As my term as NSA presi- dent ends, I’d like to do what all speakers do and recap my year with six points, a few PowerPoint® slides and a
poem. But I’m limited in time and space,
so I’ll simply share what I’ve learned.
1We all speak the same language. No matter where in the world I’ve
traveled, speakers speak the same language. Whether in Australia, France,
Canada, or here in the United States, we
inflate our fees, we say that we’re busier
than we are, and we mention our books
in the first 45 seconds of a conversation.
And yet, we love the privilege of the
platform. Speakers are the most positive
people in the world, and we make a big
difference to our audiences and clients.
ARE THE MOST
POSITIVE PEOPLE IN
THE WORLD, AND
WE MAKE A BIG
DIFFERENCE TO OUR
2Chapters are gold. The most accessible value that NSA offers is
our local chapters. Our members are
the foundation of the chapters that,
ironically, are often outnumbered
by guests. We must continue to find
ways to attract members, especially
our seasoned members, to maintain the core value of the chapters.
3Volunteers rock. In any given year, over 750 volunteers serve NSA.
They never expect to be paid, recognized or even thanked–although most
would sacrifice a limb to speak on the
main stage at our convention. Come to
think of it, if they did sacrifice a limb,
they’d have a great signature story.
Our volunteers rock, and I can’t even
begin to express my gratitude to them.
4Our staff rocks. You will be hard pressed to find a group
of harder working people than the
NSA staff. They are there to serve,
even though they have to deal with
the ever-talkative egos of speakers
on a daily basis. We must remember that they do this because they
care about NSA and its members.
5The value is there. I’ve belonged to a number of associations, clubs and
organizations. Nothing comes close to
the value I receive from NSA. When I
hear someone say they didn’t get value
from a particular offering, I think they’re
just not seeing it. NSA is not a silver
platter. It will not hand you a successful
career. Instead, NSA creates the
opportunity to succeed, but you must take
responsibility for using what is given.
6Our future hangs in the balance. We have emerged from a challenging economy. Some survived and some
didn’t. Our membership suffered over
the past 10 years. NSA, like most associations, must recapture its momentum
and continue to provide relevant, cutting-edge value to members. Otherwise,
we risk going down the same path as
the Beta Video Recorders Association.
I will be forever grateful for my
amazing NSA journey. The people,
the places, and the experiences were
extraordinary. And while my year as
president is nearly over, the journey
is not. I just get to take a new path,
and I look forward to seeing you, my
friends and colleagues, along the way.
Ron Culberson, MSW, CSP
National Speakers Association