As I’ve mentioned before in this space, I’ve recently returned from San Diego, California where I attended the National Speakers Association national convention.

Check out this cool photo of two of my friends (and fellow motivational speakers) and I in between break out sessions. It’s motivational speakers Steve Spangler (from Denver) and Brad Barton (from Utah).

Steve Spangler and Brad Barton...and me

We have more in common than just the fact that we are motivational speakers. First of all, we all got our start as magicians. Steve has since moved onto other things, but Brad and I are still magician speakers.

But the coolest shared experience we have is that we’re all co-authors in my book, Humor Us: America’s Funniest Humorists On the Power of Laughter. I’m proud of that book, and we’ve been floored by the sales. But what is one of the coolest parts for me is introducing members of the authorship team, like Brad and Steve, who know about each other, are familiar with each other’s work as speakers, but haven’t yet met in person.

It was a cool moment.

[ Check out my work as with motivational speakers here. ]

Cheers!

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Author, Humorist, Pal of Steve and Brad

Technorati Tags:

I’m back for speaking for the Tallahassee Community College, which is in (surprise!) Tallahassee, Florida.

I spoke for the non-classified staff; pretty much every employee who is not faculty.

This group was feeling depressed, suspicious and nervous because the budget for the college was dropping. They were worried about a million things, including lay-offs. So morale was down, and workload was up.

So let’s send in funny boy! It was actually great event; we did have a great time. We used humor to deal with our fears and this change in their work environment. I love talking about change — my theory is that If It’s Gonna Happen Anyway, We Might as Well Laugh at It.

Besides, I have found through experience that if you shine a spotlight on whatever is worrying the group you can make them feel better just by taking out the scary feeling. And then a few well-placed jokes can’t hurt either.

My client, Kevin was kind enough to film this testimonial for me.

My name is Kevin Peddie. I work at Tallahassee Community College. Recently we had Brad come in and speak to the staff at our annual back to school event. Let me say, he had the crown roaring in laughter before the introduction was finished. Brad does an excellent job of catering his act to your people and your situation. I’m not an event planner or anything like that so it was truly a blessing working with Brad. He made the whole thing easy for me. From scheduling the event to relaying to me what he needed from us was a total breeze. If you want someone to motivate your people and having them rolling in the aisles, I would strongly recommend you give Brad a call. He Rocks!!!!! I stole that line from him.

Check out the motivational speech I did here.

Thanks Kevin,

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Florida Speaker, Fan of TCC

Technorati Tags: Del.icio.us Tags:

In a recent post I wrote of speaking in the Utah community where the mining disaster was taking place. I also wrote of how my fellow speakers and Certified Speaking Professionals sent me encouragement and advice. I wrote that, as a professional speaker, knowing what to do for a group that has been through something horrible isn’t easy… no matter what. But I think when humor is involved, it becomes even more trick.

I thought it would be helpful to publish this advice, figuring that professional speakers often are faced with what might be the most horrible situation motivational speakers can face. I found the responses amazingly warm and wise. See if you don’t as well.

Hey dude,
I read your CSPlink post this am. As you saw from the responses we have all been there. I spoke right after 9/11. Was speaking the day of the terrorist attack in London two years ago. Several years ago, I was interviewing one the top agents at State Farm in preparation for a program I was doing for them. She consistently ranked in the top 1% of agents. Half way through her best year ever, her husband dropped dead of a heart attack. She was relating this story to me and told me, “On the other side of adversity is ALWAYS something better”. I have quoted her many times with adding that it’s normal to have grieving and a period of suffering but at some point a silver lining appears. Perhaps more miners will be saved in the future, there will be an increased emphasis on safety, other employment options will be pursued, etc. I have done an exercise before (as part of a keynote) where I asked the audience was is the worst thing that they have ever experienced in their lifetime. The most common answer is 9/11. Then I ask them to come up with at least 7 positive things that have happened as a result of 9/11….lists include increased patriotism, higher respect for law enforcement, closer family relationships, etc. While the comedians were quiet about 9/11 right afterward, at some point people began to laugh again and laughter as you know is healing (BTW, this month’s readers digest is dedicated to humor). I think you do a piece on adversity and talk about coping skills that are available in dealing with adversity and go into your best stuff. People do need to laugh and even if for the moment, forgot about their troubles. YOU are the man to make that happen!

