National Speakers Association, 1/9/16

 15 Mind-Blowing Success Secrets for Small Businesses: Let ‘er Rip !

 The goal of this talk was to give people simple tips to improve the operations of their businesses. 

• Encourage risk-taking

• Relationship building brings  long-term business

• Why your partner is critical to your success


Please watch the edited  (15-minute) video which covers:

– The Merhabian Myth

– Greeks vs. Romans

– Skip the Electronic Visual Aids

– The Let ‘er Rip Personality Matrix

– Be Slow to Hire and Fast to Fire

– Be an (informed) Risk Taker

– Improvise Like a Jazz Musician

– Importance of Partnerships

What I Learned at NSA

I am 76 years old and have been in the speaking business in one form or another for 50 years. 50! Years! Wow. What amazes me is how I continue to screw up the fundamentals, simple blocking and tackling. 


At first this was a laundry list of disjointed items. Melinda Henning suggested I have a main theme. Ha. What a concept. So I kept repeating, “Let ‘er Rip,” with sub-points of “Risk,” “Relationships,” and “Partnerships.”

Take Aways

My speech coach pointed out that it was unclear what I wanted people to do with my “15 Business Secrets.” Will they be more successful? More satisfied? More innovative? It was unclear.


My coach saw the video and suggested that I hammered on the audience that PowerPoint, Myers Briggs, and Work-Life Balance, among other things, were useless nonsense. I tend to be bombastic. I like being outrageous. Negative attention is better than no attention. He suggested I use a softer approach and let the audience discover (or not) these ideas for themselves. The soft approach is not my style. Maybe it should be.


OMG, how many times do I have to relearn this lesson? I was given 80 minutes, so I developed 90 minutes of material, including audience participation, then cut it down to barely fit into 80 minutes. Truism in life: for association speeches, the speaker is the hired help, not the main event. The main event is the group and their business. It is an article of faith that announcements go way over time, and people want more time to visit. A speaker’s time gets trimmed at the last minute…always. You’d think after 50 years, I would have learned that one. But, no! The last ten minutes were rushed. Much of the subtlety I had planned for the end went out the window. 

Lesson Learned

Whatever time you are given, prepare material for about 2/3 of that time. Your time will be cut and the audience may have issues to discuss. Give yourself breathing room. What if you finish early? Hey, who cares! They are eager to go to the bathroom, talk to friends, or go get a beer. 

You are not the main event.

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