Recipe for success: Passion. Plans. People. In all my recent research and conversations about how people achieve more of their potential, the recipe is simple. Passion + Plans + People. Passion. It sound simple - If you are not fired up about what you ...

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"SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED" - 5 new articles

  1. Recipe for Success
  2. New Networking At Association Events
  3. A Vibration of Goodness
  4. Unlock Potential
  5. NSA Winter Conference 2018 - I Almost Did Not Attend
  6. More Recent Articles

Recipe for Success

Recipe for success:


In all my recent research and conversations about how people achieve more of their potential, the recipe is simple.  Passion + Plans + People.  

Passion.  It sound simple - If you are not fired up about what you are trying to do, then you will have a hard time keeping your focus over the long run. Accomplishing great things takes time.  Usually more time than you predict at the beginning. Having a deep passion for your work will get you out of bed and put the smile on your face even in the face of adversity.

Plans.  Goal setting is paramount to success. I am amazed at those who dis the idea of having focused targets, as everyone I know who has consistently kicks butt in life has a series of clear plans. When you have goals it makes it easy to make the hard decisions, as you simply ask with every action "will this take me closer to my goals or not?".  

People. All opportunities come from people.  No matter what you do, there are other humans who have a direct and indirect impact on your outcomes. Who you connect with and how your engage with those in your network will make the biggest difference on how you realize your potential.

Having interviewed hundreds of people on the subject of potential and success, all the answers are tied to these three areas. Examine your daily actions and pay close attention to your passion, plans and the people you spend time with regularly.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

New Networking At Association Events

Surveys show that people still attend conferences for the "Networking Opportunities".  Even in our social media crazed world, there is still a desire to meet people face to face and establish professional connections.

Yet many events fall short of their potential.  Bringing the best and brightest from any industry together at an association annual meeting should in itself be ideal for networking, but even with the desire to connect, too often people do not really meet others.

Some hang out with their co-workers and other close friends, but worse are all the people who are all alone at the event, and only superficially engage.  The worst part is that many people feel lonely even in the crowd. 

A 2017 article in the Harvard Business Journal by former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, "Work and the Epidemic of Loneliness", chronicles the problems that loneliness causes in the workplace.  Conferences are no different.  Muthry says "Happy hours, coffee breaks, and team-building exercises are designed to build connections between colleagues, but do they really help people develop deep relationships?"  Not so much, and not at industry meetings either.

If one of the purpose of a conference is to really help people connect, we must change up how we are setting up all aspects of the event. An open bar is not the answer to getting people to connect.  Being aware of cliques and thinking about those people who may feel invisible even while surrounded by others.

One quick change that can have immediate impact is how we ask speakers to engage.  A celebrity speaker who talks for 45 minutes and is shuttled out of the building by their handlers is not the future of engaging multi-day events.  People seek a peer-to-peer connection with those who present. If your speakers best skill is getting to the airport 30 minutes after leaving the stage, it is time to rethink the purpose of the keynote.

Additionally, shorter talks are not helping with engagement. Ever since the explosion of the TED and TEDx conferences there has been a push to shorten the time given to speakers.  It has been assumed that people prefer short presentations, but that leaves no time for audience interactions.  A speaker who has time to share data and stories while also creating an interactive environment is a way to get people talking. 

Associations should incorporate speakers as partners in their conference. The speakers (both main stage and breakout presenters) have a unique ability to get people to connect.  Shared experiences are how relationships are forged, and all presentations must have a networking component built into the talk and the speaker should have "office hours" after their speech so they can go deeper with groups of attendees who are interested in this type of conversation. 

Engagement is not saying "turn to your neighbor", but instead creating a culture of talking to others throughout the whole event.  Speakers should be active at the conference at least for the day they speak. When they are visible and actively engaged, they are leading by example.  Getting people comfortable with sharing is the key.

To create new networking at association events, there needs to be discussions about the purpose bringing people together from the first planning meeting.  If you make networking a second tier priority, you will have second tier results.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

****Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies.


A Vibration of Goodness

Recently I was at an event called the New Media Summit with about 200 people in attendance.  It was three days of learning, and was filled with ambitious people who are seeking to expand their businesses and help others in the process. As I looked at the group picture taken at the end of the conference, I am reminded of the vibration of "goodness" that was created between the attendees.

The gathering was focused on "podcasting", and while my podcast is over three years old, I had the chance to interact with people at all levels of participation in this still growing field. I started my show without any community and little guidance, and thus the people I met here have a leg up on my experience because there were so many people showing them how to engage in this medium. 