Tim Richardson
Author, Certified Speaking Professional http://www.timrichardson.com/

Brad,

I couldn’t do what you will be doing.

However, if is a help –
My Dad always said to me, as I was leaving to do a talk:
“I pray you do well”

As you are being introduced…vision the loved one in your life who gives you unconditional love. Their voice is a message from above:
Hear them saying:
“I pray you do well”

It worked for me June 28, I had a talk…the day my Mom passed away. I knew we were losing her, but didn’t know of her passing that morning.
The evaluations were awesome – though I don’t remember what I said.

“I pray you do well”
Carol
www.CarolRitz.com

One idea I heard on NPR the other day. (you can probably search the interview on npr.org) The miners apparently all have nicknames, one of the trapped ones had a funny one, I think is was “flash” but a fellow miner called him “flasher”…and they mentioned that humor is essential on a daily basis to miners and their families, they thought this miner was probably keeping the other younger miner, who had just been on the job only 3 days, keeping his spirit up thru his funny stories. You might “ask permission” as you did for 9/11 and you might also ask for them to gather in 2s or 3s and have them begin by telling you some funny miner humor stories, fond memories of miners above and below the surface, with you roaming the crowd microphone in hand facilitating the stories from them with a funny comment or two from you. This will warm the crowd to you, keep your performance anxiety at a minimum, and allow them to “teach” you the miner mentality toward humor. Then….ask if “we can all dedicate the next hour to all of our miners and their families in recognition of the life and humor and importance, etc.

Kevin E. O’Connor, CSP
kevinoc.com

Brad, I feel for you. I once spoke at a high school at Etheta, Wyoming. on a Monday. A student at that school had attended the Saturday dance, gone up on stage and blown his brains out with a gun in front of the student body. I can’t recall if it was the seventh or ninth suicide in that school that year. Anyway, it was a national record.

I pretty well did my regular presentation. First I addressed the issue. Said something that I felt their pain and it was not easy for me to make this presentation today. If I was about to do a lot of humor I would preface it with the message that humor has a sort of healing power and that you hoped that somehow your message might in some way ease their pain. That you have discovered that sometimes when you are hurting the most by personal problems that somehow laughter helped you see things clearer and if for only a moment, somehow there was a real healing power in humor.

Some folks might say that there is a time to laugh and a time to cry and that this is not a time for laughter but that you have discovered that we must learn to mix the laughter with the tears and that is all a part of growing up.

I’d work in the thought that for every bad thing that happens there is somehow an equal force for good within that tragedy and just maybe this horrible tragedy might become a blessing in the future for other miners as this nation reacts and demands new safety standards in all of this nation’s mines.

My talk went OK. I had written down the wrong time for the ending of the school day and ran a few minutes into overtime but the students were patient and polite and fairly responsive. I then did a teacher program. At the end of that day the Asst. Principal who had been serving as Acting Principal for over two years took me aside and said that I had been an inspiration to him and that the next day he planned to quit his job. The Superintendent had refused to promote him to principal because he was an Indian. A few weeks later I received a letter from that man. He had prevailed at that meeting the next day and was promoted to principal.

So Brad, that day that I dreaded might become the worst in my career turned out to become a happy memory. Much luck and success to you. If I can be of any further service at this time just contact me. Positively,
—Art Fettig CSP
http://www.qmediagroup.com/

Brad,

You’re right. It is different. Right now they are entering the anger stage – yet still in the hope stage. Think ‘Jerry Maguire’ when Rod Tillman is laying on the field and his wife is kicking the shit out of his younger brother. The anger is over the manager/owner and the BS he’s been feeding the news and family. People are beginning to suspect that he has been operating out of self interest more than their interest.

