Patricia Gondek, Pamela Patsavas and Rob Carsello offer expert advice on how to be a professional speaker.
The Illinois Chapter of the National Speakers Association (NSA – IL) hosted its quarterly Fabulous Friday event at Maggiano’s in Oak Brook on March 19. According to the NSA – IL website, this group is dedicated to advancing the art and value of those who speak professionally. They seek to create a professional and supportive environment where speakers can develop their speaking business, improve their skills, and network with peers who are interested in everyone’s mutual success.
The Fabulous Friday events are a fun, food filled way of furthering this mission by inviting various presenters to share their expertise with the group. However, this was definitely not an ordinary run of the mill speakers gathering due to the hilarious headliners from the Second City Communications team. According to Sarah Finch, producer and director of learning, “Second City Communications is the corporate arm of the Second City comedy theater” which is the well known Chicago based comedy troop that has produced such famous comedians as John Belushi, Chris Farley, and Tina Fey to name just a few. Finch goes on to say, “Second City Communications has nearly 20 years experience helping Fortune 1000 companies by using our expertise in improvisation and humor to create a fun, interactive, and unconventional approach to learning.”
As a member of the audience and participant in several of the interactive activities, this writer can vouch for that fact that it was definitely unconventional and quite funny. One such activity involved a group of volunteers selected from the audience who were asked to pose in random embarrassing positions while the rest of the audience shouted out impromptu titles. Another activity required the audience to carry on a conversation by using the last word that the previous person stated to start their next sentence which resulted in some pretty crazy dialog. Ultimately the group learned some invaluable lessons via the humorous approach of the Second City Communications team which should lead to more speaking and money making opportunities.
The final leg of the luncheon, which included a multi course Italian feast not well suited for people on a diet, involved an expert panel of speaker’s bureau representatives including Rob Carsello from Speaker Resource Center, Pamela Patsavas from Freeman, and Patricia Gondek. All three of these industry veterans offered sage advice on how speakers can increase their bookings and income by implementing a variety of strategies ranging from using social media, to joining industry associations, to networking, and above all being honest and professional. The attendees were indeed quite lucky to get the opportunity to learn from and mingle with such a prestigious panel.
All in all, the Fabulous Friday NSA – IL event certainly lived up to its name and everyone in attendance got their fill of delicious food and enlightening education washed down with a healthy dose of humor.