Yes, I did sneak in. No, I didn’t get caught. On a recent road trip I was flying from a speech in Grand Junction, Colorado to a speech in Montana, and had to lay over for 5 long hours in Denver’s Airport.

As you might know, United Airlines has a posh “Red Carpet Club” where they dispense free coffee, offer comfy chairs, and work stations where you can charge your laptops and work in peace.

I wanted in. But I’m not a member. Yet I got in.

I just approached a guy entering the club, and asked him if he’d take me in as his guest. (Each member can take in a guest or two at no charge to them.) I smiled. I must have seemed harmless. So he agreed and took me in. And then we went our separate ways. (The club in Denver is BIG.)

What was the best part? The free coffee? Nope. The fact that I really needed to crank on some emails and now had the perfect spot? Nope. The fact that I had a peaceful retreat from the mahem of the airport? Nope.

The best part was the fact that felt like I “snuck” in. I loved it. I felt like a kid who was enjoying the euphoria of ditching school. I was just in a happy mood….for no good reason. I mean the Club is nice…but it isn’t paradise. But by sneaking in, it felt that way.

Do I recommend that you do the same. By no means. (Do it!) You should never be dishonest. (Do it!) That Club is meant for members and ACTUAL guest. (Do it!)

It’s fun. And it makes you feel like a kid.

Enjoy!

PS. United Airlines, if you are reading this, I didn’t really do it. Really. Seriously. I never would. Honest! (It’s hard to type with your fingers crossed.)

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It’s watching the audience change from the beginning of the speech to the end of the experience.

Today I spoke for a bunch of social worker types (awesome people!) in Grand Junction, Colorado. These people work hard with out enough money, thanks, or laughs. So my mission (using the word “mission” makes it sound important, huh!) was to come in, make them laugh ’till their sides hurt, and to give them a message of humor and hope.

We started bright and early at 8 AM. (Can you say “caffeine?”) Plus, this is a group that has been hammered. Their work just isn’t that much fun. So the predictable result given the audience and the time was that this group was tired, quite, and subdued.

When I started my comedy motivational speaker thing (heck, even I don’t know what to call it) they were a great audience, but clearly we were starting at the beginning….they were laughing at the right places, nodding at the right times, but they were doing it fairly quietly.

But today was a great example of why I love being a speaker…. because by the end of our 90 minutes together they were animated, laughing VERY loudly, and afterwords that boost of energy was apparent. They were animated, chatty, and bouncy.

I was proud of my work today. I felt like I did a good job. And my reward was seeing the difference in their energy levels from the start to the end. Seeing their arms uncross, their faces light up, and then hearing their laughter is why I have to have one of the best jobs in the world. I know, it sounds like a big cliche’. But heck…. It’s true.

Learn more about the motivational speech I did today in Colorado here.

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Let’s talk about motivational speakers and their fees and rates.

I just am back from a job in Las Vegas where I was hired to be their humorist motivational speaker. After a quick conversation with my client about the costs of the microphones, of the coffee services, of the snacks, and the bottles of water, I had an epiphany. (Yes, that is a big word. Mom would be proud.)

I learned that the total expenditure for my speakers fee was LESS than what they paid for the coffee breaks. My rate was less than what they paid for the coffee.

When you are planning your convention your meeting budget, consider what will make a more lasting impression on your attendees. Where will you get the most bang for your buck?

What will your audience remember and appreciate more:
• The motivational speaker who rocked the audience or the fact that you got the fancier snack for that break?
• The humorist that made their faces hurt from laughing or the fact that they had the nicer bottles of wine?
• The keynote speaker who set an awesome tone for the conference or the fact that you got the more expensive dessert?

What’s my point? I know that we live in a real world with limited resources. and I know that no meeting has as large of a budget as they would like. But when you’re setting your meeting budget, are speakers fees really where you want to skimp? No…just the opposite. There is no doubt that long after they have forgotten the fact that you got the nicer chicken dish, or the better this, or the better that, they will remember that your motivational speaker was weak. But the glow and fire they will get from a top notch, funny kkeynote speaker will more than overshadow the fact that you compromised on one of the millions of (expense details.

But… if your humorist or motivational speaker rocks….they will remember that LONG after they have forgotten about the tiny other details where you didn’t skimp. They’ll have forgotten the slightly more pricey lunch (that yo chose in lieu of the lower priced lunch) but they’ll remember that the speaker was a waste of their time.

I’ve actually had this discussion with my clients. A few of them who were a tad short of my fee found that by cutting back on one or two salads, picking cookies instead of brownies, and … well…. you get the idea… they could suddenly meet my fee. (Yes, I’m biased, but I think it makes a ton of sense.)

Next time you are choosing your speaker, consider going top shelf. Skimp on the coffee break, the delux side dishes and the wine upgrade and splurge on a killer speaker with a ton of experience, a long list of happy clients, and a LONG, and verifiable track record.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Expert on Speakers’ costs, Way  better than Dessert!

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I’m just back from a speaking at an event in California that went well in spite of the client’s best efforts.

Let me explain. I was hired for a corporate group who had 300 of the most important people in the room for my program. These were crucial business partners, and the stakes were high.

So my client was nervous. They had taken a huge chance on me— they had hired professional speakers before, but only celebrities and sports figures. They had never hired a speaker who does what I do — provide a non-celebrity, funny motivational speech with tons of humor and audience participation.clapping hands for motivational speakers

So, they were nervous. All of this is fine, normal, and a bit flattering that they chose me.

They were nervous. And I totally understand. Being nervous is totally understandable.

But how their nerves came out at the event was totally amazing, and more than a bit destructive.

