I have had a number of people asking me what I got from Dallas (other than real western cowboy boots for my youngest son!)….and if you aren’t connected to me on social media, then you are probably wondering what on earth Dallas has to do with anything!

Dallas hosted the annual National Speakers Association of America conference, Influence. As one of the largest conferences for Professional Speakers in the world, and with Texas firmly on my bucket list I decided that it should definitely be on my professional development calendar for this year.

It has taken a while to start to sift through the notes and the information, but most of all the thinking. Because it is in the relationships and connections made and the ideas ignited that the real value comes when you commit to travelling to any conference. And it is here I want to start.

With what I noticed, that I want to create more of in our world.

1. It Is Heart Felt, To The Core

Every single speaker, every single trainer, every single consultant in that room had one unifying trait; immense gratitude to have the opportunity they have to make an impact on the world around them. To a collective level I have not experienced before.

With a diverse style that I am sure captured every speaking and presenting style around the world, unique backgrounds, and no single one way of having got to the stages they are now on, every person I heard from, met, and spoke with, expressed a heartfelt love for what they do.

They call it the privilege of the platform and it played out in every aspect of the experience of those of us who committed to going to Dallas.

2. Success is no Accident

Whilst many in the room were emerging speakers, or exploring if speaking was a career for them, those who had already moved past that decision had made very deliberate moves to craft their career and hone their skills.

Clear on the challenges they solve, the thinking they ignite, they are also crystal clear on who they serve and where they work best. They quite frankly, to bring some Australian-ism into it, know their sh^t – first. Then they craft the skill of speaking. Most speakers had stories of falling into speaking as a career, or a major part of it.

And every single one of them spoke of a moment in time when they realised they needed to invest. When they sought training, mentors, and study which would elevate their success and ability to capture and engage their audience. And without exception, even those who commanded breathtaking responses from their audience, they continue to work with mentors and coaches who can take their performance to the next level.

3. The Difference Maker

I became curious as to what made the difference between the great speaker who could secure the main stage, and the great speaker financially successful but still in hustle mode in real terms – who wasn’t commanding the same attention. And it came down to this.

The difference between a great speaker and a seriously successful speaker was one thing – they had strategy driving their decisions. A clear vision of where they were going – because there is no ‘end-game’- and how to leverage and elevate success every step of the way. They had an eco-system supporting them – from assessments, to programs, to services, to retail products – and every variation in between to leverage the experience and the memory of them.

They know exactly where they are going, what they want to be known for, and continually make decisions and invest in resources and development to get them to the next step. They are constantly curious about their audience and their response, and have an attitude of continuous improvement that wasn’t something they spoke about, but something which simply exists as part of who they are.

But What I Really Take Away Is This

Is that this is not just about speaking. It is about sustainable success in any of our endeavours. It is about surrounding yourself with people who are where you want to go. It is about making sure you are never the smartest person in the room.

And remembering that no matter what we want to do, we must:

1. Be crystal clear about what we do, the challenges we solve, and where we work best

2. Always love the opportunity we get to do what we do AND make a difference to the people we do it with

3. Seek out the mentors, coaches, and study which can elevate our success and skills to the next level, no matter the field

4. Play the long game; have a strategy that extends past this year and the next, that focuses on impact and outcome

5. Stop being the smartest person in the room and immerse ourselves in the global learning space that exists

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