you might also be in a position to take care of the costs for someone else and know it’s another easy way to serve in your industry and in the world.

  • Evaluate  when you have done all you can do, and invested all you can, you can evaluate if you want to continue doing that — or if it is time to say goodbye because you want to invest your time and attention somewhere else, and that is also a great decision.

    Service is one of the key values in our team and I am fortunate to stand in service of every audience I meet and every client I am fortunate to work with.

    You can influence in a big way by choosing to serve! 

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