The Organization in the Middle by Jeff Klein
In January, 2006, a small group of business people got together to discuss how they could help each other find places to speak as a way to grow their businesses.
Most of the attendees saw speaking as a way to be seen as experts in their fields. They had spoken to groups they were involved with and were looking for ways to find more groups.
Rotaries, Chambers of Commerce, networking groups, trade associations, service organizations, and many other groups are looking for people to speak at their meetings every week and month of the year.
The Speaker Co-op is a community that brings together subject matter experts who make themselves available to speak at these meetings. The reason most of them speak is to find potential clients for their businesses. So, many do not charge a speaking fee.
The Co-op is positioned in the middle, between the two major speaking organizations. Toastmasters International was formed to help people overcome their fear of public speaking. They have become a world leader in helping people become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience.
The National Speakers Association is the leading professional association for speakers, providing resources and education designed to advance the skills, integrity, and value of its members and the speaking profession.
The Speaker Co-op’s mission is to build a community for referrals, masterminding, and education on speaking for business. We have programs at each monthly meeting that further that mission.
Some of this year’s topics have been ‘Leaving the Right Lasting Impressions on Your Audience’ from Kenda-Le Pernin, ‘Creating a Dynamic Opening For Your Presentation’ from Gary Rifkin, ‘The Speaker Success Checklist’ from Jeff Klein, and ‘Speaker Branding U – Establishing Trust From the Front of the Room’ from Laura Morlando.
We have grown from that first group of 30 professionals to over 900 people in our Meetup group. Each month, 60+ of them attend our luncheons.
An offshoot of the monthly meeting is the web site www.speakercoop.com. This site is a resource for speaker coordinators and program chairs to find the right speakers for their meetings. Visitors can search by topic, category, or key word to find the presenters they want.
Because The Speaker Co-op is a community, only those who attend the monthly meetings and participate may advertise on the web site. We draw our meeting speakers from the web site participants.
We meet 11 times a year in three different cities. We use Meetup to promote our meetings. RSVP at www.meetup.com/speakercoop.