Friday, October 16, 2009

Have you sold the NSA today?

Good evening my teammates,

A few days ago I was making a delivery to a local car dealership which happens to be the biggest on Long Island, Huntington Honda. I remember walking into the customer service department to drop the food off, and as I was coming out, I couldn't help but notice a brand-spanking new Honda Civic Hybrid. As I was admiring it, a saleswoman smiled and came up to me. "As much as I wish that was my new car, maybe someday in the future," I said. She smiled and turned to another customer. I said charmingly, "The way these cars are, they sell themselves."

If you grew up in the 1980s, then you probably remember Honda ran a marketing campaign that was billing their cars as "The cars that sell themselves." At this year's National Stuttering Association conference in Arizona, a presentation was made to show the tremendous strides that we have made. We are now the biggest advocacy organization for teammates who stutter around the world. We have advertisements in some of the world's most well-known magazines. But my teammates and I are not complacent at all. As the line from "High School Musical 3" goes, "Get Your Head In The Game," and that's exactly what we are doing....but at the same time, the bar is continually being raised.

Advertising is everywhere. It's not just opening the magazines anymore or watching on television. We are bombarded 24/7/365. We go to bed and we dream of something we saw earlier. When I was in Washington, DC, getting together with some NSA teammates, we rode the Metro (Washington's subway) and you see one row of continuous advertisements, from everything schools to bladder issues and how to resolve them. (Don't ask, I won't reveal any more details. Some things must not be discussed in public, after all). But what, as teammates of the NSA, can we do?

Some wear conference T-shirts all the time. A good start, for sure. However, every teammate has a different starting point on their journey of self-accecptance. Some may not feel comfortable advertising they are a person who stutters. Others are more open and aggressive with promoting the NSA. When I meet someone for the first time, I give them a firm handshake and say "Hi, I'm Steven Kaufman, NSA Long Island Chapter Leader." This blog is advertising the NSA. When I speak at colleges, that's selling the NSA.

I have great respect for those who work in sales, as it's a difficult profession-the stress of having to make a certain amount of production in order to receive commission. But when it comes to the selling of the NSA, my rewards are never monetary, and I don't need them to be. The rewards I get come at the end of the conference, or after I speak to SLP students. There is no greater feeling (although tinged with sadness) when the conference closes and you see the first-timers (the special name given to new teammates) hugging everyone and saying this forever changed their life. The same exact thing happens when students ask me questions and tell them what a great experience it is to learn about my experience.

As teammates, let's sell the NSA Nation now and forever..with the ultimate goal being a world free from judgment, bullying, and respect for all teammates.

My name is Steven Kaufman and I am a person who stutters. Until next time, stand up and be counted. Make your voice heard.

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