Make the Most of the NSA Influence 2019 Conference

By Jane Atkinson

The finest of the speaking industry will descend on Denver on July 27-30 for NSA Influence 2019, the annual conference of the National Speakers Association (NSA).

People frequently ask me if they should attend Influence, and I usually say “yes.” The event provides a unique opportunity to learn more about the business, network with peers, and discover emerging trends. 

Normally I would attend Influence, but this year I’ll be knee deep creating my new Wealthy Speaker School, so I won’t be able to break free. Plus, I intentionally try to not attend every industry event. As my husband says, “How can I miss you if you don’t go away?” I think that’s hilarious, so I love to give people the opportunity to miss me. I have no FOMO about it!

What I will miss is the opportunity to see several of my clients who will be making presentations this year, including the fabulous Orlando Bowen. I hope you’ll check out his session on the main stage and digest his story (so good!).

Nearly everything I learned about speaking from NSA emerged from one of their conferences. For those of you attending Influence for your first or second time, here are some recommendations on how to make the most of the event.

Choose Your Sessions 

General: The general sessions will have the entire audience in one place, so you will not want to miss one. The NSA has a very well-produced event. Those of you who covet the big stage will want to watch, learn, and digest.

Breakouts: At any given time, you’ll have a plethora of options when it comes to learning sessions (breakouts). I suggest you decide ahead of time what 1, 2 or 3 learning areas – i.e.: marketing, presentations, social media – to focus on and stick with those. If you bop from one session to the next without any strategy, you’ll find it hard to apply all of the knowledge.

Deep Dives: I’ve noticed that NSA has done some deep-dive learning sessions this year – fabulous! Take advantage of these based on the learning areas you’ve chosen.

Tune In and Remain Positive 

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Room Hopping: Having been a recovering room hopper for several years, I suggest that you fully commit to whatever session you decide to attend. Focus intently on the content the presenter has prepared.

Leave the green monster at home. One of my clients, Kindra Hall, delivered a main stage speech a couple of years ago. To this, my friend David Avrin tweeted, “I think we can all agree, NSA has a collective crush on Kindra Hall.” She really killed it. And while some were crushin’, others might have been wrestling with their green monster. That’s the one that has you wishing that was you on stage and feeling somehow “less than” because you’re not. 

Stop that. Resist the urge to compare whatever stage you are in your career to someone else’s. It’s not helpful. Everybody’s path is different. If someone else is in the right place at the right time and you’re not, just work harder. Don’t let the green monster drive your NSA experience.

Keep your criticism where it belongs. Take a listen to this recent episode of The Wealthy Speaker podcast where we talk very openly to Jason Hewlett about his NSA experience. After coming off the main stage, many “helpful” people shared how they thought his presentation should have been different. He was crushed. When talking to a speaker who’s just finished, resist the urge to share how much you know. Give them a minute to glow.

The best place to learn. Coffee and cocktail conversations in between or after sessions have always been the most meaningful to me. Take advantage of the line up for the buffet table to network. Rather than asking, “What do you speak about?” try for a more meaningful conversation, such as, “What motivated you to come to this event?” (obviously, you may need a bit of an introduction first, but asking good questions can lead to more rich conversations and learning).

Take action. You’ve paid for registration (and maybe a flight), taken a cab, bought meals, and had some other expenses. So, make sure that your experience leads to action. 

Download our 90-Day Action Planner so that you can walk thru all of the areas of your business and make the most of your learning.

  • Step 1. Take notes during each session but keep a running master list of “to do” items.
  • Step 2. When finished, take your master list and apply it to the various sections of the 90-Day Action Planner. When you focus on those initial 30-day activities right away, your list will turn your ideas into reality.

I’ll be thinking about you all in July, and I hope you have a fabulous conference!     

See you soon, Wealthy Speakers!