Want to make your office more fun, but don’t have the dough of the big guys? (No Budget!—No Bull)
What does your dream job look like? Well, I love my job, but I have to admit that my office is a tad short in the playground-supply category.

Enter Red Bull and these awesome photos of their offices. fun at the office

Ok, so these guys have some serious dough to invest in their work culture. That’s cool… if you got it spend it. And if you’re gonna spend it at the office, I’m all for increasing level of lightness, creativity, morale and spontaneity.

But what about those of out there without the required millions to invest in our workplace and work culture? What can YOU do? Glad you asked. Here’s three things you can do — on any budget — to improve your sense of humor in the workplace.

• Bring some toys (Koosh Balls, Play-Doh, and a ton of Pipe Cleaners) to your next meeting. Encourage your people to play, fidget, and generally goof off while they are are the meeting.

• Have a lottery or raffle and raffle off a bunch of fairly worthless or at least low-value stuff. For example, you can raffle off a free cup of coffee, a “shiny” dime, an extra 7 minutes for lunch, a mint tooth pick, a coupon for 55¢ off Grape Jelly, and maybe a lunch out with the boss. And if you like (and you can swing it with the boss) you can arrange for a better prize like a gift card or maybe letting the winner go home an hour or two early.

• Create a ritual where on the anniversary of your first day at work, you are required to wear a sign around your neck that says, “Anniversary!” Then everybody else in the office has to chip in 50¢ or a buck each and that money is gifted to the person celebrating the anniversary. Their instructions are to have a killer lunch, or to take their spouse out to dinner that night. Good news: a cash bonus courtesy of your peers. Bad news? You gotta wear that stupid sign!

My point? Humor in the workplace and a positive work culture doesn’t have to be expensive. If you can afford it, buy a slide like Red Bull. But if you can’t buy new furniture and re–do the stairs, you can still raise the morale at work. It’s easy, it’s cheap, and it’s well within your grasp.

So… what are you waiting for? Go do it!

Have more ideas? Share them with me! Leave a comment.

Learn more about my humor in the workplace seminars, keynotes and motivational speeches here.

Brad Montgomery
Humor in the Workplace Consultant, Speaker, and Sliding-Board Enthusiast

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , Del.icio.us Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I recently worked in Beaver Creek Colorado (an awesome ski resort) with Financial Network Investment Corporation, (from Broomfield, Colorado.) My client, Gus Fox-Smith flattered me with this very cool audio testimonial.

I’m flattered.

Why do financial and banking audiences need funny motivational speakers? Why do these serious folks need humorists? It amazes me that these groups don’t invest in bringing humor to their meetings more than they do, as I’m convinced that this group needs humor AT LEAST as much as other audience.

But sometimes I think that groups who work hard in industries that are filled with pressure and stress need more humor and most.

In any case it was a hoot.

“Really funny guy.” Had a fantastic message about bringing humor and lightness into your life.”

“I would book him in a minute.”

Click here to HEAR gus.

You rock, Gus! It was a blast.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Colorado Speaker, Financial Speaker

Technorati Tags: , , , , Del.icio.us Tags: , , , ,

Here’s a killer idea to improve the humor in your workplace courtesy of one of my clients, the Florida Department of Revenue.

They have “Anniversary Day.” It’s a killer idea in a good news / bad news format, … and you should steal it.

Somebody made up a tacky sign that says, “It’s my anniversary” on it. It’s made out of cardboard, has a string, and is meant to be warn around the neck like a necklace on the anniversary of the day that you started work at that office.

That’s the Bad News.

What’s the good news? Everybody else in the office has to give the Anniversary person a dollar on that day. They can use it to treat themselves to a lunch, or to a killer dinner with their spouse… whatever.
Of course, by the end of the year, you haven’t lost anything or gained anything… it’s a wash. But on your anniversary day, you get to FEEL rich. And on everybody else’s anniversary day you get to tease them about the dorky sign.

Result? More humor in the workplace, increased morale, and more fun. Net cost to the office, the managers, and the CEO? Zippo. Nada. Zilch.

All you need is:

1. Find (or elect!) somebody who is willing to make up that sign and you’re ready to rock. (So for those of you whining that your boss won’t enable you to incorporate any of these great ideas, you’re out of excuses here. : ) So stop your whining and get your craft supplies out and get started.
2. Find (or elect!) somebody to create and send a memo and send it to the troops. Get your boss to sign off on it, and you’re good to go. Don’t know how to write a decent memo? Don’t know what it should say? No sweat… I’ve done it for you. Click this link and we’ll GIVE you the memo for free! (Golly… this is easy!)

In pdf format: Anniversary-Memo.Pdf
In Microsoft Word format: anniversary.doc

What are you waiting for! Make this ritual part of your office culture today.

