Category Archives: Professional Speaking

Buying a headset for your PC

A few weeks ago I gave a fun presentation on hardware and software (and other stuff) for a home office.  It was fun because the career coaches in the room were taking notes they could take back to their clients who were interested in starting a home-based business, OR settling in for a serious job search.

One of the things I recommend you get is a headset that plugs into the computer that becomes, essentially, your phone. I use Skype as my phone service but my headset allows me to have hands free discussions… this is critical so I can give webinars, take notes, etc.  Also, I spend a lot of time on the phone and I don’t want my arm or neck to get tired.

While I was gone I had some work done in my office and was ultimately out of my office for about a month (yes, it sucked).  While out, one of my kids found my headset and played with it (translation: broke it).

This isn’t the first headset that I’ve had broken.  The first one was a nice, light, comfortable headset that plugged into the PC – you know, in those little round holes made for the mic and speakers?

When I replaced it I got a USB headset that plugs into a USB port… I liked this because I have a USB port on the front of my PC and the audio jacks are on the back, so I get some extra cord length.

I went to buy a replacement headset and my ONLY criteria was USB.  I knew I’d find what I wanted for around $30… I got it at Target just in time to jump on a webinar, and learned there was another very critical thing I didn’t think about:


The headset I bought didn’t have a mute button… and that absolutely won’t work for what I do (lots of live webinars/teleseminars/radio interviews) and my environment (home office with lots of noise/activity).

So now my criteria for a headset includes:

  1. Price – around $30,
  2. USB – for more cord length,
  3. mute button

I got all that and I’m good to go! Hopefully this one lasts longer than a year (not because of the device but because of all the ways I can accidentally crush it :p).

Are You A Speaker? Here’s A Group To NOT Join

I started my speaking career shortly after my book came out.  I didn’t think I would become a speaker, but the first money offer was a real eye-opener.

I learned about the International Speakers Network from… I don’t remember. I probably googled something about speakers and found them.  I was intrigued, got on their mailing list, and thought they provided good stuff.

I was particularly encouraged by a list of speaking opportunities they were looking for speakers for.  Each time I saw the list I thought “man, I gotta be an insider here – these guys are obviously finding good jobs, and I might qualify for one!”  I also thought that my topic was unique enough (it isn’t anymore) that they might be able to drum up business just for me.  I remember in their emails they had lists of companies that I thought they were prospecting, or marketing their members to.

I eventually decided to join their organization. At the time $525 was a big investment for my new company, but I knew that one gig would pay that back tenfold.  I knew it was one-time, lifetime, and probably non-refundable.

Shortly after I joined it seemed the nature of the newsletters stopped.  Since then I remember ONE email that had speaking opportunities, and I don’t remember any more that had lists of “here’s the conferences or companies we are prospecting.”  Instead, every email seems to be a reminder to sign up for one of their conferences (in Tennessee) or buy their marketing services (to make a one-page or other marketing material speakers use).

It just isn’t what I thought it would be.  I know they’ll see me forever-more as a thorn in their side, but I have to say it, and if any speaker asks me, I’ll tell them:

“Don’t spend money on an ISN membership.  It isn’t worth it.  I’ve gotten zero value out of it.”

Have you had a different experience ?  I’m happy to let you share yours.  When ISN reads this they are welcome to send their members here to leave their own testimonials of the value of ISN.  I’d like to hear them.