I am just back from Seattle, Washington where I had the good luck to speak to a group of Microsoft folks.

It went well. Really well. But for me one of the coolest things was watching the audience change from the beginning to the end of my program. They ended off great, smiling, laughing, and really appreciative. But to be honest, during my introduction and the first 2 or 3 minutes of my speech, they were skeptical at best. At worst? Some of them hated me. :)

Why? Why did this group… and so many groups today… hate the thought of a motivational speaker? And what changed their mind? Glad you asked.

Let’s face it, if you poll a group of modern corporate workers today and say, “Hey Everybody! How ’bout a motivational speaker!??!” nearly all of them will roll their eyes and groan. They don’t want to see a motivational speaker. They think they’ve seen it, and been there already.

Yet at the same time, I’m convinced that all of us can benefit from regular doses of motivation; we can benefit from an outsider help us see our lives and jobs from a different perspective.

So…. what does this mean for us? It means that we need to understand that our audiences have a healthy dose of skepticism. They are wary and not easily fooled by crappy speakers. (And let’s face it… there are plenty of crappy speakers.)

What’s the solution? In my case I think success comes with two components. First, humor. If they are laughing their butts off there is a pretty good chance they won’t boo you off the stage. So I work hard to be funny…. really funny.

Second, I work hard to be authentic and genuine. I don’t spend a bunch of time with cliche’s or other typical “motivational speaker” material. I believe deeply in what I’m saying, and that authenticness shows. The audience can see that I’m not trying to fake them out, and they respond. And they laugh even more.

If there is any doubt that folks are not tripping all over themselves to see a speaker, check out this video testimonial. It is a totally back-handed compliment, and I love it.

Thanks So Much, Microsoft.
You rock.

Check out the motivational keynote speech I did for Microsoft here.

Brad Montgomery
Humorist Motivational Speaker, Comedian Speaker, Authentic Comic

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I recently saw funny Georgia Speaker Roger Reese present a program on marketing for speakers.
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He made a zillion great points, but one of my favorites was that if we are selling apples, we need to offer the very best apple. Period.

What mistake many marketers, including speaker (including me!), we market to apple buyers by saying something like, “I’m an orange… and oranges are WAY better then apples.”

It’s hard enough to sell apples to apple buyers. It is way harder to sell oranges to apple buyers.

Speakers, for example, need to make sure that we are offering exactly what the buyers are looking for. If, for example in an internet search, buyers are searching for a “funny motivational speaker” and then find a website that says, “Change Management Speaker” they will click the BACK button faster than you can say, “no sale.”

The point? Make sure you are marketing the right product to the right people?. Sell your oranges to orange buyers and you’ll have a way easier time.

Roger! What a great presentation. What a great speech!

Thanks, my friend. It was great to learn from you.

Learn more about the apples and oranges that I sell here. (No, I don’t sell fruit! I’m a funny motivational speaker.)

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Marketer, Fan of Roger Reese

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Ken Futch is a funny Georgia Speaker I recently worked with in an event for the National Speakers Association in Atlanta. (They call themselves NSA-Georgia.)

I had the good fortune to see him present his killer (and funny) stories. He cracks me up! He’s charming, funny, self-depreciating, humorous and just one of the nicest guys you would want to meet.

One of the many things I appreciate about this funny speaker is the fact that he is able to tell pretty much ANY story and then connect that story to a learning point for his clients. In other words, he can tell the same story and connect it to leadership, or team building, or communication, ….. anything! (Well, probably not anything, but you get the idea.)

Ken reminds us that there is a HUGE difference between a “customized speech” and a “tailored speech.” And he is the king of tailoring his stories to fit his client’s needs.

What a great way to customize his programs for every clients while STILL assuring that he is presenting something that is high quality, polished, and professional.

Thanks Ken… it was a pleasure.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Humorist, Fan of Ken Futch

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I’m just back from Atlanta, Georgia where I was invited to teach members of the National Speakers Association – Georgia Chapter how to be better speakers.

What can I say? It was a blast. I had a great time visiting with some great speakers, some wonderful people, and some new friends.

I taught my Humor and Comedy Skills program called Got Mirth? Milking your program for all of the humor it is worth. Due to time constraints we didn’t get to it all, but we did cover some of my favorites.

But one of the audience favorites was when we talked about getting over the fear of humor failure. To sum up what I said about how to get over this fear and become a public speaker, it would be:
• When you think you are “failing” in front of an audience they might be loving you — but you think you’re failing.
• When You do fail with your humor (it’ll happen) it isn’t that bad! You have plenty of comedy (comedians fail all the time) and it isn’t the end of the world!
• If you do fail, there are plenty of techniques to use to “safe” face in front of your audience. One idea? Use comedians’ saver lines.

