Is NSLS legit or Scam? Criticisms and Complaints 2023

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  • Post published:February 14, 2024
  • Post category:Reviews

The National Speakers Association (NSA) is a well-respected organization for professional speakers that provides education, resources, and networking opportunities to help members build their speaking careers. However, there has been some controversy surrounding one of their offerings – the NSA Speaker Lab (NSLS).

In this comprehensive blog post, we will analyze the key facts about the NSLS, dive into the main complaints and criticisms, and determine whether it offers value or is simply a scam preying on aspiring speakers.

Overview of the National Speakers Association Speaker Lab

The NSA Speaker Lab (NSLS) is a training program offered by the National Speakers Association to provide coaching and development for aspiring professional speakers. The NSLS promises to help new speakers gain the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to launch successful speaking careers.

Some of the main components of the NSLS include:

  • Educational modules on speaking skills, marketing, and running a speaking business.
  • Assignments, workbooks, and exercises to apply the training.
  • Individual coaching calls and feedback from NSA mentors.
  • Opportunities to present to NSA chapters and showcase speaking skills.
  • Access to NSA member forums, speaker directories, and networking events.

The NSLS is priced at $497 for lifetime access. Additional costs required to fully participate include the NSA membership fee ($595/year) and costs associated with travel to NSA events.

Criticisms and Complaints About the NSLC

Despite its association with the respected NSA organization, the Speaker Lab has garnered its share of critics and complaints over the years. Some of the main issues brought up include:

High-Pressure Sales Tactics

Many reports describe aggressive sales tactics used by NSLS representatives. These include prolonged sales calls pressuring prospects to purchase, constant upselling for additional products/services, and claiming limited time special pricing that must be acted on immediately.

Misleading Claims About Earning Potential

The of the National Speakers Association Speaker Lab is frequently promoted alongside misleading claims about the high earning potential for professional speakers. Critics say these exaggerated income claims deploy unrealistic examples to make the NSLS seem like a fast, guaranteed path to riches as a speaker.

Lack of Substance and Value in Training

Beyond the sales hype, many reviewers say the actual of the National Speakers Association Speaker Lab training materials lack enough substance or unique value to justify the high price tag. Some describe generic content you could find online for free or in any basic public speaking book.

Hidden Costs and Upsells

All the additional expenses beyond the initial fee can really add up. From the yearly of the National Speakers Association Speaker Lab membership, travel costs for events, and constant pressure to purchase additional courses, books, and coaching, critics say the real costs of the NSLS are obfuscated.

Predatory Recruitment of Speakers

Some former participants felt they were misled or pressured into believing the NSLS was necessary to launch their speaking career. Critics accuse the NSLS of exploiting people’s hopes and dreams of becoming paid speakers.

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Is the NSLS legit or Scam? National Speakers Association Speaker Lab)

With all these complaints swirling around the NSLS, the big question is whether it actually helps aspiring speakers succeed or is it all hype and empty promises? Let’s critically assess the key components of the program.

Educational Modules and Resources

The NSLS modules and workbooks do provide a substantive base of speaker training materials. Subjects like crafting your speaker bio, developing topics, marketing your brand as a speaker, and running a speaking business contain genuinely useful content. While not extraordinarily thorough, for brand new speakers, the core education could provide a solid foundation.

However, all the information covered in the NSLS resources is available through other means. Speaking skills can be developed through books, courses, and practice without the NSLS. Marketing, branding, and business operations guidance can all be found online and through networking with professional speakers.

Verdict: of the National Speakers Association Speaker Lab educational content offers some value, especially for total beginners, but is not unique or required to gain speaker knowledge.

Coaching and Feedback

This perk has more potential upside. Gaining direct feedback and advice from veteran NSA speakers could be immensely helpful for aspiring speakers. A speaker just starting out has a lot to learn from more experienced mentors.

However, the effectiveness seems to depend heavily on how engaged and available the coach is. Feedback from some participants indicates the coaching is not consistent enough to rely on as a key benefit. Some coaches barely interact or review their mentee’s work. But others do seem to establish valuable long-term mentoring relationships.

Verdict: Speaker mentoring has value IF you are matched with an engaged and experienced coach, but inconsistent quality makes this an unreliable perk.

Presentation Opportunities

A chance to present your work to industry groups and get real audience feedback must be earned through completing educational components. This feature is enticing, since stage time and audience testing are so crucial for honing speaking skills, but meaningless if the opportunities are not actually delivered.

