One of the things I love most about visiting with other comedians and motivational speakers is hearing stories about what went wrong.

And trust me, a lot goes wrong. And often it is very funny… if you’re willing to let the pain subside.

Case in point is my Utah speaker pal, Doug Nielsen. At the recent convention of the National Speakers Association in San Diego, California, Doug told me about a speaking event where he was stung by a wasp.

During his program.

Without any warning or provocation.

On his lip.

doug nielson, motivational speaker

Yeah, on his lip. How funny is that! He apparently was working on stage when a wasp pretty much dive-bombed him and stung him on the lip. He is a pro, so he pretty much ignored it and kept with the Show Must Go On attitude. He kept working, ignoring the pain.

But little by little the lip hurt more and more, and it started to swell. The bug, after all, got him on the soft tissue.

I meet hundreds of people each year who ask me how to become a motivational or public speaker. And what cracks me up is that these good folks assume that this job is filled with glamor, ease, and joy.

Many times that’s true. Many times this job is that and more. But more times than you’d EVER guess it’s exactly like this day with Doug Nielsen.

It’s crazy. And as weird as it is, it isn’t entirely abnormal. But it is absolutely hilarious.

Thanks Doug… and your big fat lip!

Got a bunch of wasps and wanna set them on me during one of my motivational speeches? Click here for more details.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Fan of Doug Nielsen, Afraid of Wasps

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Let’s Get This Meeting Started…Th Right Way!

I know an editorial assistant at ELLE magazine who reports how his boss, the Editor in Chief no less, handles meetings with grace and ease. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: ELLE magazine, high fashion publication, snooty employees and an even snootier boss…it’s The Devil Wears Prada! However, let me reassure you, this is hardly the case. It’s not an ice-cold office environment with high heels and even higher upturned noses. In fact, my friend assures me it’s actually quite pleasant, and everyone, including Mrs. EIC, is a joy to work with.

Like I said, he cites weekly editorial meetings as an example as to why ELLE is a great working environment. You think these meetings are those types you see in movies: all the employees gathered round a table chatting and as soon as the boss walks in—stern faced as ever—everyone straightens up and shuts up like a class of first graders at the entrance of the teacher. But, as my friend explained to me about his first meeting at the magazine, it turned out that everyone was gabbing away before the meeting started, and when the boss walked in she actually joined in on all the chatter! In fact, not only that, but the first thing she said to her employees when she sat down was not something like “How are we doing on that Dolce & Gabbana spread?” but “Okay, WHO saw The Sopranos last night?!” What followed was an in-depth five-minute round-table discussion about the previous night’s episode, which eventually sort of effortlessly melded into the editorial meeting.

So what’s the point here, specifically for you manager types out there? People, especially co-workers, respond much more effectively to a comfortable meeting environment. If the Editor in Chief had walked in, sat down and immediately started drilling everyone about the progress of the magazine it very well could have ended up an unproductive and, dare I say, boring meeting. Instead, by kicking things off with some light-hearted conversation everyone sort of had their nerves calmed, making them ready to have a more casual but every bit as successful meeting. Once the tone was set, ideas were free to come forth and people weren’t shy to bring them up because their jaws were loosened by the pre-meeting gab-fest.

How can you as a boss or manager emulate this type of interaction? Well, first off, don’t be afraid to do exactly what the exemplary boss did: have an opening conversation. Ask how everyone’s doing, how their weekend was. Try and reference stories you’ve heard around the office. Was it someone’s birthday? Did they have a party? Ask how it went. Just try and get people talking. Solicit jokes, or, hey, tell your own. Just make sure that before you get to the nitty-grity business stuff your team is warmed up and ready to talk about it. If employees know their superior is comfortable enough to openly talk with them about, say, an HBO mob-family drama, they will, in turn, be comfortable enough to submit the idea that could be the next big company hit rather than hunker down in their chair and keep their intimidated ideas to themselves.

Check out my motivational speakers keynote here!

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Humorist, Fan of Elle Magazine

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In Case There is Any Doubt — Your Business Needs a Laugh

If I’ve learned anything from the infinite wisdom of Walt Disney, it’s that we all need to whistle while we work.

When do you find yourself the most productive? When you’re having fun, right? Now I know we can’t all have the ever-amusing, heart-pumping, excitement inducing thrill ride of, say, a professional stunt man. But, increased productivity and overall morale is easily increased by connecting work to fun and humor.

Ok… that’s obvious, right? Wrong. At least not to everybody. Not to most of working America.

I’m constantly amazed that the bulk of corporate America still doesn’t embrace humor in spite of all of the excellent examples of companies who have successfully incorporated a sense of playfulness to improve their bottom line.

There’s no better example of the effectiveness of combining humor and entertainment in the business world than in today’s advertisements. Sure the tug-at-the-heart-strings ads are still out there, sweet talking their way into making you buy that diamond pendent heart necklace, but more and more companies are giving in to their funny bones and creating commercials and print advertisements that make you laugh all the way to the BMW dealership to get that new 3-series.

Look at the business of Super Bowl advertising. A heavy majority of the commercials are really funny and shy away from taking themselves too seriously. The most popular beers out there—like Bud Light for instance—have been relying on comedic commercials for almost a decade and it’s obviously paid off in their increased consumption.

Furthermore, with the non-stop influx of viral videos, advertisers are diving into a whole new realm of usable material. Basically, corporate America is fascinated with videos from YouTube.com Consequently, they are trying to figure out how to monetize this craze. I’m sure we’ve all seen the “Bride Goes Crazy” video of the wife-to-be who has a breakdown on her wedding day because she hates her hairdo, which leads her to take some scissors to her scalp and lop off her locks. It turns out that this “reality” video is actually a staged video created by a hair care company to create a “buzz” for their products.

Or, how about Coca-Cola and Mentos jumping on the coke bottle fountain craze? My good friend Steve Spangler got creative with some household products and within months after its internet debut, two big name companies got a funny and entertaining way to sell their product. They totally embraced this creative, fun and humorous use for their products, and have adopted this humorous craze as part of their marketing plan.

I even mentioned BMW above, who also hopped on the viral video bandwagon and took what was a somewhat frightening video of an overly excited child on Christmas day and turned it into a great way to express how excited consumers would be if they bought their cars. See? If even a serious German car company can see the benefit of adding a touch of humor to their ad campaigns, what could you do if you embrace the humor with your business?

So what’s my point? If a lightened tone works in one business arena, why can’t it work in all of them? The fact that humor in advertising helps corporations to sell their products and services should encourage you to try to adopt humor in to other parts of YOUR business.

When you’re happy, you just feel better about doing things. That being the case, businesses shouldn’t be afraid to find concrete, creative ways to bring humor into the workplace not so it becomes a distraction, but motivation. Sure most companies organize employee getaways and the occasional office party. But what can you do with your job?

How about having your own Coke and Mentos fountain contest during the lunch hour? Or perhaps an office version of American Idol? How about more interactive and entertaining presentations and seminars? (Ok, I’m biased… but you could bring in a really funny motivational speaker to make them laugh until they cry.) I know I retain information much better when it can grab my attention. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to finding a healthy and productive way to incorporate humor into the workplace. Those dwarves knew best; and, hey, they chipped rock for a living but still had a great time.

Hire Brad to Speak To Your Group! Hilarious Motivational Speaker

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Humorist Speaker, Humor in the Workplace Consultant, Fan of The Seven Dwarves

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Check out these cool photos I recently got from a client when I worked for the Air Force at an event in St. Louis, Missouri:

I don’t have a point, but the photos came out great.

Brad Montgomery
Funny Keynote Speaker, Motivational Speaker Comedian