The reality is I doubt anyone with a direct relationship, wife, daughter or son, of a miner/dead rescuer will be there. Doesn’t make sense they will go (we’re not that special to them that they have to attend our programs). So what you will have is people that will be secondary grievers (Well my cousin’s daughter’s, step-father uncle is in there) and they will want a chance to laugh as long as they are given appropriate acknowledgement as a griever.

Trust your instincts (they’re really good) and have a few scripts as go to ones if you need them:

1. asking permission is one…. it still works

2. dealing with some honest issues like – mining work is dangerous and they know it and did it for their families and loved ones

3. taking the perspective that they will be rescued and when they are they will laugh is another…

you got some other good suggestions from your request…gentle humor…asking them what they want to talk about…. etc.

My final suggestion is to contact Jeff Tobe directly. I just had the chance to see him in action and he is the person most likely to come up with a genuinely creative solution that will work. He’s extraordinarily good.

I know you’ll do great.

Jeffrey Hansler
oxfordco.com

Brad – I had the same situation – one week after hurricane Iniki tore through Kauai, I was scheduled to speak at a hotel. I tried to cancel, but management wanted me there. Mine was also supposed to be funny… The majority of these people either had lost a home, or a relative had. People had died in this small community, and the only place we could hold the program was outside in a pavilion that had lost its roof. The hotel structure wasn’t safe and had closed for repairs. The whole island was a disaster.

I felt just like you as I flew into my beloved Kauai and saw the destruction from the air. The airport was partially operational and National guardsmen were everywhere. All the way to the event I kept muttering, “Thy words, my mouth.”

I decided to just be honest. I got up there told them my heart went out to them and I was their servant today. “What do YOU want to talk about?” I switched my topic to stress and change, let them talk about what was going on, and injected stories, humor, and information I thought would help. It doesn’t have to be rolling on the floor funny, but gentle humor is needed and called for in a tragedy.

IMHO, these are exactly the situations every one of us is called to do. The rest of the gigs we do are just practice. It’s no accident that it’s you who is scheduled to be there. And not only will they benefit from having you there, you’ll have a new experience of who you are that will inform every program you do forever. That’s what happened to me.

Blessings,
Beth
www.BethTerry.com
www.CorporateCowgirl.com

Dear Brad,
It’s really difficult not to get sucked into the pit of despair when
such a horrible event is going on right where you are to people you are
looking at.

Here’s an option; frame your light-hearted presentation as a means of
helping people cope with what is going on – a way to keep their spirits
up and to help others have the strength they need.

It’s even more important now to do what they can do – and keeping their
morale up is instrumental to being able to do that.

Good luck,
Shelle Rose Charvet
Successstrategies.com

I feel for you.
The late, great, Robert Henry was on stage when the audience began to learn of the Challenger disaster. He stopped, addressed he matter than proceeded. Grady Jim was introduced during a big game for the local Big League playoffs. People had little TVs on their tables. Danged if Grady didn’t borrow a TV and do a color comentation during the last few minutes of the game.
Also, I reminded of the people over the years who have come up to me–and surely to you–and told me, “I needed that. My husband (son, wife, daughter, etc) died two months ago and I haven’t laughed since ’til now. You can deliver what they badly need. In fact, you might have the introducer mention that you are going to provide “something we all really need, let us laugh a bit.” I think that’s basically the way Robert handled the Challenger disaster.

In the meantime, good luck and I hope you knock ’em out. They need you.
Ralph Hood
http://ralphhood.com/

Couldn’t be put any better, Beth. A wise and meaningful response. I
had one of my audience drop dead from a heart attack the morning I
was speaking and those of us who have faced these situations know how
on target your advice is.

You’ve got a big community behind you Brad – all sending love and
energy. You’ll do what is needed; and what you are called to do.

Ian
Ianpercy.com

Brad: You’re a professional but, more than that, you’re a human being. It’ll work out and, when the time comes, you’ll know how to handle it.

Beth is so right.

I had a similar experience in April. I was to speak in Lynchburg the day after the horrible shootings at Virginia Tech just a few miles down the road in Blacksburg. There were folks in the audience from Blacksburg. I started the program acknowledging the situation and went from there.