Thanks Georgia Speakers! It was a total pleasure being part of your team.

(check out my motivational inspirational humor speech here)

Brad Montgomery
(Sometimes) Georgia Speaker, Humorist, Teacher of Speakers

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As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I recently spoke to the National Speakers Association — Georgia Chapter where I taught them humor and comedy skills.

It was a total pleasure for several reasons, but perhaps the biggest reason was that I got to see and hang with my friend and Georgia speaker Jon Schwartz.

Jon is a funny guy.  He has a motivational humor program as an alter ego, New York Sopranos-style “goomba” Vinnie Verelli.  His character is funny, over the top, and often very wise.

Hanging with Jon is a blast.  He’s got a ready laugh and a infections smile.  But one of my favorite things about him is that he is frequently lapsing into one of his characters.  Maybe Vinnie.  Or a Frenchman.  Or the detective Columbo.  So you’re having this normal conversation with your friend when suddenly, like a Sybil, he switches personalities… and then is back again.  It’s fun.  It’s crazy.  I love it.

Like mine, Jon’s background is in entertainment.  And hanging with him reminds me of all my entertainer friends.  (Who I frankly don’t see enough of anymore.)   I remember one totally crazy night when, after a job YEARS ago, I went to grab a  beer with a mime, a balloon artist, and two magicians.  All of us in costume.  We had a laughfest — and got some great service.

Anyhow, Jon’s a rock star, and one of my favorite Georgia Speakers.

Thanks Jon.

{Check out my work as a motivational humorist here.}

Cheers,

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Comedian & Humorist, Fan of Vinnie Verelli

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This letter is going around the ‘net, but I thought it was funny enough to post it — even though I didn’t write it.

The point is obvious: lighten up and take yourself less seriously.

Wouldn’t it be fun to write a letter like this to your BOSS? :)

A father passing by his daughter’s bedroom was astonished to see the bed nicely made up and everything neat and tidy. Then he saw an envelope propped up prominently on the pillow. It was addressed, “Dad. With the worst of premonitions going through his mind, he opened the envelope and read the letter with trembling hands:

Dear Dad,

It is with great regret and sorrow that I’m writing you. I had to elope with my new boyfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with you and Mom. I’ve been finding real passion with John and he is so nice. I knew you would not approve of him because of all his piercings, tattoos and his motorcycle clothes.

I know he is much older than I am but it’s not only the passion; Dad, I’m pregnant. John says that we are going to be very happy. He owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood, enough for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children.

John has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn’t really hurt anyone. We’ll be growing it and trading it with the other people in the commune for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want. In the meantime, we’ll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so John can get better; he sure deserves it!

Don’t worry Dad, I’m 15 years old now and I know how to take care of myself. Someday, I’m sure we’ll be back to visit so you can get to know your grandchildren.

Your daughter, Julie

P.S. Dad, none of the above is true. I’m over at Samantha’s house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the Report card in my desk drawer. I love you! Call when it is safe for me to come home.

I’m telling ya, this is an excellent opportunity for you to use humor next time you screw up at work. Write a mock letter about all the things that you messed up big time… then say, “Just kidding, but I messed up an order today.”

Love it.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speakers: Humorists!

Caramels or Whining. Your choice.
or: What does juice have to do with happiness?

As I tell my audiences, one technique we can use to enjoy our lives, our jobs, and our families more is to CHOOSE to enjoy them more. We can make the choice to have fun. What’s that got to do with juice and caramels? Glad you asked.

Very recently my ten year old daughter got diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. I knew nearly nothing about diabetes 60 days ago. Now I’m pretty darned educated about the disease and can sum up my extensive new knowledge in these two words: diabetes sucks. It does, it really does. Badly.

My fourth grader’s life has changed. Now she gets three shots a day, something that makes even some toughened rugby players get squeamish. She stabs her little fingers five to ten times a day for a blood test to see what her blood sugar is.

And to top it off, she has to watch what and when she eats. Her life has changed. Our entire family has changed.
It’s a huge loss, and my wife and are bummed. (Being “bummed” about diabetes is a little like being “disappointed” with the plague. Anyway…) We are sad about our loss of freedom as a family. We’ve lost a lot of flexibility. But most of all, we’re sad about what this disease means for our daughter in the long run. What does this mean regarding babysitters? Summer camp? College? Marriage? Childbirth? And on and on. The big picture is manageable, but it isn’t all that great of a picture. It’s way better than a million possible medical problems because it is “manageable.” But it is also a million times worse than not having it at all.

