By David Anthony, NSA Michigan Candidate & MSA Participant, President of Powertrain Improvement

NEWS FLASH: NSA Michigan transformed the meaning of its acronym, for a day, from “The National Speakers Association” to “The National Storytellers Association,” as both Mark Scharenbroich, CSP, CPAE, and Tami Evans, CSP, delivered their distilled wisdom from decades of experience in the art of the “Once upon a time….”

In an intimate and interactive setting on Saturday, October 12, 2019, in Ann Arbor, an audience of veteran and novice speakers alike were both entertained and educated through a multitude of learning curve-shortening ideas to better themselves as skillful speakers through storytelling and more.

Here are a few of my key takeaways:

  • Don’t be tethered to your slides without the knowledge that at any given moment they won’t work.
  • Connecting with your audience is as easy as saying, “Nice bike” (a story from Mark’s book of the same name).
  • The audience wants you to be someone they can love, aka “The puppy” (from one of Tami’s stories).
  • Infusing humor into your stories is a major key to successful public speaking.
  • Speaking is about writing great stories relevant to the audience and then delivering them in an engaging way.
  • Interactivity in storytelling helps the audience bond with you and remain attentive.
  • Using your own stories is usually more impactful than telling someone else’s.
  • Coming up with new ways of saying the same story or message is important to not remain stale.
  • It takes commitment to become a professional public speaker. So saying “No” to others, who are demanding of your time, in order to make room for “Yes” in your life, is as easy as 1) pausing; 2) giving them the finger (that’s the one-minute finger); and 3) telling them, “I’ll get back to you on that” (taken from recovering people pleaser Tami).
  • A high-quality demo video is vital to show how you connect with an audience.
  • Mark stated that as much as 90% of his speaking engagements are referrals. Success is about building relationships as well as being a good public speaker through storytelling.

In between the two brilliant speakers was a creatively presented panel discussion, titled “Love It or Leave It,” led by our current president Mimi Brown. The panel consisted of three highly experienced veterans in their niches who offered myriad helpful tips and tricks on how to market ourselves to the meeting/event planning and speakers’ bureau industry. Marketing is an often-talked-about topic within the training seminars of the NSA.

The expert panel consisted of two meeting/event planning professionals, Kim Corcoran and Alanna Klomp; and NSA-Michigan’s own Nancy Vogl, owner of Nancy Vogl Speakers Bureau, who has been in the industry for over 35 years!

I believe the Internet is a wonderful tool to gather info on any topic, but it pales in comparison to experiencing any NSA training in person. So, the next time the NSA says they’re offering a “Master Class” in anything, if possible, DON’T MISS IT!

About the Author

David Anthony helps both individuals and organizations shatter paradigms that keep us stuck. As a mental health awareness advocate and inspirational speaker, his ideas can help shorten the learning curve for anyone open to overcoming the negative effects of an environment filled with unhealthy mental awareness and guide us to live happier, more stress-free lives.