A New Forum Comes to Town
Member-NSA Minnesota Chapter
It was late at night last November and Jerome Mayne, a speaker based in Minnesota, was doing what a lot of us do. He was sitting in his office, by himself, wondering whether he was doing "the business" right. Even though he had developed his speaking business for over five years, he still felt like, in some areas, he was operating blind. Too many questions were answered by assumption instead of fact. Were his fees appropriate for his service? How could he get two engagements out of one? How could he expand his market? He made a few phone calls and sent a few emails, but didn't hear back right away. Jerome shared the same frustration that many professional speakers face, he was alone. He worked alone in his office. Traveled alone. And spoke alone.
As a member of NSA he got a lot out of meetings and seminars, but there wasn't always enough time to talk with other speakers. Sometimes it was impossible to attend meetings since he was often traveling to speak. He also felt like there were so many speakers to connect with from around the country or across the ocean; not just in his local chapter. He thought, "If there were only a way to communicate with all of them, I'd certainly get answers and ideas." And he might not feel so alone in this business.
The next day he went to work on his computer and created Speakers Outpost (www.speakersoutpost.com), an online discussion forum for the speaking industry. He started contacting speakers, asking them to join. He certainly didn't expect the response he got. Launched in early December, the forum already has over 150 members from the United States, Canada, England, Germany, Spain, Israel, Australia, South Africa, and Singapore. The forum is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association, so members include those from within NSA, as well as speakers and service providers from elsewhere in the industry.
The concept is simple. Membership is free, and after registering, members can post questions or reply to other speakers' posts. Comments can include any subject from negotiating fees, to marketing tips, speaking internationally, client management, even attractions not to miss when speaking in a new city. The feel is informal and friendly, and as such, self-promotion is discouraged.
Part of the success of Speakers Outpost is the variety of members. You not only connect with new and experienced speakers, but service providers, speakers' bureaus, publishers, and clients. Early response to Speakers Outpost has been very positive.
"Thanks for putting a Web 2.0 site into play for Professional Speakers. As an NSA professional member well past his 10 year pin I have to say that the site embodies the vision of the wonderful NSA members it has been my honor to meet." Jerry Fletcher, NSA Member, Portland, Oregon
The goal of all speakers is to grow their business and create an impact on the audiences they serve. What better way to do that than to connect with hundreds of fellow speakers from around the world and share-or debate-the issues that affect us all. You are encouraged to go to Speakers Outpost and share your wisdom, post a question, and help the speaking industry stay connected. Who knows? Someone from across the ocean may have an idea that gets you booked right next door.