Thursday, November 7, 2013

Head OF NSA Speaks Out – No, Not That NSA

Interview With Stacy Tetschner, CAE, FASAE
CEO Of National Speakers Association

1. As the CEO of the National Speakers Association, what do you believe is impacting or influencing the speak-for-pay industry? There are a variety of factors that are influencing the speaking profession today.  Since the last recession, we have seen a decline in the overall number of meetings and when there are less meetings, there are also less opportunities for speakers.  Within that decline we also saw less focus placed on paid speakers in an effort to cut expenses.  As meetings return, they are bringing back paid speakers, however, not at the levels we had seen before.  Many times meeting planners are opting for one paid speakers vs. three and they are filling in with industry speakers and/or vendor partners who are willing to speak for no fee.  The challenge for our profession is to both show the value in what a paid professional speaker can bring/add to a meeting and to help speakers identify additional ways to earn revenue from speaking beyond the traditional fee for a speech.

2. How has NSA managed to grow into the nationwide leading speakers educational and networking group, now celebrating its 40th year? NSA was blessed to have a founder with incredible vision to bring a profession together.  He was followed by amazing leaders who continued to focus and refine that vision for the last forty years.  Today we are very clear on what we want to be best in the world at doing and that is providing the best education/learning opportunities and creating professional community for those who speak for a fee.  With that focus it becomes easy to expend our resources on achieving those goals and remaining relevant to today’s speaking professional.

3. What advice do you have for authors exploring how to turn their words into profitable speaking gigs? First and foremost, know your material to the point of becoming an expert in your specific area; and make sure that what you have to say is what those who hire speakers are willing to pay for.  You can be the world’s best story teller, but if there is not a point or take away value to your story for your target audience, then you likely won’t get hired.  Identify the audience that is right for your message and also identify which audience is not right for your message.  Not every paying speaking opportunity is the right one and nothing is worse than being in front of the wrong audience with the wrong message.  Once you have everything in place, take every opportunity you can to speak in order to hone your message and your craft.  If you want to get paid to speak then speak more often to become the best at your message.  Word of mouth is the best marketing in this business – and those that plan meetings and hire speakers do talk about the good and the bad.

4. What trends are you seeing today in the public speaking world? We are seeing speakers having to become more diverse in their offerings around their area of expertise.  There are not as many keynoting opportunities as there used to be and as a result keynoting has become one of many different speaking opportunities that include training, consulting facilitating among others.  Additionally, the more successful speakers are finding ways to engage the audience in their presentations so it is not so much a talking head presentation, there is also audience interaction and engagement where so of the learning includes from other audience members as well as from the speaker.

5. What does NSA do for those looking to further their speaking career? Within the vision I mentioned earlier, NSA helps speakers to speak more, speak better and make more money.  For those who are interested in getting into the business we tailor that message to a curriculum within our Academy for Professional Speaking, a monthly subscription and education program.  For those who are already speaking and ramping up their business we take those same three points and tailor the education to where you are within your career.  And the beauty of it all is that we come together as a professional community and learn not just from the sessions, but also from each other.  The road becomes a lot less lonely when you can benchmark yourself with your peers as well as learn and share among colleagues.  That is why we are here.

6. What are the traits you most admire about the best speakers out there? The passion that speakers bring to what they do continues to inspire me.  Speakers are so passionate about sharing their message with the world and affecting change in a positive way they have literally become the change agents and hope merchants of the world.  The messages they deliver motivate, teach, inspire, and create change every day.

7. What speaking topics or industries are more lucrative/popular these days? I am not sure there is one topic or industry that is more popular than others.  What most audiences and those hiring speakers are demanding is relevance.  Ensure your message is relevant to the audience you are in front of.  And be sure that the message incorporates the fact that there are five generations that are likely included in that audience.  How is your message relevant to each one?

8. How is NSA helping its member speakers to adopt the use of technology and speak via the Internet? We continue to offer a wide array of education around the different technologies that are integrating into the speaking business.  There are Webinars, Teleseminars, Videos, and many others.  NSA has recently signed on as a partner with LightspeedVT to deliver some of our educational components on desktops and smart devices.  This new technology is allowing NSA to not only deliver education in a new way, but also to model this new technology and help our members shorten their learning curve as they choose their virtual delivery platforms.

For more information, please consult:

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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