January 30, 2023
7 min read
Are you a professional speaker or an aspiring one? Would you like to get paid for speaking (or get paid more)?
The National Speakers Association helps professional speakers become better speakers and build successful businesses. It’s a membership organization for anyone who has an audience. That includes trainers, educators, consultants, and authors.
Continue reading to learn about the National Speakers Association’s mission and values, its eight competencies, membership benefits, benefits available to nonmembers, events, and more.
The National Speakers Association’s mission is to “empower professional speakers to thrive and influence.” They seek to “elevate excellence, share expertise, and challenge one another to improve.” Founded in 1973 by Cavett Robert, NSA now has thousands of members all over the world.
The National Speakers Association is mostly about professional development (resources and education) and community. They seek to advance the skills, integrity, and value of its members and the speaking profession itself.
The NSA Foundation is a philanthropic organization that helps NSA members and the public. It includes a disaster relief program, a benefit fund for professional speakers, scholarships, and grants.
The National Speakers Association is a member of the Global Speakers Federation, a worldwide association of organizations that support speakers. Member organizations learn from each other and share resources in a collaborative effort to expand the speaking profession all over the world.
The National Speakers Association highlights five organizational values.
Abundant generosity—NSA members lift each other up, sharing what they know and cheering each other on. They’re competitors who actually help each other succeed. They also encourage philanthropic giving through the NSA Foundation. They call this culture of abundant generosity “The Spirit of Cavett”—a reference to NSA’s founder Cavett Robert.
Elevating excellence—NSA leverages expertise to cultivate expertise, and they dedicate themselves to continual improvement.
Intentional language—NSA recognizes the power of words and encourages people to find their own voice and communicate with deliberateness and respect.
Honorable innovation—While NSA values its heritage, it also looks forward to the future and strives to stay relevant. They foster a spirit of integrity and ethics among its leadership and membership.
Uplifting humanity—NSA wants to see everyone win. That includes audience members and the community at large.
Since 1986, the National Speakers Association has shaped its programs around eight professional competencies, building on their original four competencies and NSA’s Platform Mastery.
These eight competencies provide insight into what it takes to succeed as a professional speaker.
Environmental trends and impact—This competency is about staying relevant to what’s going on in the world and in the professional speaking industry. It involves an understanding of trends and best practices.
Professionalism—A speaker can’t truly be a professional speaker without establishing and maintaining a reputation for integrity and performance.
Content development—This competency is about curating valid content and creating original content based on sound research, critical thinking, and fair-mindedness.
Product development—Successful professional speakers convert content into products they can sell. This might include books, videos, courses, or podcasts.
Platform mechanics—This competency involves the know-how it takes to use a stage effectively. It’s all about setting up the right environment to deliver a message well.
Performance mastery—This is about the message and its delivery. Speakers with performance mastery effectively bring together elements such as word choice, timing, and body language. They’re able to engage the audience, make them think and feel, teach them something new, and motivate them to act. (The team here at Yoodli values this competency, as well. Yoodli’s AI-powered speech coach can help NSA members and everyone else practice and improve these public speaking elements for free. Here’s a screenshot that shows a bit of what the platform does.)
Business development—To build a successful professional speaking business, you must have more than excellent speaking skills. This competency is about business-building skills such as branding, marketing, sales, and contract negotiation.
Strategic and operational business management—Building on the previous competency, this is about business strategy and understanding corporate aspects such as risk mitigation, due diligence, finances, laws, and regulations.
Even if you’re not a member of the National Speakers Association, you can benefit from it in several ways.
National Speakers Association membership is annual, and you have two options: Essential Membership and Advanced Membership. Both levels include the benefits listed below. Advanced Membership also includes free access to the Digital Vault.
The NSA holds two large annual events and many virtual events throughout the year. Individual National Speakers Association chapters organize local events.
Attendees enjoy presentations as well as networking opportunities. Member and nonmember pricing is available for these two yearly conferences.
NSA Influence Conference is the organization’s annual convention and, as they call it, “the leading annual event for the speaking and entrepreneurial industry.” The presentations and experiences are designed to help professional speakers hone their skills and build their businesses.
In 2023, NSA Influence Conference will be held in July in Orlando, Florida. It’s a special 50th anniversary celebration. The schedule includes a Night of Comedy, the Million Dollar Speakers Group, NSA Foundation events, and the CPAE Hall of Fame and Cavett Awards Dinner and Show.
The Thrive 2023 Winter Workshop is planned for March 3 to 5 in San Antonio, Texas. Scheduled presentations include “How to Build a Beloved Brand by Following Your Interest, Not Your Expertise,” “How to Generate $10,000 From Every 100 YouTubeViews,” and “Rocking TikTok in 60 Seconds!”
Webinars include series such as “Declutter 101 for the Right-Brain Creative” and “Recession-Proof Your Speaking Business.”
Mic Swap is a monthly Zoom meeting in which NSA members connect with each other to share ideas and get support.
Whether you’re already a professional speaker or aspiring to be one, the National Speakers Association can help you build a business doing what you love.
Getting better at speaking is getting easier. Record or upload a speech and let our AI Speech Coach analyze your speaking and give you feedback.