Earn gifts for free and be famous! When your office incorporates this Humor in the Workplace technique here, email me photos and details. I’ll blog you and I’ll send you something for your time. (I’m talking free stuff!)

Check out my seminars, keynotes, and consulting about Humor in the Workplace here.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Humor In the Workplace Consultant, Loves to Feel Rich

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , Del.icio.us Tags: , , , , , , ,

For those of you who think free is good, (and who doesn’t?) I have a free offer for you:

Fellow funny Colorado motivational speaker and humorist Scott Friedman and I have put together something really cool. It’s a regular dose of motivation for those of you who agree with me when I say that regular doses of motivation and perspective is crucial.

Every two weeks, subscribers will get a short (3 – 5 minute audio) of motivation, humor, and perspective delivered right to their email. It’s called Hooked On Humor.

But here’s the good news: it’s nearly done. But not quite.

So, in the mean time, we’ve made a sample of the series of these motivational audios available for free.

Get your free motivational motivational audio here: www.HumorJumpStart.com

Cheers!

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Humorist Keynote Speaker, Giver Away of Free Motivational Audios!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , Del.icio.us Tags: , , , , ,

—-> WIN A FREE BOOK! < ----- Here's your chance to: 1. Win a Free Book. 2. Get your questions answered. 3. Be famous! I'm always eager to make sure that what I cover on my blogis exactly what you find valuable (or fun.) I'll be answer a limited number of questions on the blog, and the questions I actually use will earn their "asker" (is that a word?) a free copy of one of my electronic books. (Valued at $15 or more, depending on what I send.) We won't limit the number of winners... but we'll only select great questions, so make 'em good. Send you questions about: 1. Speaking 2. Humor (and comedy) Techniques 3. Stress and humor 4. Humor and the workplace 5. Comedy and Comedians 6. Magic and magicians 7. The business of speaking, comedy, etc 8. Other speakers, entertainers, etc .... Whatever! There is no wrong question.... and if we pick yours you win a fee book! Answers AND prizes? How Cool is That?! Send your questions/entries to: pick-me "AT" bradmontgomery.com {put in the right "@" sign... unless you're a spammer.] or leave a comment below. Note: If you want us to post your questions anonymously, no sweat. Just let us know. Brad

On the way home from a speakers date in Florida, I saw a called “The Prestige, ” in which the director demanded authenticity. And because there were a couple of characters in the moviemagicians in prestige that were magicians, this concept meant intensive coaching by prominent magicians and even more intensive practice in sleight of hand and the magical arts.

The star of the movie is Christian Bale, who came up with some profound thoughts about the art of magic, and the importance of keeping the magical secrets. Oddly, his point starts with the “Behind the Scenes” bits on the extras sections of DVDs. Bale argues that they, “Give us too much, and it destroys the mystery somewhat.” And that if they show us the cast and crew and all of the juicy bits, we destroy the full effect of the movie.

He takes this concept one step further with his studies to become a magician. “I was particularly intrigued b the sleight of hand tricks. He argues, as does apparently the movie, that once people learn the secret of the trick they are disappointed. I’ve got one thing to say: Hallelujah.

As a professional magician, I’ve had my ups and downs with exposing secrets. I used to guard secrets like gold; then went through a phase where I realized that the “entertainment” and “entertainer” are way more important than any little old secret. But I’ve come full circle back to the strong philosophy that the inner workings of magic tricks need to remain secret, or else we fail our audience.

Magic has a fairly unique ability to create a strong emotional experience. And when we reveal that the secret is a hidden fork-lift in your sleeve (Hey! You don’t expect me to give away real secrets, do you?) the effect is ruined. As a guy who has been a magician my entire adult life, (and most of my childhood), trust me when I say that the secrets are NEVER as good as the tricks. I’m with Christian Bale. Are you? Care to comment?

Check out my work as a professional magician & comedian here! (No secrets here!)

Brad Montgomery
Professional Magician, Comedian, Guard of Magicians’ Secrets

Technorati Tags: , , , Technorati Tags: , , ,

A fellow friend a professional speaker Bert Decker just wrote a cool article about self-confidence and public speaking. And….uses an example from the auditions at American Idol to make his point.

Maxwell Maltz found in Psychocybernetics that we ALL undermine ourselves, and I find that to be experientially true in observing many thousands of people under pressure. We are all better than we think we are, and would do well to show it.

Confidence is internalized from gaining skills with practice and feedback. And believing what we see. In the meantime, the “Act as if” principle is well served. William James said, “Do the act and the attitude will follow.”

Thanks Bert.

Here’s some in

See what I wrote about what American Idol has to teach professional public speakers and presenters here.

