Tag Archives: speakers

Swap Ideas Day Flyer-05

Today, I’m thinking about an upcoming event. With some ideas percolating in my cranium and others made visible here in print, reaching out to you seems like a worthwhile pursuit, especially since this event is an idea swap.

A Thinking Forward event

In the U.S., there seems to be a day dedicated to just about everything, including swapping ideas. To celebrate National Swap Ideas Day on September 10, Thinking Forward, a speaker’s troupe that I co-founded, has assembled a very impressive group of innovators, all in the early stage of their careers. They will share their ideas on what is needed to transform this world into a richer, more vibrant place and convey how they have put these ideas to work in a specific area of interest in their communities. The talks are about the protection, growth, and renewal of land and people; an economy where community is wealth; zero waste; a multidisciplinary approach to connecting people to places; and solar technology.

As a balance to these serious topics, a group of young performers will dance Reggaeton from Puerto Rico, providing a look at how owning one’s culture through the arts can enrich one’s life and community.

I know that our winning cast of presenters will shine and illuminate our knowledge of subjects in which they care deeply.

My role

Up to now, my role has involved finding a venue; assembling the speakers; collecting, drafting, and proofing content for promotional pieces; adding to our distribution list; and spreading the word via social media.

I still have another important task before me—develop a 10-minute idea swap activity that gets everyone thinking, participating, and sharing. The room will likely be set up with small groups at tables, making interaction easy. Imagine that you are sitting at one of the tables, along with several friends and colleagues. You are listening to the instructions for the idea swap activity.


Here are my preliminary ideas for an idea swap activity. Read More


One of the joys of participating with several colleagues in a speaking troupe we call Thinking Forward involves creating thoughtful talks for our audience. Our latest theme, Transforming Your Community for Good, got me thinking…

What do communities look like?

Communities of people come in lots of different sizes and shapes. They may be specialized and similar or diverse and different in terms of age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, cultural background, residence, level of education, economic status, type of employment, or some other demographic.

Communities likely have insiders and outsiders. They are exclusive in some way. Members may live in the same neighborhood. They may work for the same employer. Maybe they have the same professional degrees or licenses. Communities can have different structures. They can be hierarchical, where members fall somewhere between the top and the bottom. They can be flat, where all members have an equal voice. In some communities, you already belong. If you graduated from a specific college, you are in the community of alumni. In others, you have to join. For example, membership in an association of alumni likely makes you a more exclusive member of the community, with additional perks.

Though communities look different, members share a bond; there is common thread; there is a tie that unites. And all communities—as different as they are—are part of a global community of human beings who breathe the same air, walk the same earth, and touch one another, someway, somehow. Read More

Through my involvement with the New York National Speakers Association (NYNSA), I meet in person with three colleagues every other Monday morning. We each have a business that includes professional speaking and share our progress in securing speaking engagements. At each meeting, we commit to specific action items for the upcoming weeks and report on previous commitments. There’s a lot to be said for making others and yourself accountable!

Last week, when reporting our progress, the question was posed, “Did you get paid for that engagement?” Of course, as professionals who are in business to turn a profit, the preferred answer is, “Yes.” Yet we all agreed that doing some pro bono work is part of the cost of doing business, and we can find ways to make that work worthwhile. We may, for example, speak at national conference sessions or at local business meetings in which we might or might not receive an honorarium. When we do for others—in our case, sharing our expertise as professional speakers or presenters—we want to benefit. Dollars, of course, are one way.

Yet there are other ways we can benefit. We can be introduced to an audience of potential clients. We can be considered for future engagements that have budgets. We can use the opportunity to introduce our products and services. We can request referrals. And public relations both before and after the event can widen our exposure to new audiences.

In preparation for an upcoming speaking engagement with the Rochester Professional Consultants Network (RPCN), program coordinator Brian Kane created and posted a video featuring co-presenter Ruth Thaler-Carter and me. This promotional tool has opened my mind to the many forms of payment that are available.

The next time you do pro bono work, request payment that is meaningful to you. And when you ask others to do pro bono work for you or your organization, find ways to repay them for their generosity. We need to remember that giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin.