I’m regularly asked who my favorite comedians are. To be honest, my favorite comedians change. I love Ellen. And I love Dane Cook. And I love Bill Cosby.

But I just saw another of my favorites on a DVD: comedian Eddie Izzard in his DVD Definite Article.

I’m tellin’ ya, he’s a genius! And histerical. I love that he is often so completely surreal. And that he is such a great actor…. in his own goofy way. (Eddie acts out his jokes to the nth degree… his jokes are funny, but his “act outs” are awesome.

And I love his “chatty” style. It just seems that he is talking to his audience. Sure, it is prepared comedic material. But it appears so natural. So… chatty.

If you’re a fan of comedy. If you’re a fan of humor, and are willing to think… check out one of Eddie Izzard’s shows.

Clean Corporate Comedian? Click here for my stuff.
Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Government Speaker, Fan of Eddie Izzard

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In this podcast, Brad Montgomery and fellow Motivational Humorist Speaker Scott Friedman interview (yet a third motivational humorist speaker) Craig Zablocki. Besides being a very funny fellow, Craig has a bunch of experience talking with victim’s groups… he is a pro at humor and grief.

Among the many fascinating points Craig makes is that humor and pain are in many ways related.

The most basic connection between laughter and crying is that just like laughter, crying feels good; it’s cathartic. But crying and laughter are related for other reasons. For example, Craig notes that when we are laughing or crying we are very much “in the moment.” We are focused on the here and now.

One of the problems with folks who have suffered a loss is that their minds are so often pointed right back to that loss or event. They are understandably fixated and pre-occupied on the source of their pain. So when these people cry (or laugh) it is a very positive step. It is a chance for them, at least for that time, to be back “in the moment.” They get a break from their loss and can be focused on the here and now. It’s a great step.craig zablocki

Craig also points out that when we are crying (or laughing) there is no ego. We are just there… crying. And for many people that step is amazing.

In addition, Craig connects this concept to his experience being a motivational speaker at Columbine High School in Colorado (the site of a terrible student shooting.)

Thanks Craig. Next time I say, “I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry” it will mean a whole new thing.
Reach Craig Zablocki at http://www.positivelyhumor.com

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Humor Expert, Student of the Relationship Between Humor & Grief

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I’m sitting in United seat 11F (Economy Plus? How Cool is That?!) on my way back from a fabulous time speaking to the Maine Hospital Association in Rockport, Maine.

What can I say? It was a total pleasure to work with these hard-working Health Care professionals, administrators, and leaders.

They asked me to present a humorous motivational speech targeted towards this particular group. They wanted me to make them laugh, while at the same time reminding them about the wonderful power of humor; and reminding them to use humor when they get back to their hospitals.

If they had half as much fun as I did we should be great.

Hey Maine Hospital Association! A favor? What did YOU get out of today’s program? What were the “AHA’s” you took away? I’d love to hear from you. Care to comment below?

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Health Care Speaker, Fan of All Things Maine

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I recently did my motivational humorist gig for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas. I had a total blast for a dozen reasons. First of all, the group (actually groups… we did five speeches for a total of 1800 employees for their appreciation event) was wonderful. What a fun group of hard-working health insurance people.

But one of my favorite parts of working with these good people in Topeka, Kansas was getting to visit with their President and CEO, Mike Mattox. He is clearly a very smart man, and is clearly good at his job. And his staff seem to geninuely appreciate him. But what liked best about him is that he had enough self confidence that he was willing to poke fun at himself. When he spoke at the meeting he made jokes about himself and about the company. And at one point even put on a clown nose (which he confessed was WAY out of his comfort zone.)

clown noses

Do YOU think leadership and personal risk taking are related? Think you gotta stretch your comfort zone to achieve? You betcha. And Mike’s ability and willingness to DEMONSTRATE that he is a very likable human must be part of his success as a corporate leader. Thanks Mike. Great job. (And yup, the nose is great… you look very cool. No really. Just great.)

Need some humor in YOUR workplace? Consider learning from Mike Mattox and start taking yourself less seriously.

Brad Montgomery
Humor in the Workplace Motivational Speaker, Corporate Clown

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Yesterday I had the good fortune to present my motivational seminar to some good folks in the USDA FOREST SERVICE in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

There were two main groups represented: Acquisition and Budget. And there were folks from all around New Mexico: they didn’t know each other well at all.

They asked me to talk about humor, and to tie in humor to their workplace. Right after my motivational seminar they were going to design some new budgeting processes and would have to work together as a group… and they wanted me to help to get them into the right frame of mind. Cooperation. Teamwork. Humor.
It was fun to be a part of that event: like so many groups that don’t know each other well, they were resistant and hesitant. But by the end, there were smiles on their faces, and the tone in the room was much lighter. Yes, they still had work to do, but hopefully they were more ready to do it from a place of trust.

My favorite part of the program was when we were doing some interactive improv games to make a point about processes. I asked for volunteers, and although a couple did volunteer, we could not get a third. It was uncomfortable.

Instead of avoiding the obvious — that nobody wanted to help — I stopped the program and called attention to it. I labeled the tone in the room. I said somethin’ like, “What would we have to change in this room before we could all feel more safe taking even small risks like taking part in this improv exercise?” And then the follow up…

“Does this reluctance to get involved carry over to your work? Does it make your work harder? What do YOU need to to within yourself to change it?”

I’m telling ya… it was cool stuff.

USDA Forest Service… A Favor? What is it that YOU took away from the program. What “Aha” did you get from our seminar? Would you leave a comment (below?)

Thanks so much for having me.
Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Humor Expert, Forest Service Junkie!

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We asked out seven-year-old kid, Ben, to draw a picture of himself. He thought about it, and said, “I need a mirror.”
I love that he thinks he is a good enough artist that a mirror would help. Guess what? He made a drawing of himself and it was fine. (Didn’t look like him… but it was great.) But what if I asked you, an adult, to draw a picture of yourself? Would you do it?

The amazing thing is that I have $10 that says YOU are a better artist than Ben. Yet Ben thinks he is a great artist, and (I’m guessing here) that you think you aren’t good at art. Whats up with that? Care to comment? Kids have a lot to teach us.

More of my family here

Brad Montgomery
Dad, Motivational Keynote Speaker, Budding Artist

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Yup… well… nope… well… It’s a long story:

I am just back from Florida where I was a humorist motivational speaker for a group of quality improvement organizations related to health care. It was a health care improvement conference (boringly named) TRI-Regional. :) ) (These are the good folks who work hard to make sure that our hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care providers do a great job, are cost efficient, proved top quality health care, etc.

Here is a photo of me and Lisa, their awesome (and totally voluntary) meeting planner.meeting planner

It was a weird job for so many reasons; the main reason was that my clients confided in me a couple of hours before I was to go on stage that the convention was to be shut down. This convention with a 29-year history was to be no more. They were shutting down.

This was big news; most of the people in the audience were sad. They would miss the convention and what it stood for: an exchange of valuable information, and a way to connect to others in this very difficult industry. And they would miss contact with peers who had become close friends.   And besides… it was in Florida.  (Even if it was in the height of June. :))
When they planned when to put my openning keynote, my clients were thinking, as amazing at it seems, of me. They were worried that if they announced this horrible news before my keynote speech the room would still be in shock, and I’d bomb. The speech would be a disaster.  They didn’t want me to feel that kind of pressure.

But after a huddled meeting about our choices, at my suggestion we agreed to put my my opening speech immediately after the bad-news announcement. We did it for two reasons. First, no matter how good I did at building the energy, excitement, and enthusiasm for them and their conference, the announcement AFTER my speech would just crash the energy. The conference attendees would forget me and what I taught them about taking themselves lightly. They would just come down.

But the second reason we agreed to put me first, is that it would give me a chance to to improve the energy. Yes, they would crash when they heard this was the last conference. Yes they would be sad. Yes they would be preoccupied and  thinking, “What does this mean for me?” But I’d have a chance to look that negative energy in the eye, label it, call attention to it, mock it, joke with and about it… and work on looking past it. I’d have a chance to spin the bad news into something manageable. Something that we might even face with grace, professionalism, and yes, even humor.

I’m so glad we did it that way. It was one of the most bizarre and difficult audiences I’ve had in the past few years. They were absolutely SILENT I first got on stage. I’m tellin’ ya… they were practically like a funeral audience.  They were freaked out. They were NOT in a mood for laughing.

Think of it… They announce some bad news that makes everybody sad… and some people REALLY sad, and then say, “Now here’s a funny motivational speaker!!” Can you imagine?

But from the first minute on stage, I called attention to the news, and even poked fun at it. And then, over the next wonderful 90 minutes we all got the chance to look at it from different perspectives, to begin the healing, and yup.. we even laughed. We laughed a lot.

Afterwards the energy in the hall was hoping. Folks were laughing, smiling, chatting, and snacking. Sure, they were talking about the news, but they were talking about it from a positive place.

In the end I was thrilled. It was great to be part of that group, even if only for the day. And it was great to be used by my client in (what I thought) was a place where I could really do some good.  It was great to be used in a place where I had a chance to make a difference.
We all had a good time; and in spite of that difficult assignment, I had at least as much fun as the rest of them. What a blast!

Hey Tri-Regional… a favor? What did YOU get out of my motivational keynote speech? What were your “AHA” moments? What did you take away? Leave me a comment below…

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Health Care Speaker, Professional Turn-the-Bad-News-Around-Guy

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The sign reads: “Brad and Angelina are having a baby and I need money for a gift.”

I’d give his some money… would you?

How does this apply to you? Glad you asked.

This guy SURELY gets more money because of his funny sign then he would with a more typical “I’m down on my luck” sign. For him (I’m CERTAIN) humor works. It helps him reach his bottom line.

Yet I speak to groups across the country that fail to see the value of humor in their business. I’m amazed. Of course people prefer to do business with people they like. And lucky you, people like people who make them laugh (or smile, or grin or….)

Go get out there and take yourself — and your business — less seriously. And you’ll get more of what YOU want… you’ll improve your bottom line too.

Brad Montgomery
Humor in the Workplace Expert, Motivational Keynote Speaker, Fan of Humorous Business People

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Thought you’d like this quote:

By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong. 
˜Charles Wadsworth

Happy Father’s Day

I’m lucky for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that when I’m in town I often have at least on of my kids in my office.
speaker staff:  Paige
Yup, sometimes they are a pain. Sometimes I’m desperately saying “Shhhhh! Daddy is on the phone!” But on my good days I realize that everybody should be so lucky as to have a five year old kid drawing while lazing about in the window’s sun.

It’s a great reminder of how we need to enjoy what we have; we need to enjoy the moment. I’m sure in the blink of an eye she’ll hate hanging out in the office. But for now…

I’m a lucky man.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Humorist, Dad

More of my Family here.

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