More info about my (confident?) professional public speaking.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Humorist, Closet American Idol Fan

Technorati Tags: , , , , Del.icio.us Tags: , , , ,

Mark Sharenbroich (based in Minnesota) is one of my favorite professional speakers and motivational humorists. He’s a rock star in the youth and school market, and is making some impressive tracks in the corporate world as well. No wonder… he’s terrific.minnesota speaker

Mark is a teacher and friend, and recently we had the chance to talk about the “impostor syndrome” and how we, as presenters, often worry the our audiences will “find us out” to be impostors.

Is there anybody in any job who has NOT had that experience? I doubt it. Which is why it’s fun to hear from extremely accomplished people to hear what THEY think about this concept.

This short free audio, you’ll get a sample of how even the most experience speakers and presenters can get “The Nervies.”

Thanks so much, Mark.

Check out my work as a motivational humorist speaker here.
Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Consultant, fan of Mark Sharenbroich

Technorati Tags: , , , , Del.icio.us Tags: , , , ,

What American Idol has to Teach Professional Speakers:
(Or: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Taylor, Carie, and Fantasia)

Okay, I admit it. I watched it. I ogled each week. I confess: I enjoyed American Idol. There, I said it. It’s not like I have a Clay Aiken action figure… at least not that I’ll admit.
However, if you’ll indulge me for just a bit, I’ll show you how American Idol can teach speakers a thing or two about rising to the top of the crowded and talented world of professional speaking.

Aside from the universally accepted wisdom of The Simpsons, Lessons from the FOX network have just gotta be few and far between, but there is something to be said for what American Idol can teach us as professional speakers. And that lesson is that talent and content are important, but in order to reach the top you need more: you need a unique and engaging personality. Let me explain.

Last season, I watched as the long lines of seventy thousand contestants were slowly trimmed down to the top thirty-two singing contestants; each of them dripping with talent. And then the top thirty two — all of whom I would pay money to see perform (well… I might pay a little…maybe…. ) — were trimmed down to a single winner. With so much talent, how could one winner be singled-out? The answer: State Primaries! Oh, that’s a different contest.

No… to win the American Idol you have to be hugely talented. And you need to pick out the right songs, and you need to be fun to watch. But talent isn’t enough; you also need to have a remarkable and unique individuality. And you’ve got to be able to showcase your original personality right alongside your talent. Your personality has to be visible to the audience.

Wanna be a great magician? Guess what? In order to separate yourself in a marketplace crammed with talented entertainers, you need to learn what those kids learned on prime time TV: rely on just your magic skills, tricks and “lines” and the Simon Cowells in your audience will call you “dreadful.” You’re voted off. You’re fired. You get the home version as a parting gift.

In case you have no idea what American Idol is because all you do is read The Economist and watch PBS — allow me to bring you into modern pop culture: Seventy thousand kids auditioned for a musical talent contest. The winner, the next American Idol, would be America’s next pop sensation. After several eliminations, the field was reduced to thirty-two finalists. Obviously, to get that far among such a huge talent pool means that the top thirty-two were special. They all had amazing voices, natural skill, and huge amounts of talent. They were all darn good.

But as we saw them compete, it was clear that some of them just didn’t have ” it.” Sure they were good, and a few of them were very good. All of those top thirty-two were outstanding. But most of them still left us wanting more. Why?

So I set out to find the missing piece of the puzzle. I studied them each week… I thought about their performances, and I talked about them with my family. (After all, nobody’s gonna admit they watch the show to people who aren’t family.) I read commentary. I checked the website. And one fact became obvious: I need a hobby.

But seriously, the more I watched, the more I realized I had watched most of the contestants before. Well, not them, but their acts. They were very good imitators of pop stars that have come before, ie. Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Elton John. They danced just right. They shut their eyes at touching moments and clenched their fists during intense lyrics. They were just the right type of cool and hip. They looked at the camera, worked the crowd, and said all the right things. But to me — and apparently the rest of the audience that eventually voted them all off the show — it was mostly just over-planned, over-practiced choreography. It was just shtick they thought made them look like a pro. It wasn’t unique. It wasn’t special. And most importantly it wasn’t real. It was just young people trying hard to act how they thought a pop music star is supposed to act. It reminded me of myself early in my career when I tried to mimic Nate Liepzig’s accent. But I digress.

In the end, a young man named Taylor Hicks was named American Idol 2006. He was as talented as the rest; I thought he was fantastic. But more than his musical skills, his personality was unique and refreshing. He didn’t cover up the real Taylor with some made-up version of a rock star. He did not resemble another contestant or imitate another celebrity. He didn’t have any rehearsed-looking gestures or moves. He was himself. And now he is number one. Sure, he had tons of talent, but so did the rest of those young singers. Sure, he was rehearsed, prepared and coached. But so were the rest of the group. The reason Taylor Hicks won was because he was the singer who was the best at being himself on stage. His distinctive and one-of-a- kind personality — and his ability to show us this personality — set him apart.