Again, it ended up okay. But honestly, it was touch and go for a bit.

What happened was that about 45 minutes before I was to go on the stage, and just as the audience was entering the room, I gave my client my introduction for him to read to introduce me. (I sent an introduction, but he somehow didn’t get it.)

After reading my intro, this man got really serious, thoughtful, and…. er…. not so happy. He wasn’t happy. He asked a couple o questions about the intro, my intentions, and more. He eventually said, “Is this introduction serious?”

I was stunned. Now remember… he’s clearly not happy for some reason, the audience is gathering, and he’s asking me a question that doesn’t make any sense to me.

I answer, “I’m not sure what you mean, but yes, I’d love for you to read this intro. I’ve done it a thousand times, and it means a bunch to the success of the program.”

He then went into specifics about the opening sentence, the fact that my introduction mixes both my credentials and some self deprecating humor. He questioned whether my included jokes were funny and appropriate.

The vibe was bad. This guy was clearly nervous that I was the wrong guy. That my humor wasn’t going to be funny. Basically, he was showing serious doubts about hiring me. And he made this all very clear clear to me.

Suddenly I’m defending myself to him. I’m “selling myself” to this man with whom saw all my videos, talked to my past clients, and had multiple conversations with me on the phone. Yet now, as the audience was finding their way into the room, he’s made it clear that he doubts my ability to deliver for his clients. And he made that doubt abundantly clear to me when at last he said with a shrug, “Well, I guess we’ll have to go with it.”

Public speaking is notoriously scary. And occasionally public speakers get nervous too. I do. But my experience helps me to channel the nerves into something positive.

But come on. As a motivational speaker I’m supposed to deal with my nerves on my own. But in this case, the nerves were coming FROM my client.

I’m proud of my speaking experience. I’m proud of my ability to deal with any audience. But I admit it; I can get a little fragile too. And my California client was putting me the test.

So, over the next 30 minutes, instead of getting myself into the right frame of mind, instead of getting geared up for the 350 people who were expecting me to make them laugh, and instead of going over my notes about this client, I was having to psych myself up from the lousy place my client put me.

It worked out fine. The audience loved our time together. The top executives from the company and I chatted and let me know they were pleased. Really pleased. It was fine.

My point? It amazed me that this company went to the extreme lengths to make sure I was the right guy, to talk with me and coach me about their company’s needs and how I can best customize the program, fly me to California, and then prepare to put me in front of their top business partners.

And then…. with very little time to spare, he sabotaged his speaker at the worst possible time.

If you want to get the most bang for YOUR speaker investment, here are a couple of tips:
1. Clearly communicate what you want, and make sure your speaker can deliver it.
2. Ask your speaker what he needs to succeed…. (AV, Info, Room set up, etc) and GIVE IT TO THEM.
3. Make the travel, hotel and set up easy. Tired and stressed-out speakers don’t do as well as happy, relaxed and comfortable ones.
4. And, the BIG lesson for today is….. Once you’ve chosen your speaker, support him! Don’t second guess him. Don’t doubt him. And don’t make him feel like you’re sorry you hired him. You don’t have to give him a big bear hug before he goes up, but a tiny bit of nurturing won’t kill ya. Just be nice, and you’ll get more for your dollar.

Cheers!

Brad Montgomery
Professional Motivational Speaker, Admittedly Occationally Nervous Speaker

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I’m just now back from Orlando, Florida where I spoke with about 950 members of the Air Force Sergeants’ Association. I love working in Orlando. And I love working with military audiences, but this group was a total hoot.

There were a long list of highlights. Here’s a few:
• Immediately before my program I ate with (among others) Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley.

He’s a very relaxed, very charming, and actually pretty funny. We spoke of many things, but when I asked him if uses humor in his position as a leader he was instantly animated and spoke of how he believes it relaxes his folks, makes him appear “more human” and less intimidating, and more relaxed. In other words, it’s a big deal. And so was he.

Air Force Chief Master Seargent

[Later, he flattered me by giving me his Military Coin, which is a TOTAL rush. Thanks Chief McKinley.]

What impressed me most with Chief Master Sergeant McKinley was the fact that he is a skilled practitioner of humor. he has a total natural and authentic gift for making others feel at ease. He pokes fun at himself, and his staff clearly responds to his authenticity.

It never surprises me when the most down-to-earth folks turn out to be the top dogs. It might be the very fact that they are leaders that enables them to “let their hair down” and e relaxed and at ease, and able to make those people around them comfortable and relaxed.

But I suspect it is the opposite: I suspect that the more “at ease” people are with themselves, the more likely it is that they end up in leadership positions.

Thanks Air Force Sergeeants Association. I had a total ball being your humorist motivational speaker.

Cheers!

Can You Buy Happiness? Only if….

Ok, I admit that this idea is the next thing on my list. I haven’t done it…yet.

I mentioned earlier in this blog that I admire people who anonymously buy drinks or even dinner for strangers.

A guy in one of my recent audiences in Florida told me how he occasionally will buy drinks for some couple he sees in a restaurant that he feels especially need it. But he has a cool twist on it; if he sees people fighting he’ll send drinks over with the message that “The drinks are a gift from a stranger but there is a condition. They have to kiss and make up, or else they’ll have to pay triple.”

It’s easy. It’s cheap. And it’s totally fun. I’m gonna do it!

My point? If you’re looking for an easy and specific way to improve your mood, improve your sense of fun, and earn a warm feeling for yourself, give this a go. Buy a stranger something anonymously.

Check out my motivational keynote programs here.

Cheers,

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Fun Seeker, And Anonymous Gifter!

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