But I wasn’t brought in to do humor, Brad. That would have been more difficult.

“Your words; my mouth.” I like that.

James D. Sutton, EdD, CSP
http://www.docspeak.com

I was in the audience when Zig Ziglar was presenting and a person had
a heart attack and someone screamed for a doctor. Zig stopped, found
a doctor, made sure someone had called rescue, and dropped to one
knee for a moment of prayer.

Then he got up and went on with the show.

The lesson I learned was that the audience needs to know you are
aware and care. After that, life goes on.

Steve Waterhouse
waterhousegroup.com

Brad:

I’ve been faced with this situation several times.

It’s important that you don’t try to gloss over or ignore the crisis that
has occurred.

I explain to my audience that the reason some people can’t or aren’t ready
to laugh is because they are not done crying. The two are actually very
closely related.

I also explain that while humor is recognized as a primary coping mechanism,
it is NOT the be all, end all.

In my experiences with working with dying patients and their families, or
groups that have experienced tragedy–it’s evident that there is still a lot
of humor-frequently dark. I think we need to give people permission to
laugh-many times people are admonished for laughing at such a serious time.

One of the techniques used in helping people heal after tragedies is
something akin to what we call “reminiscence therapy,” that is, recalling
times that are happier, and even funny. (Most, if not all, have experienced
laughter at funerals-people start telling funny stories that related to the
deceased. It is a part of the healing process.

People find things funny when they can emotionally detach-these folks are to
close to the situation to laugh about anything that is even remotely related
to it. But they can laugh about other situations-you just have to lead them
there gently.

A quote that I frequently share in these situations: “Life does not cease to
be funny when people die, any more than it ceases to be serious when people
laugh.

Speak from your heart, not out of fear, but out of love and support and you
will be great.

Yours in laughter~

Karyn
Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN, CSP, CPAE
http://www.humorx.com

Brad,

Just a quick thought that came to my mind – the importance of honoring the
situation and setting the right context.

So., maybe you want to:

– get them laughing right away.

– Then, pause to acknowledge and honor the families.

– Then, set the context that laughter is the best medicine.

– Then, rock n’ roll!

For whatever that’s worth. Just being who you are is the real key, because I
know who you are!

Ed

Ed Oakley, CSP
Denver, Colorado
www.enleadership.com

Hello Brad!

So glad you are coming to Emery School District Monday. YOU, perhaps, are just the medicine we need. You will find this community to be warm and very receiving of you and your “humor.” Please allow me to give you some inside information.

I spoke for Emery School District (Superintendent Kirk Sitterud) 2 years ago for this same district event (roughly 90 teachers, educators, janitorial and educational staff). As you know, Brad Barton followed last year and now you! The timing is just right and I believe they do need YOU now. This WILL be one of the most piercing speaking engagements of your life. I spoke for this community just last Tuesday night at a Non-denominational Christian service. As you mentioned, Huntington is a very small community. However, at last Tuesday night’s religious event, 2200 (people came from all over the country) packed into a small chapel to show support for one another. They did not come to see me, Governor Huntsman, or the other mine official/Bishop that spoke. They came because they wanted to feel ‘a healing’; a sort of “it’s okay to move forward and to yes, ‘laugh’.” They did want to laugh, and they do want to move forward. On the front two rows sat members of the 6 trapped. Of course we had not yet lost three more miners at that time. Since the additional fatalities, I think these key components of healing and remembering are even more vital, and you’re the man to deliver them! They need to hear you, and more importantly FEEL what you are. You are a fit for them-

One more small note: My family and I attended last night’s Opening Emery High School football game. I got to be on the sidelines with the team. Before the game, the opposing team presented Emery High with a HUGE bouquet of flowers and a check for $2300 that their team had collected for the affected families’. It was most incredible. After a brief moment of silence, THE GAME WENT ON! Not forgetting those that we have lost. Re-read Steve Waterhouse’s response. He hit the nail on the head.

Give them you. Recognize their pain. Laugh with them! And you’ll walk away having given them more that you thought you could! You’ll be impacted as well, perhaps more than you ever have before at any of your other events.