The main opportunities promoted are showcases at NSA chapter meetings and the of the National Speakers Association Speaker Lab Worldwide Conference. But critics point out logistical hurdles. Local chapter events may be sparse, far away, or difficult to get a spot in as a newbie. And the national conference requires the hefty attendance fee plus travel costs.

Verdict: Presentation opportunities have some value for experience, but limited realistic access for many participants. Promoted opportunities may be exaggerated or hard to actually utilize.

Membership and Networking Access

Gaining access to the NSA member network and resources is promoted as a key benefit. But again, the results seem mixed based on the level of participation. With active involvement in local chapters, networking and community-building can certainly happen. But some participants found it difficult to penetrate the cliques of longtime NSA members to make worthwhile connections.

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As an exclusive industry organization, the NSA network holds value. But simply having a membership does not guarantee fruitful networking opportunities. Gaining real connections requires effort to engage beyond just paying membership fees.

Verdict: NSA access holds some value but requires active participation to maximize benefits. Passive members may not experience as much benefit.

Are the Costs Justified?

Given these assessments, does the content and value provided by the NSLS justify the total costs? For most aspiring speakers, the answer is likely no.

The $497 base fee is quite high given most of the educational content can be found for free. Add in the compulsory NSA membership, travel costs, and constant upsell pressure, and the total easily stretches into the thousands.

For that high investment, the benefits are mixed. While you gain access to an exclusive speaker network and some useful training, uneven mentoring and presentation access undermine the core value pitch.

Alternatives to the NSA Speaker Lab

The NSLS touts itself as a fast track to a lucrative speaking career. But given the high price tag and mixed reviews, are there better options to receive speaker training?

Here are a few alternatives to consider:

Join Toastmasters

For a fraction of the cost, you can join Toastmasters International and gain extensive practice giving speeches and presentations in your local chapter. You get hands-on experience, feedback, and mentoring.

Take a Speaker Training Course

Many robust public speaking and speaker training courses are available for under $500 through adult education programs, community colleges, and private coaches. These offer structured curriculum and exercises.

Read Relevant Books

Best-selling books by professional speakers like Scott Berkun’s Confessions of a Public Speaker provide great insights on the art of speaking for low cost. Having a personal library curated for your needs is prudent.

Attend Industry Conferences

Look for speaking opportunities and networking at industry conferences related to your niche. These let you directly connect with and learn from speakers and experts in your field.

Invest in Your Own Promotion

Rather than paying the NSLS to promote you, invest that money into your own website, physical marketing materials, advertising efforts, and PR consulting to independently build your brand and opportunities.

The core value of the NSLS rests heavily on its NSA association and network. But there are other ways to get started in speaking with far less financial risk and strings attached.

Final Verdict: The NSLS a Scam?

In my expert opinion, while the NSLS is not an outright scam, it is an overpriced service that exaggerates potential benefits for aspiring speakers. The NSA name and hype around speaker earnings cause many to pay the high price without carefully analyzing what value they will realistically receive compared to other options.

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For some, the costs are reasonable if they have the budget, aggressively utilize all benefits, make connections, and leverage the NSA partnership.

But for most speakers just starting out, the same investments in dedicated practice, education, and relationship building could be made for much less upfront cost through alternative means. As with any big professional investment, carefully analyze what value you expect to gain compared to alternatives before making the commitment.

5 Key Questions to Ask Before Joining the NSLS

If you are considering the NSLS, here are 5 important questions to reflect on first:

  1. Are the costs truly within your budget, or will they create financial strain?
  2. Will you realistically utilize all the main benefits like in-person events, coaching calls, etc?
  3. Can you dedicate the time and effort needed to maximize value from the program?
  4. Have you compared the benefits to alternative training options?
  5. Do you already have experience and a body of content showing existing speaking potential?

If you can comfortably answer YES to all these questions, the NSLS may offer you some unique benefits. But if NO or UNSURE is more true for you, carefully consider if it’s the right investment before jumping in.

Conclusion

The NSA Speaker Lab makes big promises to aspiring speakers looking to turn their passion into a profession. But a closer look reveals mixed value that may not live up to the hype.

While the NSLS has some benefits, especially for total novices, the high price tag and sales pressure tactics warrant caution. Alternatives like joining Toastmasters, taking an affordable course, and networking independently offer more control and lower risk.

If you approach the NSLS with eyes wide open about the pros and cons, you can determine if it aligns with your budget and goals. But most speakers are better served by investing directly in their skills, experience, and brand on their own terms.

I hope this thorough analysis provides the framework needed to make an informed decision about whether the National Speakers Association’s Speaker Lab is worth it for you. What do you think about the NSLS controversy? I welcome your comments and insights below!

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