Personal Development,

5 Ways to Make the Most of your APSS Membership

So you’ve joined APSS. Welcome!

Whether you’re a new speaker, excited about getting started on this new, exciting journey, or you’re already an experienced speaker, who’s new to the region and looking for a network to join to get acquainted.

Whether you’re a subject matter expert in your field exploring professional speaking as an alternative career, so you’re looking for a “soft landing ground”, or you’re a trainer, coach or consultant looking to transit to the bigger stages to enhance your reputation, APSS is the place for you.

Yes, we are a network of professional speakers coming together to learn from each other.

Yes, we have regular monthly meetings with topics aimed at helping you to grow your speaking business, not just to become a better speaker.

Yes, we do refer business to each other, and sometimes we receive requests from events planners and corporate clients, which we forward to our professional members.

However, if you’ve ever thought these thoughts:

“I’m here just to attend events and learn.”

“I’m here to admire the star speakers, and (hopefully) learn from them.”

“I’m here to just mingle and make friends.”

“I’m here to get referral”

Then I would say you are under-utilizing the benefits of APSS membership!

From the inputs of senior members, my own observations and experiences, here are some tips for you to make the most of, and to grow, enjoy and thrive in this community:

  1. Network Actively

By this, I don’t mean that you go around smiling, shaking hands, exchanging name cards and saying pleasantries. To effectively network is not simply to be a social butterfly and be seen. Establish deeper relationships with members by identifying the people you have common interests with. For example, you may speak on similar/complimentary topics, or you may have the same hobbies. Ask them out for coffee, no, have meals together, better still, invite them over for a home-cooked meal. We often forget that even busy speakers have downtime and they are essentially human beings who need to eat too! That brings me to my second tip.

  1. Seek to Contribute

You will be a better connector if you reach out to members with a desire to contribute. Perhaps, a member’s child is just reaching school-going age, so why not see if you can offer some advice to them if you’ve had some experiences? How about things to avoid (from your bad experiences) and criteria to consider when choosing schools? Or you may have a skill that you know other members may need. For example, one member’s expertise is helping busy people keep in peak fitness. By offering his help, he was able to reach out to and spend quality time learning from some of the best speakers in Singapore and the world. You don’t have to be too creative about this, you need to really care about others. If you have extra tickets to a concert, and you know another member is a fan of that artist/band, you may offer them to delight them!

Another way to contribute is to either join the Executive Committee, or to volunteer to help out with the various sub-committees put together to organize the many activities. By offering to serve, you get a bigger perspective of the APSS and the speaking industry, get to know fellow members, and even get a glimpse into how the more successful members work. From my experience, I’ve found that I’ve learned the most powerful lessons just by getting involved, observing and learning.

  1. Find Ways to Demonstrate your Expertise

If you think that by joining this platform, you will automatically receive referrals, then I have to burst your bubble. Referrals have to be earned, and people refer people they like and trust. Tips 1 and 2 above help you with the “like” component, but the trust comes from demonstrating that you are an expert in your domain.

On that note, it has to be emphasized that APSS is not a platform for you to promote yourself aggressively. Do not spam people with your event ads, motivational posters, or internet jokes, worse still, make sales pitches hoping to “fish” for business. Speakers resonate with fellow experts, so find ways to add value to others, as the peak fitness trainer demonstrated above. Another way could be that if you are attending a learning event (that’s tangential to your area of expertise), invite fellow members to go learn together, it may pique their interest for your expertise. If you have a book launch, invite fellow members to attend. I am sure they are happy to participate in your joyful milestone, and they too will hope for your support when it’s their turn.

  1. Ask Greater Questions

Learning takes place at several levels. Very often, I’ve noticed that people tend to approach learning at only the technical level. For example, if you want to improve your social media marketing, you approach a social media expert and say “Teach me How!” What happens is that you may learn the techniques and mechanics, but you may not be able to apply them. Instead, do not just focus on acquiring knowledge and learn techniques. When you spend time with successful speakers you want to learn from, watch how they function. Watch the success habits they have, and the system they’ve built around their business. Learn the mindsets that differentiate the best from the pretenders and ask questions such as “There are ups and downs in this business, how do you deal with down moments so that you maintain your momentum? How do you remain enthusiastic even in the face of failures?” If you apply the habits and mindsets, you’ll be able to grow yourself, and your business.

  1. Get a Mentor

At APSS, we have a formal mentorship program. However, we are coming to the end of a mentorship cycle, and we will let the mentors have a break. We will be asking for more experienced members to volunteer as mentors, but this process may take a longer time, so I suggest that you be more proactive. If there is anyone you admire and would like to learn from, approach them personally to be your mentor.

However, before approaching mentors, here are a few things to consider:

  • Build a relationship with them first. Apply tips 1 and 2 above and build a connection with the person whom you have in mind as a mentor. Let them get to know you first, so they will be comfortable agreeing.
  • Get clear on your own mentorship goals and expectations. Understand that mentors are busy people, so when you approach them, communicate clearly WHY you’re choosing them to mentor you, WHAT you’ll like to learn from them, and HOW much assistance and time you need. Do not expect mentors to be people who chase you for follow-ups, or to check regularly on your progress. Take ownership over your own growth.
  • Mentorship is a two-way street, do not just think of taking without giving. Offer something in return, as suggested in tip 3 above. Think of an area of expertise that you can offer your mentor in return. Are you good in a particular skill relevant to the industry, are you great at video-marketing? Do you have great connections in a particular industry that you can introduce your mentor?

The APSS is NOT a speakers’ bureau, our sole purpose is not finding clients for you in exchange for a profit. We have regular meetings and education sessions, but we are not a seminar business or a Speaker’s Academy. Do not expect to be spoon-fed a “Five Step Success Method” or a “Winning Speech Template.” There will be topics that you may interest you, and others you may just not be so keen on.

How much you benefit from the association is dependent on the choices you make. By making the choice to network more actively, find ways to contribute to the association, demonstrate your expertise, ask better questions, and seek a mentor, you may find your journey with the Association a more enriching, rewarding and fulfilling one!

Happy 2019 to all as we lift off together. We are truly BETTER. TOGETHER.

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