To my knowledge there will be two in your audience who have lost someone very close to them due to the mining tragedy.

Bell well Brad~

Chad Hymas

Chad Hymas, Certified Speaking Professional (CSP),
Inspirational Speaker, Author, World Record Wheelchair Athlete
President, Chad Hymas Communications, Inc.
Proud Recipient of the Superior Civilian Award
Past President, National Speakers Association-Utah Chapter
www.chadhymas.com

Brad — for six years I have been speaking at an annual conference for
Survivors of Homicide — people who have lost a loved through an act of violence. My
job is to make them laugh.

I first acknowledge what an injustice they have to endure — some of the
worst one could imagine. This is my way of honoring them.

I then talk about the fact that my youngest son was killed in a work
accident; and while he wasn’t murdered, I too know what it’s like to have one’s world
brought to a screeching halt.

From there, I discuss that even though they must endure such pain, that the
resilience of the human heart is absolutely amazing. For this group, there is
no closure. That’s one of the things I’ve learned.

And then I describe some of the stupid things people say when they try to
offer comfort. Some of them are so stupid they make people smile.
And how so many people in our culture complain about things that matter
so little and they haven’t a clue how trivial it all is.

From there, I go into some of my stress/change/grief material — some of
it very funny, some of it bittersweet.

As has been said, bring your humanity out, express your empathy, give hope
and you will bring many gifts to this audience.

I’ve written a book on grief and loss and will be happy to send you a copy.
I will also give you a copy of the handout for the homicide group if you’d
like to see it — maybe even use it. The handout isn’t funny — it’s designed
to bring comfort and outline the process of healing.

My experience — it’s pretty early in the grieving process to use much humor,
but some will be appropriate. Mainly your audience needs hope for a better
day, ideas for honoring their loved ones, and a few minutes of relief.

Next April I go back for a seventh year with the homicide group. It’s one of
the most important speeches I do every year.

In support, Leslie (Charles)
LeslieCharles.com

Dear Brad

With the greatest respect to you, this is not about you and how you
feel. Consider this: what if your God has sent you to these people
at this time? Your God trusts you to know what to do. Your peers
trust you to know what to do. The people of UTAH trust you to know
what to do.

Now trust yourself and go be the amazing man you are and bring those
people back from where they are, and give them our love as well.

Best wishes and admiration

Paul

Paul CSP FPSA MBIC
Past President of the Professional Speakers Association in UK
www.paulbridle.com

I wasn’t going to respond…but after Karen posting her article…I went
‘over the top’ with the ‘awe’ of the rich resources we have through our
collegiality!!

And…I will ‘add’ reference to my most difficult experience….

One week after 9/11 I spoke in upstate N.Y. to a convention of Medical
personnel form the state of N.Y. Obviously they were grief stricken, as many of
them had been involved with the disaster personally.

About 10 minutes into my presentation I stopped and openly recognized
the emotion in the room…
the emotion in all of our hearts. I stepped off the platform, into the
audience, and asked them all to stand..
take the hand of someone near them, pause for a moment of silent
reflection (and prayer if they so desired) and
started singing ‘God Bless America’. It was an amazing transformation
in the room from ‘tight—to relaxed’,
somber to released….etc.

Blessings, Brad….I know you will be the messenger with ‘the message’
that they need to experience.

Naomi

Naomi Rhode, CSP, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame
Past President International Federation for Professional Speakers
Past President National Speakers Association
Past President International Federation For Professional Speakers
www.smarthealth.com

What can I say? I’m flattered. I’m touched. And I’m amazed.

Want to be a professional speaker? Join the National Speakers Association, (NSA) and strive to be a CSP (Certified Speaking Professional.) Want to be a REALLY great speaker? Learn from peers like these amazing speakers and we can help but be better.

Thanks guys! Love ya right back.

Want to learn about my keynotes and speeches? Click here.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Sometimes Speechless (Rarely!), Proud Member of the NSA.

Technorati Tags: Del.icio.us Tags:

Mining Disaster in Utah: would YOU make them laugh? Yes or no?