Of course the other finalists had personalities, but they didn’t know how to make their individuality available to us. They never let themselves come THROUGH. We never saw them… we only saw the rehearsed and prepared version of a rock star they wanted us to see.

American Idol offers a huge lesson to us as professional presenters. Too often speakers (and even entertainers) cannot make it past the finalist stage. They have the talent. They have the skills. They know how to do the trick, pause just so, and to work a crowd. They might even be able to make you cry or make you laugh. Whatever. But without the ability to showcase a unique and individual personality they never progress beyond that. They have the same clothes, gestures, stories, and expressions as other “stars” who came before them. But they fail to go on to the final round because they have failed to speak with their own words… from their own self.

Think I’m wrong? Name your favorite celebrities in ANY field and you’ll find that they all have totally unique, definable, and likable personalities. For example, in the world of comedy consider Bill Cosby, Jay Leno, Ellen Degeneres, Billy Crystal, Chris Rock, and Herbert Finkle. Any of those stand out? Of course! Herbert Finkle…. He just copied other people’s style and material and never made a name for himself. The others didn’t follow anybody else’s road map. They don’t act like anybody else. They are just themselves — and we love them for it. They’ve created their own mold.

So what’s my point? In our pursuit of excellence in the magic and entertainment world, I’m suggesting that you work hard to define your own personality and work hard to make your unique, special and remarkable individualism show through to the audience. Yup. You gotta have skills, talent, and even shtick. But… if you’re gonna be on top… if you are going to avoid an insult from Simon Cowell … you’ve gotta be yourself. Just like Taylor.

Check out my work as a professional speaker and humorist to see if I can get my personality out there by clicking here.

Brad Montgomery
Professional Speaker, Comedian, and Closet Idol Fan


© Copyright 2007 Brad Montgomery Productions, (Denver, CO_


Brad Montgomery, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is a funny speaker and corporate magician. He is also a lousy singer. Using his own blend of hilarious humor as well as his award-winning magic, Brad reminds us that our lives are both fun and very funny. You can reach Brad at www.BradMontgomery.com
—-
Technorati Tags: , , , , Del.icio.us Tags: , , , ,

What’s Chafaning! (That’s an inside joke for the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, better known as CHFA. :) )
I just had the great luck to do my motivational speakers / humorist thing with the wonderful people at the Colorado Housing And Finance Authority. It was a total hoot for a dozen reasons. This is a team of hard-working folks who do their best for a group of people who need them most. They are a group that is ready to laugh and ready to have a good time. And today at our meeting at the Denver Athletic Club, we did both.

But I admit that as much fun as my job is, and as much as enjoy getting a group like this that works together but doesn’t always get a chance to laugh together, wiping the laughter-tears out of their eyes, my favorite part of the day was hearing about their traveling garden gnome.

This is a very cool idea, and I bet they would be flattered if you stole it and used it in your office to brighten up the humor quotient. Here’s the details for the corporate culture-building technique: Anybody in the office is encouraged to write cards “thanking” or “recognizing” their co-workers, bosses, employees, … anybody… for doing a good job, for something special, or for just doing anything noteworthy.

For example, there might be a card written for doing something over-the-top amazing like saving the company a ton of dough, or for helping cover the work when somebody is out sick, or maybe for just being good at your job. Each person who has a card written about them receives a token cash gift awarded at the end of the quarter. (The CHFA give each person either $5 or $10 depending on what you dreaw out of the “hat.” Which, as my grand father would say, is better than a sharp stick in your eye.) I was told that CHFA gives out about $400 per quarter — a small investment for morale.

Every two months, the managers and supervisors go through the cards and select what they see as the greatest one.  This is where the Garden Gnome comes in. That winner for the two month period is “awarded” the garden gnome to put on their desk for that period.

It’s fun. It’s funny. It’s inspirational. It’s morale building. And, best of all, it works. Humor in the workplace? Try “gnome in the workplace!” What an awesome example of a concrete idea that works wonders at one workplace and can easily be incorporated into your workplace.

Do you have a similar — or totally different — story about what happens at your work? Leave a comment.

Hey CHFA! What was the one A-HA you got out of our program there in Denver, Colorado? What did you learn? What will you do differently? Leave a comment.

Special offer for CHFA folks only! Get a free audio of Brad by clicking here.

And your meeting planner (and rock star) Alison Medina asked me to include a link to my books. (I’m flattered!) Thanks Alison. Click here for some cool stuff.

Thanks Chfians — (which is what you call folks from the Colorado Housing And Finance Authority.) I had a hoot.

Cheers!

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Humorist Speaker, Humor In the Workplace Consultant, Fan of Gnomes


Technorati Tags: , , , , , , Del.icio.us Tags: , , , , , ,