“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
These words from Proverbs 29:18 are powerful and have important meaning to speakers who desire to build a successful speaking career. Some speakers talk on any topic and position themselves as all things to all audiences. The secret to real success is to develop a focused vision of what type of speaker one wishes to become and on what subject area one wishes to concentrate. Yes, there are exceptions to this concept. Some speakers can make a living with a scattered focus, but they rarely ever become outstanding in their profession. Focus brings clarity. Clarity makes your messages powerful. Powerful messages can build your business.

Determine Your Vision. Ask yourself these three questions: Who am I today? Who do I want to become? What must I do to fill the gap? By answering these important questions, you dramatically improve your ability to achieve whatever destination you choose. You will have determined your true calling and a vision for your career and life. Defining vision brings focus and clarity to our messages.

It’s Time For Action. It’s not sufficient to just develop a vision. We must act on that vision. And, all our actions should drive us closer to our vision. If we fill our time with meaningless activities that cannot move our speaking career forward, we will never achieve our vision. The rule to follow is: “If it doesn’t support the vision, it should not be done.”

Commit To Excellence. A half-hearted effort pays very little dividends. We must follow the advice of Vince Lombardi, legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, who said, “The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” The stronger our commitment to excellence in marketing, platform skills, and topic development, the stronger we position ourselves. Excellence in every facet of our speaking business will place us among the elite in NSA.

Learn To Solve Problems. Use every setback as a lesson learned. Break it down into its smallest component and learn how to analyze the bits of information gathered. Reflect adjust and introduce new action. Test new ideas until you discover the best ones to use. Constantly adjust and correct your course and soon your problems will turn into opportunities.

Use The Baldrige Award Standards. The Malcolm Baldrige quality award is given annually to outstanding businesses in the United States. A rigid criterion of excellence in business practices serves as the guideline for the Baldrige winners. The seven areas of excellence are: leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resource development, process management and business results. How does your business rate in these areas? If NSA awarded the Baldrige, could you even qualify?

Use Teamwork. Your team includes bureaus, meeting planners, printers, designers, researchers, clients, staff and anyone else you meet in the course of doing business. Embrace a cooperative relationship with everyone you interact with on a daily basis. Develop a clear set of ground rules by which you will run your business. Cooperation gets results. High egos and an uncooperative spirit produce chaos and failure. Which do you want?

Develop A Passion. We must have a passion to do our job right. Our audiences are too important and sophisticated to receive anything less than a passionate message. It doesn’t matter if your message is 100% humor or 100% content. There must be a passion driving your delivery. Commit to the process of building your career. Process is a long-term commitment that demands unrelenting attention. We must love what we do. If we don’t, you will shortchange your audiences and more importantly, you will shortchange yourself.

Where there is no vision, the people perish—powerful words for powerful people. However, they are meaningless words to those who are blind to the opportunities of life. Whey type of person are you?

Well, how did you do? How many of the seven steps do you have firmly ingrained in your business strategy? If things are not going as well as you’d like them to be, perhaps you are simply not working the right processes. Start with these steps and add your own. The business of professional speaking requires lots of hard work and an unwavering commitment to succeed. But the payoff is a wonderfully appreciative audience and the satisfaction that perhaps, in some small way, you have helped others bring more success into their life. What a way to make a living!

© 2007 Billy Arcement, MEd.

Author's Bio: 

Billy Arcement, MEd., turns knowledge into results. He is a former teacher, coach, school board member and senior corporate manager. Today, he uses his teaching, coaching and corporate experiences to create insightful consultation and training sessions.

His work with business leaders creates a culture of teamwork, productivity and profits. His message to school boards, administrators and teachers is simple and candid—always keep children first.

By mixing a generous blend of his signature “Cajun” stories, inspirational content rich messages with common sense advice, Billy brings enlightenment and enthusiasm to every event.
No matter the role—keynote presenter, in-service workshop leader, meeting facilitator, executive coach or leadership consultant, clients receive a highly customized approach that turns problems into opportunities.

Billy writes nationally published articles on leadership, education issues and success principles. His book, "Searching for Success," is now published in four foreign countries. His newest book, "The Journey--Powerful Strategies for Discovering Your Personal, Professional and Spiritual Destiny," is due out in October 2007. His ezines, News from the Swamp (leadership and success strategies) and Children First (parenting skills) reach a world-wide audience each month.

Learn more about his services and subscribe to his newsletters on his website, http://www.SearchingForSuccess.com

Need someone to speak to your association meeting, company training session or business meeting, his many satisfied clients would simply recommend to you—do it!