In their book Living in Balance, Joel and Michelle Levey describe what our NSA community has come to mean to me:
“Somewhere there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throat. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins with strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace we can be free.”
Earlier this year the NSA Board of Directors added the word “community” to our mission statement to represent the influence of the spirit of our founder, Cavett Robert, on our organization. When we discussed what differentiates NSA from most other professional organizations, the concept of “community” seemed foremost.
Another emphasis in the organization in the past several years has been on developing an international community, and we have seen the result in the growth of the International Federation of Professional Speakers as well as in new speaker’s associations springing up throughout the world.
Nowhere, however, has this emphasis on Community and Professional Relationships come alive to me in such practical, pragmatic, caring ways as it has in the last few months of my career.
In early spring I was asked to speak to a large conference in South Africa. Never having been to Africa before, I decided to use our NSA network. I emailed a large group of members and asked if any of them had ever spoken in South Africa. The response was immediate and amazing and much of it from members I’ve never even met!
I had over a dozen responses, ranging from detailed accounts of what they had experienced, cultural cautions, and suggestions of places to visit to a number of offers to talk more by phone. As a result, I became much more comfortable about what to expect both from the audiences and then on our extended visit in that country.
Next, I went to my NSA Directory and discovered we had three members living in Johannesburg, one of the cities where I would be speaking. I emailed them and within hours received amazingly helpful information. One person wrote several pages of cultural information and advice and offered to introduce me to all the local bureaus and other federation members, which he did.
Another member invited us to meet him for lunch, attended my session, and even recommended me to the General Manager of a private game park where he had worked. As a result, I was asked to speak to the staff at the park in exchange for a huge reduction in rates for the three days my daughter and I were there. At one point, he even offered his assistant for some extra help I needed!
Just after I returned from South Africa, I received an email asking me to speak in China just three weeks later. Again, I went to our NSA network, asking how to get a visa quickly. Within 15 minutes I had three replies with specific directions and even phone numbers one person had taken time to get from the internet. Others offered advice, phone sharing, encouragement, and prayers for safety.
Next, I went to the NSA Directory and found we had two members living in Hong Kong, the city where I would land. I emailed them, and they immediately responded, inviting me for lunch and a tour of the island as well as suggestions for my presentation to Shangri-La Hotels.
The end result from the sharing within our international community of professional speakers has been a sense of security and comfort level with the new cultures before I arrived, successful presentations in several different venues to diverse groups of people on two separate continents, vacation experiences of a lifetime, and wonderful new friends all over the world.
An amazing international community is there for each of us no matter where we are speaking– we only have to take the time to tap into it!
© Barbara Glanz Communications. All Rights Reserved.
Barbara Glanz Biography
A member of the prestigious Speaker Hall of Fame and one of fewer than 700 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide, Barbara Glanz, CSP, CPAE, works with organizations to improve morale, retention and service and with people who want to rediscover the joy in their work and in their lives. She is the first speaker on record to have spoken on all 7 continents and in all 50 states. Known as "the business speaker who speaks to your heart as well as to your head," Barbara is the author of twelve books including The Simple Truths of Service Inspired by Johnny the Bagger®, CARE Packages for the Workplace, and 180 Ways to Spread Contagious Enthusiasm™. Voted "best keynote presenter you have heard or used" by Meetings & Conventions Magazine, Barbara uses her Master’s degree in Adult Learning to design programs that cause behavior change. She lives and breathes her personal motto: “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm™” and can be reached at email@example.com and www.barbaraglanz.com.