Even as part of the faculty for the conference I was inspired to become more intentional. In those moments of fateful interactions with people is where your life changes. In being at an in-person conference you have the serendipitous collision of souls.

I helped arrange the 200 people into position for the picture, as three decades ago I worked as an event and wedding photographer. As I looked at the above photo taken as the event ended, I am overcome by a strange connection to humanity. Moving people around to formulate a symmetrical grouping means seeing each person as an individual and as part of a group. That combination is powerful.

Thanks to all who were at the summit. I am inspired and feel that I encountered some good souls who will add to the tapestry of my life and I look forward to how our paths continue to cross.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Unlock Potential

Knowledge is NOT power. Maybe it was before the internet. But now the real power is in taking action.  But not any action, it must be tied to your plans, your purpose, and the people who are part of your business and personal life. 

We all have more access to knowledge than humans have ever had in history, but few people feel they are achieving all they can in their careers. Information alone is just a piece of a person's overall potential. Anyone can now access data and ideas in every industry with just a few clicks.  Many assumed this would level the playing field, but there are still just a few who excel to the top. 

Over 70% of the nearly 500 people that I have surveyed admit to not believing they are doing all they can in their careers. They realize they have the potential for more success, but potential does not equal results. 

In order to unlock your potential and discover your personal best you have to realize a legitimate gap that exists between where you are and what you could be doing if you maximized your efforts.  The valley that many want to cross seems the same, but it is quite different for each person.  Even people on a the same corporate team will find they have different things holding them back, and any variety of unique solutions. 

To unlock your potential you need to do many things.  But the following ten tips are what the ones at the top of their game have told me makes the difference:

Ten Tips Toward Unlocking Potential

1. Take ownership of your life. If you want to unlock you potential, you have to quit blaming others for whatever is holding you back. 

2. Set clear goals. Know what success looks like long before you start taking actions to get you there. 

3. Work past the fear. Fear is real and it is normal.  However, getting paralyzed by fear will hold you back forever. 

4. Connect with people. All opportunities come from people.  If you are not good at networking and building relationships, you will fail over time.

5. Be aggressive with gratitude. Letting others know they have helped you is the easiest way to stand out from your competition.  Too few people properly say "thank you". 

6. Deliver on all projects. Doing good work is the ticket into the game.  If you are not delivering a high quality product or service, nothing else will help you succeed. 

7. Accept that change happens. In the real world of business things often shift.  The economy, company structure, etc... can morph.  Be ready for it. 

8. Ask for help. There is no lone ranger in the world of high achievers.  Those on top always have a team who help them get there.

9. Try new things. If you keep doing the same thing you will get the same results.  Push yourself to experiment. 

10. Believe in yourself. Nobody else will always be there to support you.  You must be confident that you are capable of achieving great things or you never will. 

Not everyone needs to do all ten of these things, but my guess is a few of them resonated with you and align with your current situation.  It is important that you are honest with yourself and begin to take the necessary actions that will lead you to unlock your potential and create the life you desire.

Have A Great Day

thom singer


NSA Winter Conference 2018 - I Almost Did Not Attend

Have you ever felt as if you experienced something special?   Especially when you almost decided not to attend?  That is my current state of mind, having just returned from the National Speakers Association Winter Conference in Baltimore, MD.  I almost did not attend. 

Over the past nine years of being an active member of NSA, I have attended many conferences. Since joining this organization I have never missed the annual INFLUENCE conference held in July (the reason I have never skipped this is due to the teen leadership program that my children have participated in for eight years - they would revolt if they had to miss this event).  I have also attended five winter conferences, several workshops / labs, and four CSP / CPAE Summits. NSA and the people whom I have become friends have had a strong influence on the development of my speaking career. 

The reality is that not every event is awesome (the quality of the content can vary with each conference), although only a few times have I not gone home with some positive motivation and the benefits for getting to spend time with my peers. 

This week was unique.  The 2018 Winter Conference was possibly the best event I have ever attended.  The gathering was only about 300 people, of whom about a third were first time attendees at an NSA event.  I met some amazing people, but what made this conference so powerful was the level of content.  Often you get speakers who just talk, but this event was packed with the context of how to implement ideas.

Jay Baer, Phil Jones, Michael Dominguez, Brian Fanzo, Crystal Washington, Tamsen Webster, and so many others shared their knowledge from the stage and got me inspired.  

Often we talk ourselves out of attending events, but should remember that it is in sharing experiences with others that we find inspiration.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

*this post was saved as a draft an not published... I just saw it and was reminded of how important people are and the level that NSA plays in my life... so I am putting it up 2 months later. 

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