Many of my readers know at least a part of this story. Here it is from start to finish…. thanks for all of your emails.

I’m back from Huntington, Utah where I was invited to speak for the Emery School District. I was hired way before the mining disaster to be there for a teacher in-service. My job was to fire up the troops, motivate them for the new year, and make them laugh. And laugh. And laugh.

I’m a motivational humorist speaker…. so making folks laugh is a huge part of the job. As far as I’m concerned… if they aren’t laughing, I’m bombing.

To be honest, though I knew I had a job coming up in Utah, I did NOT connect the mining tragedy I saw on the front pages to my job. It never crossed my mind.

And then I get an email from my client tipping me off that their school district is in the heart of that community; and in fact at least a couple of the people in my audience would be directly affected by the tragedy. They had lost family.

So quietly, I began to think it through. Then I got nervous. Then I freaked out.

What in the WORLD would I tell these people,? And how was I supposed to make them laugh. And if I could make them laugh, should I?

After 9/11, a bunch of my humorist and comedian pals and I all shared strategies about how to handle humor after that tragedy. With the advice of many of these funny speakers, I ended up adopting the tactic of “asking permission to leave our grief behind us and using laughter to feel better.” I talked about how we might all need a break, and — with no disrespect to the victims and their families — it might really help us to laugh.

But this mining disaster was so different: when I went out after 9/11, a couple or three weeks had already passed. And during the first few speaking engagements I had after the event, I never went anywhere near NYC. I was all over the country, but not in the backyard of the tragedy.

But this time I was headed right into the storm. And the disaster wasn’t even “closed” yet. (Families are still hoping to find their loved ones. Hope has continued to fade, but their grief has really just started.) The disaster was still, in many ways, in progress.

So… again… I was tense. I was nervous.

I can’t remember thinking about a job much as I thought about this job. I was so eager not to be “inappropriate.” I didn’t want to offend anybody. I didn’t want to make it worse. And the thought of going in there, doing jokes about school kids, about new teachers, and then tossing in some audience participation just seemed so … well…wrong.

Can YOU imagine going into that group and cracking a bunch of jokes, and then tellin’ them to have a great school year?

I was nervous, but I have a secret weapon. I’m a member of the National Speakers Association, and am proud to be a CSP — Certified Speaking Professional. (It’s the highest earned designation from the association… it’s pretty cool.) The CSPs have a email list that we use to communicate with each other, and I used that list to ask for help and advice.

“What should I do?” I asked them. The responses I got were, as I told them, “Like a virtual hug.” The responses were diverse and varied. Some wrote that humor was too risky — that I should avoid it for fear of being inappropriate. Others wrote that I might be better off facilitating a discussion of how the miners themselves often use humor. One good friend wrote that I might discuss the healing value of humor. And still others wrote that I should talk about the positive effects that (eventually) are born out of tragedies. And more than a few told me to go for it… that humor was my gift and that laughter is perhaps what they needed most.

The answers varied, but one theme ran though them all: they were fantastically supportive of me, and of the challenge. They told me that, whatever direction I chose, I’d be able to rely on my experience and my sense of humor and that it would be fine… in fact that it would be a great experience.

One friend, Colorado speaker Ed Oakley, told me to make sure I was “me.” It cracked me up, but it sure made me feel good.

By the time I got to Utah, I was calm, ready and confident, even though I still didn’t know what to expect.

I’m proud to report that the job was a success. I had a great time. The audience was supportive, and the client told me, “That is exactly what we needed.” Yippee! I am proud that it went well, but mostly I’m happy to have actually made a difference for these educators. It was really cool to be in a place that counted.

I swear, even as they were introducing me, I was still trying to figure out what exactly I was going to do.

So, what did I do? I started RIGHT out of the gate with comedy. No message. No “permission.” No moments of silence. I just jumped in. I joked about the guy who introduced me, (he is a huge guy, and I’m pretty small… so we went with some jokes about the size difference.) I joked about the fact that these educators got a small raise (aren’t all raises too small?) and that perhaps they might consider multi-level marketing? I joked about the B& B they put me the night before. About getting lost in my rental car. I probably did 3 or 4 minutes of straight comedy. Stand up.

