Professional speakers are tough acts for association executives to follow, literally. But execs and other amateur speakers at the American Payroll Association, San Antonio, Texas, don't have a problem when it comes to addressing a crowd.
Since 1995, APA has held a speakers conference one day prior to its annual meeting, explains James Medlock, senior director of education and training at the association. “It started as a tool to help our seminar instructors improve their presentation skills,” says Medlock. It was such a hit that they expanded it in 1998 to all annual meeting speakers, not just seminar presenters. “Our speakers [now] are much more professional,” says Medlock.
, executive speech coach, and author Patricia Fripp has been running the conference since its inception. “If you have superb speakers, then when your association leaders get up, they look worse than they really are,” says Fripp. The conference helps presenters get comfortable with the script and speaking in front of an audience, she says.