putting a fine point on the speaking industry
We’re Better Than That . . .
While this article is coming out in De- cember, it is being written two weeks before Election Day. Over recent months,
we have heard some of the most challenging conversations, accusations and
exchanges in the history of our country.
What’s worse is that many who have
seen these exchanges develop have
taken permission to bring that same
level of negativity into their own
conversations, blogs and social media
posts. As the CEO of the largest professional speaking association, I know how
important the words we choose are and
it is disheartening to think our country
has resorted to this level of conversation.
Now that the election is over, how
do we recover and return to civility in
helping our fellow people strive to be
better than this? The clearest path I see
is by changing—and upgrading—the
conversation. There is no group better
poised for that challenge than National
Speakers Association. As you prepare
to kick off 2017, I would like to see us
lead this charge.
The first step is to start in our own
house. Commit to re-examining your
own messaging. Is it designed to help,
or does it create further challenges?
How can your words serve as a model
for others so they can better communicate, motivate and make change?
Next, talk to people—not about
people. This is my personal mantra—
ask any staff member at NSA headquarters. I realize that conflict among people
will always exist, much of it can be alleviated just by having a conversation.
That means picking up a phone, scheduling a zoom call or meeting over coffee. It doesn’t mean sending an e-mail, a
text, or posting on your social media
page. All too often, these messages can
be misinterpreted and lead to the initial
breakdown in communication.
And, finally, when you see it, call it
out. When we observe negative conversations materializing within our NSA
community social media sites, the NSA
staff team does its best to contact the
original poster of the conversation to
better understand if they truly meant to
take the conversation down the path it
had taken. Then, we determine how we
can resolve the situation and bring the
conversation back to a positive place.
Don’t get me wrong—I welcome criti-
cism because it can be a wonderful tool
that helps us stay relevant and continu-
ally upgrade. Here, I am talking about
the conversations that are designed to
simply cause challenges or vent without
a purpose. Twice I have talked to indi-
viduals who made straight out negative
and unhelpful posts, and stated they
simply wanted to “stir the pot.” After
our conversation, they agreed the post
was not helpful, and simply picking up
the phone and talking to me or the
other individual about it first may have
been a more positive step.
As we round out 2016 and some of
the most negative conversations we
have seen and heard in our lifetime, I
challenge each and every NSA member
to work to upgrade the conversation in
2017. Let’s use the collective gifts and
talents of those in this association and
be the change we would like to see.
Words matter! I am so appreciative to
be a leader in this professional speaking
community where the greatest purveyors of words use them to motivate
change every day. I look forward to seeing how our profession can be part of
the solution and help the rest of the
world see that we are all better than
what we experienced recently.
CAE, FASAE, CEO
National Speakers Association