Looking back, it WAS pretty risky… not only was I starting with humor, I was starting with humor that was totally customized and written pretty much in the last 4 minutes as they introduced me; written as I saw that really huge guy, as I remembered the “raise” announcement a few minutes before that.

But guess what? They laughed. And they laughed pretty hard.

I went with my gut and with my experience. My speaking peers told me to stick with my strengths, and I did.

But then, 3 or 4 minutes into the program I stopped, and told them the truth. I told them that I’d thought about them and this speaking engagement more than they’d ever guess. I told them that it just seemed so WRONG to come into a community that was still experiencing a loss and try to make them laugh. I told them that I’d lost sleep thinking about them, and what they might want from me. And that even this morning I was unsure how to best handle my program in order to give them what they might need most.

Then, just like after 9/11, I asked for their permission to use some humor. I told them that perhaps what we all needed most was to return to normal, at least for an hour and a half. I told them that though we might take a small vacation from the tragedy, we wouldn’t mean any disrespect to the victims and their families. And that we needed to heal, and perhaps a good laugh might help.

Then I crossed my fingers and shut up.

And they started clapping. Phew. Apparently I guessed right.

I was in. So we strapped on our seat belts, gassed up and left the station! We poked fun at the superintendent, at a new teacher who was going to teach (get this!) French, Drivers Ed and Resources. (Whatever that is…) We laughed with the new Family Sciences (home education) teacher and her “untidy” husband–also a teacher. I went after any punch-line I could find.

In my normal programs, I use humor to punctuate a message of joy and hope. I remind people to take themselves less seriously, and to remember to enjoy themselves — and their work. I speak of the difference of taking OURSELVES lightly while taking WHAT WE DO seriously. And during the speech in Utah that message seemed to just be stronger and more on target than usual. I gently referred to the disaster 3 or 4 times, but only from a distance and without details.

The energy of the group was off the charts after the keynote. They were more relaxed and, I think, more ready to start educating their students. And we sold out of product — I think mostly because I reduced the price by 1/2 and gave the profits to the miner victims’ families. (That made us all feel good too.)

In the end, we all did well. We all felt better.

I learned a lot. I was reminded of the need we all have for humor. And when times are tough, we crave it. I was reminded that when we speak from the heart and are authentic, audiences respond. I learned that the community of professional speakers — of which I’m proud to be a member — is filled with some wise and caring souls. And I learned that trusting my experience is (at least on this one occasion) the best choice.

Disclaimer: In many ways, I think this job was easier than I thought it would be. It turns out the families of the victims were not in the audience, even though they work for that district. The shock of the disaster was over, even though the tragedy was unfolding. So in many ways, it wasn’t as hard as I feared. Lucky me. Phew.

Thanks for all of your support, advice, and caring. And thanks for asking how it went.

Cheers,

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Utah Speaker, Highly Relieved Speaker

Del.icio.us Tags:

Usually in the blog I talk about some of the cool things that make me laugh and things that bring humor to others.

Today it’s my turn to admit that I’m a bit freaked out.

Months ago, a school district in Utah booked me to be a motivational speaker for their school. No super big deal, I love doing that thing; I love working with educational groups.

But things took a wicked turn; I’m going to the community where the horrible mining tragedy took place; a place where they’ve recently lost some of their miners, and fear losing quite a few more. It is a place going through profound loss. Yet they hired me (way before the news) to come fire up their staff, and make them laugh.

Oye. What to do!?

I’ve contacted many of my peers from the National Speakers Association asking for advice and happily we’re getting some great advice.

But the truth is that, just 2 days away from my presentation, I’m not sure what i’m gonna do yet.

It’s a difficult thing for a presenter: this group is reeling from recent (and still unfolding) horrible news, and yet my job is to remind them of the ‘fun’ in life.

Certainly there is joy and healing power in laughter and humor. And I know that we’ll be treading that way, but how far we can go is still up in the air.

I’ll let you know after the Utah event. For now I’m sad, thoughtful, and so very eager to make a positive difference.

