Wow! I just got back from attending the 2010 annual convention for the National Speakers Association! Every session was loaded with incredible nuggets to help new and veteran speakers alike to take their speaking business to the next level.

You may be thinking why am I sharing this with you since you probably are not a speaker, right? Well, I want to make a specific point! If you are in any field and you are not attending your annual convention, you are not serious about your career.

The reality is, you can’t grow in a vacuum. You need to expose your mind with other minds. Today more than ever you need fresh and cutting edge ideas to thrive during these tough economic times. Guess what?

You can’t get those ideas by recycling the same old thinking you have been thinking for years. You need other minds to help sharpen yours. Do you see what I mean?

So What The Economy Is Tough?

Yeah, yeah, I know the economy is tough and money is a bit scarce right now. Maybe that is the reason you don’t make the effort to go to you industry’s annual conference. Maybe your income went down significantly the last few months. Or, if you are employed, you just don’t why you should spend your own money to update your knowledge.

Can I tell you something? The fact that money is scarce is exactly why you need to get out and get among people who can give you a tip or two on how to drum up more business. The reality is, not everyone is struggling. Some people are making money out there.

Although many of the speakers are struggling, there are many who are doing extremely well in spite of the economy. That is why I must attend the speakers annual convention. I get to learn best practices as well as sharing some of my best practices.

The best part is, I get to meet and bond with some of my colleagues. I get to rob shoulders with the masters. And the more I attend, the more I get access to them. Just in case you don’t know, your standing or credibility in your industry is based on how connected you are with those at the top. I’m talking about peer recognition. I’m talking endorsements.

How To Connect With The Big Names In Your Industry

People often ask me how I got so many of the big names like Mark Victor Hansen, Brian Tracy, and Les Brown to endorse my book. Well, I attend my annual convention. But, don’t think you are going to attend once and the big names are going to flock unto you. No! It takes times!

It’s easy to seat around and have a pity party with other businesses in your field that are struggling. In fact, some people love to hear when others are not doing well. It gives them the permission to fail. It’s like, “You fail and I fail. It’s OK.” No! It is not OK! You can do better.

You see, somebody’s failure does not have to be your reason to coast. If you are not doing well, maybe you are missing something. Go to the ones that are thriving and ask for their assistance. Contrary to what many are saying, there are still plenty people that are buying. It’s just so now it harder to make a sell.

Beg. Borrow. Chase.

All right, you don’t have the cash to fly to another city to attend an annual convention? Well, borrow it. Beg for it. Chase it. It doesn’t matter what you do to get the money, get it. I’m very passionate when it comes to learning new information to advance my business. Do you want to know why? I’m glad you ask.

Earnings come from learning! If you want to earn more, you need to learn more. There’s no way around it. Things have changed. The ways business used to come effortlessly have changed. The sad news is, they will never get back to normal. This is as normal as it is going to be. Welcome the new normal. Here’s the truth:

You Need A New You For The New Economy

Your old knowledge is not going to help you prosper in the new economy or the new normal. You need to stretch and force yourself to think differently. You need a new level of thinking. You need new mental stimulation.

That is the primary reason I attend the National Speakers Association. I get to see what I’m doing wrong and what I need to improve. I ask powerful questions and get powerful answers.

Admittedly, some of the answers I get punch me in the stomach. Sometimes it’s hard to face the truth. Some of my friends bluntly tell what I’m doing wrong. They tell me what I need to let go of. They give tough love and I don’t mind.

There are people who will you a sugarcoated answer when you ask for feedback. They try to be nice. But when you ask my friend Jeffrey Gitomer, America’s #1 sales guru, a question, he gives you a very honest answer.

In other words, if you suck, he will tell you. Yes, his feedback might make you feel uncomfortable. But it will also make you a lot of money. The man is sharp. His level of thinking supersedes most of his peers. I don’t know about you, I don’t mind being uncomfortable and make money at the same time.

Anyway, enough said about the National Speakers Association. Let’s talk about you. When was the last time you spend some money and time to attend a convention in your field? How is your business doing? Are you making money?

You say, “Rene, I attend the annual convention in my field. But, there’s no return on investment for me. It’s a waste of time and money.” Well, do you have a strategy to connect, bond, share and get fresh ideas at the conference?

You can’t just go to the convention! You must go with a purpose!

Okay, call your association and ask for the registration form. Create a strategy to maximum your attendance. Don’t go and expect them to do it unto you. Do it unto yourself!