Executives, entrepreneurs, artists, and other business people who get famous find that new opportunities become available to them. Are you curious about how people get famous, what they do to continually distinguish themselves in their fields, and what new opportunities have opened up for them?
This is the first in a series of stories about how people have become famous in their industry sectors. Our first story is about Steve Rousso, a partner at Wipfli LLP/HFS Consultants. Steve specializes in finance and reimbursement issues for hospitals and clinics including Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).
The following is my conversation with Steve about how he rose to prominence in his field.
Describe what you do.
I assist hospitals and clinics in reimbursement issues, licensing and certification issues, and all aspects of PPS.
How and why did you get to be well known?
A couple of things, but the main one was I do a lot of public speaking for associations. I’ve done 40 to 50 speeches in the last 10 years. I’ve also conducted a dozen webinars. All the information that the sponsoring organization sends out prior to the speech, results in free advertising. People see my name.
One important thing I realized was if you know the information really well, it is comfortable to give a speech to 10,000 people. I couldn’t do that about an industry that I don’t know. So knowledge of the industry is really important.
How did you get involved in public speaking?
Twenty-three years ago the California Healthcare Association asked me to give a speech. I had a few months to prepare. That launched my speaking career. I was nervous and decided to be extremely well prepared on the topic I was asked to talk about. That has become one of my strategies now, to speak on subjects that I have to learn more about. It’s a forced learning experience! I volunteer to speak on subjects I need to learn more about.
Next I had to learn the art of speaking. It turned out to be fun after I did it. You are selling yourself and your knowledge. If you work hard enough to be an expert, you are an expert, and people come to you for information and help.
What are the benefits of being well known?
The most important thing is it helps the firm. People contact you because they perceive you know the answer. “I heard you speak 5 years ago. I saw your webinar. We need help.” I’ve received so many calls from clinics and hospitals. People call you because they have observed you as an expert. Seeing you speak is the way to get them to feel that they know you.
What was your inspiration to become a speaker?
My brother is a national speaker. I watched him give a two-hour talk to 2,000 people without ever once looking at his notes. That inspired me. I wanted to be like him.
What is your advice for people starting out?
The first thing I have to say is to make sure you like what you do. If you like what you do, it comes across when you speak. People can sense it. They can sense the confidence. If you like what you do, everything will fall into place. Research in your respective industry and constant learning is essential.
The most important roadblock you have to get over is yourself! So, get over it and get to work building your knowledge base.
Another important thing I learned is that it’s all in your head. If you think you are confident, you are confident.
So my advice is to like what you do, research the subject, and then go talk about it with confidence!
Is there a downside to being well known?
Sometimes there are too many phone calls, emails, and too many potential engagements to respond to. It’s important to be able to respond, and to make every client feel that they are the most important, even when you are interacting with 50 or 60 other clients. Remember, they value your expertise, and just want you.
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