Yours,

Brad Montgomery
Utah Motivational Speaker, Educational Speaker, Worried Speaker

I’m kidding.

As I’ve mentioned before in this space, I’ve recently returned from San Diego, California where I attended the National Speakers Association national convention.

Check out this cool photo of two of my friends (and fellow motivational speakers) and I in between break out sessions. It’s motivational speakers Steve Spangler (from Denver, Colorado) and Brad Barton (from Utah).

null

We have more in common than just the fact that we are motivational speakers. First of all, we all got our start as magicians. Steve has since moved onto other things, (amazing thing teaching teachers) but Brad and I are still magician speakers.

But the coolest shared experience we have is that we’re all co-authors in my book, Humor Us: America’s Funniest Humorists On the Power of Laughter. I’m proud of that book, and we’ve been floored by the sales. But what is one of the coolest parts for me is introducing members of the authorship team, like Brad and Steve, who know about each other, are familiar with each other’s work as speakers, but haven’t yet met in person.

It was a cool moment.

[ Check out my work as with motivational speakers here. ]

Cheers!

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Author, Humorist, Pal of Steve and Brad

Technorati Tags:

Yesterday, for my audience in Florida, I spoke at length about the fact that we don’t need to look far to find humor. People hire me to come across the country to help them — and their organizations — find their senses of humor.

Sometimes it’s just easier than other times.: Check out this idiot with the duct tape:

duct tape man

Duct Tape Bandit on Yahoo! News Photos
This photo provided by the Ashland Police Dept. shows Kasey G. Kazee, 24, of Ashland, Ky.,who was charged with first-degree robbery, according to Ashland Police Sgt. Mark McDowell. Kazee had his head wrapped in duct tape to conceal his identity when he tried to rob Shamrock Liquors.

Seems to me that one of the best punishments would be to just let him get the duct tape off himself. Ouch.

It’s just hard to know where to start. But I can tell you it ends with laughter.

Cheers.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Florida Speaker, Fan of Idiot Crooks

I was flattered to be part of a celebration and awards banquet or a bunch of deserving nurses in Riverside, California the other day.

It was a cool format that I wish other clients would consider… it was really a terrific “bang for the buck” for my client, and I wish I could get more clients to think they way they did.

They had an awards ceremony. It was beautiful. It was important. It was BORING. So this year they brought me in to handle things. We started with some humor and comedy. Then a message of hope and appreciation for the nurses. Then off to the awards.

And throughout the awards, I had their blessing to poke fun at the proceedings, at the occational SNAFUs, and at myself. (While at the same time I promised to give the awards and the winners the respect and honor they deserved.) The result? I was flattered; they loved it. It was fun. It went by quickly (and that’s saying a lot…. haven’t we all been to those ceremonies that drag on forever!) And it was, judging by the audience, pretty darned funny.

If they had half as much fun watching as I did being the master of ceremonies (or emcee… whatever you call it) then we’re fine.

Lookee here!

Thanks to the Press Enterprise of Riverside, California for hosting my… er…. hosting.

Ok, I’ll ask: Care to book me to emcee your event? click here.

Yours.

Brad Montgomery
Master of Ceremonies, Emcee, Speaker, Comic, and Fan of California.

This animated “photo” is soooooo cool!

null

This was sent to me by a couple of different friends. I’d love to know how long it took the creator to figure this out.

If you’re looking for motivational speakers who will help fire you up enough so that you don’t have to procrastinate so much, click here!

If you just are looking for some cool way to procrastinate, this thing is cool!

Cheers.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational speaker, Humorist, Keynoter, Fan of Cool Ways to Procrastinate!

 

Have you ever written something and regretted it?

Me too.  I regret ever posting this article.  (I’m pretty sure it was written by a long-ago-fired assistant, but to be honest don’t remember.

What I can say is that I hated the article so much, and the advice in it so much, I just pulled it down.

 

There is lot’s of good stuff on this site…but this article wasn’t among them. : )

 

Thanks!

Brad

Motivational Speaker Playing Onstage

Motivational Speaker Playing Onstage