What my new speaker friends taught me…

When I walked into my first National Speakers Association meeting of the North Texas chapter exactly five years ago, I was nervous, self-conscious and out of my element.

Or at least I thought so.

Five years later, my life has changed for the better in so many ways. The reason? My new speaker friends have taught me life lessons that I somehow missed in my first 30 years as a newspaperman.

What did they teach me?

Tim Durkin (www.timdurkin.com) taught me you go farther in life bragging on others than you do boasting about yourself.

Eloise Owens (www.momentumcompany.com) showed me how the greatest strength and love can emerge out of the darkest moments of illness.

Jana Stanfield (www.janastanfield.com) showed how when you combine song with speech you “eat, pray, love” your way into every audience’s heart.

Gary Rifkin (www.encoreencore.biz) showed that even the most mundane act — like carrying a stool and a glass of water on to the main stage at NSA’s national convention for the next speaker — can be an act of grace and dignity.

Michael Hoffman (www.ignitingperformance.com), my first chapter president, showed that bear hugs and spontaneous quips make you feel better than you felt before. Every time.

Ty Walls (theillustratedidea.com) showed that witty caricatures push good will all around.

Christine Cashen (www.christinecashen.com) taught me how the nastiest incidents of life can be turned into positives when you put a humorous story and spin to them.

Sally Baskey (www.sallybaskey.com), my second chapter president, showed how sometimes you can laugh so hard for so long that your body begins to ache.

Stu Schlackman (www.competitive-excellence.com) demonstrated over and over that his steady reliability is an all-too-rare quality that should never be taken for granted.

Lorri Allen (www.lorri.com), my first Charbonneau Speakers Academy dean, showed how endless positive reinforcement gives rookie pro speakers more strength and power than even those first paychecks.

Ed Peters (www.edpeters4profit.com), my second academy dean, taught me that marketing is about you, not me — an important lesson for any newspaper columnist (like me, writing for you). Oh, and postcards, postcards, postcards.

Mark LeBlanc (www.smallbusinesssuccess.com), my second national president, showed me how if he hears you give a good talk with original material, he’ll recommend you to his speaker friends in another country. Hello, Canada. Hello, “International Speaker”  in your profile.

Carlos Sanchez (www.leaderswithoutborders.com), my third chapter president, showed me how to stake out one area of expertise and absolutely own it.

Al Lucia (www.adlassociates.com) taught me that the smallest nearly-forgettable incidents of your childhood can transfer decades later into highly memorable stories that reinforce smart business practices.

Kent Billingsley (www.revenuegrowthcompany.com) showed me how a calm, easy-going manner goes a long way towards alleviating any kind of stress in a hectic, insecure business environment.

Robert Menard (www.robertmenard.com) showed me how to tear down your old brand and build a completely new business model during a business slowdown.

Alex Ramsey (www.lodestaruniversal.com), my fourth chapter president, showed me there is a whole new way to see myself and my place as a contributor to the world that I never imagined before.

Deanna Frazier (www.deannafrazier.com) showed me how upbeat, happy, optimistic and hopeful can take you to the other end of the rainbow.

Ann Ranson (www.annranson.com) showed me how running into a speaker buddy at the airport is like winning the lottery. Good time. Good conversation. Good basis for a new friendship.

Susan Gatton (www.scgatton.com), my fifth chapter president, showed how there really is a second act in American life when her second term as chapter president was so outstanding.

Phillip Van Hooser (www.vanhooser.com), my fifth national president, showed me how a small speech before a small audience in a small town can still be a life-changing experience for one audience member — and for the speaker, too.

Linda Swindling (www.lindaswindling.com), my next chapter president, taught me how the right words, tone and energy can get you on an airplane even when there are supposedly no seats left. Negotiating skills indeed!

Doug Stevenson (www.dougstevenson.com) showed me how eight hours of workshop coaching is worth a million times that in more business.

LaDonna Gatlin (www.ladonnagatlin.com) showed me that even a Hall of Fame speaker is never too good to constantly keep working – always – to get better.

Oh, and I still have plenty to learn, too. Like Linda Thomas (www.powerfulappearance.com) who promises to show me how to properly tie a tie.

Looking forward to the next five years and more speaker friends and more life lessons.

Dave Lieber is The Watchdog investigative columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and a comedy speaker who makes audiences laugh. But more important, he has a slew of great friends! What else matters?


  1. Hey Dave, Thanks for the kind comments. You, of course, are a huge asset to NSA, having enriched all our lives.
    Love, Alex

  2. Dave,

    Thank you for sharing the spotlight. Thank you for taking the time to individually thank the people you have connected with in NSA. There are so many diva’s out…in more ways than one (ahem..) you are NOT a diva. May more speakers take your lead and give kudos and encouragement to their peers!

    Will I see you at the North Texas Christian Writers Conference this year. Oh..guess I could check their web site.

  3. I’m humbled by your comments and LOVE reading your take aways from so many. You are such a great man and wow-look at how much you’ve done in 5 short years. Congrats!

  4. Hey, Dave. Great post. And you do have some wonderful folks in Texas. So I am thinking…five years. Are you on the path to the Certified Speaking Professional designation?

    I’d be happy to talk with you about how to make that happen. Love your video. Keep asking lots of questions! NSA buddies have answers…and other questions.

    • Linda, I’m not on the path right now…

  5. David,

    While your kind words are gratifying, may I offer my assurance that the exchange has been mutual? Folks around you learn from and benefit by your demonstration of values. Who does not admire your sincere friendliness, humility, and transparent honesty? You have a killer sense of humor and the diligence of a “watch dog”. You epitomize your values by living them. Well done, my brother.

  6. You are an epic guy and I know I speak for all of NSA….we are lucky to know you.

  7. Dave
    The pleasure has been all mine. You are a smart, thoughtful and giving guy – what’s not to like about that! Thank you for sharing.

  8. I love that you have created a new stage to act out your life….Thanks for keeping, and including me, in your old/new lives.

  9. This is well known that money can make us free. But how to act when somebody doesn’t have cash? The only one way is to receive the mortgage loans or just college loan.

  10. I want to start blogging too, what do you think, which blog cms is good for beginner?

  11. I want to start blogging too what do you think, which blog cms is good for noob?

  12. With regard to the title What my new speaker friends taught me… | Dave Lieber, it kind of took me aback for a minute but finally I understand what you’re trying to say. I have been pondering similar stuff at my blog http://sjamessmith.livejournal.com. I would really appreciate your input on what I talk about. Esteban Koloski

  13. Such pieces of writing are always able to bump up my mood. I simply adore reading stuff like this. You have to continue like this. It might be a grave pity if you don’t.

  14. A lot of leagues of appreciation for your top class writing. I really love it!


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