But the disease has been a learning experience for me.

When our kid’s blood sugar is low, it needs to be immediately raised to prevent some fairly serious potential problems. (Can you say “seizure?” Bleck.) The correction is easy… she eats caramels or drinks juice, and she’s fine.

When she tests her blood and discovers a “low,” her mom and I spring into action. “We need to get that glucose up! Stat! Let’s go! Now!” We’re trying to avoid the crisis.

But when Claire has a low, she is delighted. “I get juice!”

You see, her mom and I don’t give her much juice. So when she gets to go to the cupboard and pick out one of the flavors that she selected at the grocery store, she’s jazzed. The only thing better, in her little-girl opinion, is to have caramels instead.

When her blood sugar is low her Mom and I say, “Oh no!” But all she says is, “Berry Berry!”

When it comes to Diabetes, my wife and I are focused on the long-term fears and the short term inconveniences, of which there are many. But our daughter is focused on the good things that have come out of it: the cool water bottle the hospital gave her, the extra attention she gets from everybody from her parents to the school nurse, the fact that she is suddenly “special” in her class, and the fact that—when she gets low— she gets a piece of candy or a box of juice. Claire loves the fact that she is the ONLY fourth-grader at the school who has a whole bag of caramels in her desk that she is allowed to eat in class, WITHOUT SHARING!

How cool is that?!

Don’t get me wrong. She isn’t always an angel. She complains and whines some of the time. But for the most part, Claire’s willingness to just accept the disease is amazing. Two weeks ago, Claire told me this: “Daddy, I think diabetes is good because life is boring if it is too much the same. And diabetes is something new. So that makes it good.”

Now I don’t mean to brag, but I’m WAY more educated than my kid. I’ve read more, thought more and seen more. I understand the seriousness of this crappy disease better than she does. I KNOW that diabetes sucks. I’m positive.

But guess what? I’m an idiot and Claire is a genius. She gets it. GETS it. She understands that whether or not we chose this disease, it is here to stay. Our only choice is how we are going to deal with it. Are we going to whine about it or are we going to choose to enjoy the juice and the caramels?

It’s such a simple idea that is often difficult to execute: when we are presented with stuff we would never choose for ourselves our only choice is to freak out about it or to do our best to enjoy it. So easy. Yet so difficult.

I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna go with my daughter. Pass the juice and toss me a caramel.

(Learn more how you can hire funny motivational speakers here.)

Related Article about Claire Speaking at a Diabetes Fund Raiser Here.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Comedian, Proud Daddy

Karyn Buxman is a California based, terrific speaker, humorist, nurse, and good friend. She is humorist Karyn Buxman also a mom.

In this shorter podcast, Karyn tells us how her 16 year old son (who is also a manager) used a sense of humor to solve a problem with an unhappy customer at the McDonalds he was managing.

He used some humor and theatrics to help defuse a stressful situation.

Basically, after trying to make an unhappy customer happy and failing to make any difference, he was asked to “get the manager.” Well, as I said, he IS the manager. So he turned around, threw up his hands, and turned back to face the customer. “How can I be of service?”

The result… a positive experience for him, for the customer (and I suppose for McDonalds.

Enjoy this podcast. Thanks Karyn!

Check out my keynotes, speeches and seminars on Humor and the Workplace here…. no hamburgers required!
Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Humorist, Keynoter, and Fan of Karyn Buxman

A recent article in the National Speakers Association newsletter Speak Up quoted a few of my pals; fellow humorists and motivational speakers as they discussed humor and being funny.

One of the coolest parts of this good article as a list of Funny Action Items. I’ll reprint them in this blog.

If you are interested in learning how to become a motivational speaker or comedian, then this list is for you.

1. Read and watch comedians and speakers. Study their timing and craftsmanship.

2. Don’t expect to by hysterical. There are other ways to engage and entertain and audience if comedy isn’t your natural gift.

3. Focus on segues. Once you have a strong funny story or joke, find a way to smoothly transition into and out of the joke or story.

4. Use quotes from seasoned comics, with attribution, of course.

5. Instead of delivering jokes, use humorous photos, video, props or audience interaction.

6. Build on your strengths. Start simple. Grow your confidence over time.

If you are interested in learning how to become a motivational speaker or comedian, then this list is for you.

Check out my humorous keynotes and motivational speeches here.

Brad Montgomery
Humorist, Motivational Speaker, Student of Comedy Techniques

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