How do you take 400+ high school kids and make them feel like a million bucks by doing good? The answer was found in Wyoming where I was a motivational speaker for the FBLA — Future Business Leaders of America. (It’s a youth group on steroids.)

Let’s be honest… I don’t love speaking to all youth and high school groups. I don’t love it when the whole school HAS to be there, and the good kids are over-shadowed by the slacker kids in the back. High School audiences can be among the toughest, and to be honest I don’t speak to all groups who call.

fbla logoBut I LOVE speaking to FBLA and similar groups. (FCCLA, DECA, FFA, etc.) These groups have kids who WANT to be there, and have gone to some trouble to make sure they are in the audience. There are no slackers…back row or not. And trust me, it makes a huge difference to motivational speakers like me.

Ok..so back to Wyoming. We had fun. Lots of fun. The group was outstanding, and the quality of the students was first rate.

But my favorite part was related to the Holiday Inn where we all stayed. Before I went on,holiday logo the students were reminded basically not to trash the hotel, to be respectful and polite, etc.

But when I hit the stage, I told them a story about how to turn that request on it’s head. Right now Holiday Inns give little stars and ribbons to employees who have a positive comment card turned in about them.

I was told earlier that day that these stars are coveted…that some employees work there for YEARS without getting a single star. I had already been responsible for 3 stars that morning, and took the idea to the high school audience.

fbla audience in wyoming
I challenged them to fill out as many of the comment cards as possible. I dared them to find people doing good and get them a comment card. I challenged them to make the Holiday Inn run OUT of stars. Forget having a difficult group of youth! We would be the SINGLE most appreciative and thankful group ever.

And guess what? We were.

It was a blast and an honor. Thanks FBLA Wyoming! I love it!

Brad

PS. Learn about my work as a high school motivational speaker here.

I just got off the phone with our Commander in Chief. presid We first talked baseball, kids, and even a tad about nicknames. He’s a chatter! (We stayed away from those pesky subjects of the war, the economy and that silly “consumer confidence.”)
But it turns out that our nation’s leader wanted to talk to me about humor in the workplace. His staff (understandably) is suffering. They have lousy morale, don’t see a bunch of hope for the near future, and generally are not operating at their peak potential. “Can you help me , Brad? Can you help our country?” asked our President.

I get a lot of calls like this.

“No sweat, Mr. President!” So we talked about some specific tactics and techniques he could use as a manager to help get his folks out of the “funk” and back into the groove.

It’s my job.  I help leaders who need to give their people a push start. Who need to rev up the fun so they can rev up the productivity. I speak to groups who are dealing with Change … and for now, so does President Bush.
president bush talks about brad in this comic stripIt was a pleasure getting a call from the leader of the free world.

But after four hours, I made him hang up and get back to promoting democracy. I mean, procrastination is great, but even the President has to work now and then.

Thanks President Bush. If you need more help with a humor in the workplace keynote or seminar, feel free to contact me.

Cheers.

Brad

PS. Thanks to comicstripgenerator.com for the cool graphic. Does your newsletter or website need some spicing up? Think you could use some more humor in your job but don’t know how? Give this free service a try!

PPS. Do YOU have any cool resources for punching up the fun? Any weblinks I should know about? Share your best ideas in a comment!

I’m a magician and proud of it. But….cups and balls magic trick

There was recently a great National Public Radio radio show about magic that I loved. Link.

In this very cool call-in show, one of the many topics they cover is whether or not magicians are artists.

I’m not sure… in many ways I think that comedy and humor is more of an art than magic. The problem with magic is that it can be a bit like “paint by numbers.” Sure, there is some skill and stick-to-it-ness that is required to finish a complicated paint-by-numbers painting. But is it really “art” to paint in the the right colors?

Don’t get me wrong… I love magic. I love magicians. And, as I pointed out, I AM a magician. (Or at least a magician speaker — I use magic tricks to in my keynote speeches all the time.)
But is it really an art?

I suggest that the “art” is in the presentation. Any smart 13 year old kid, if he or she practiced enough — and had the right props — could do the same tricks as David Copperfield. But they will never be as good as Copperfield. Why not? Because they are not artists. They are just magicians. Copperfield is an artist for his performance skills…. but not because he can do kick-butt magic tricks.

Proof? I’ve seen a dozen or so movies where actors play the part of a magician, and more often than not these actors create way more of a presentation than most magicians I’ve seen. These actor-magicians are awesome. Not because they are magicians, but because they are not magicians. They are artists. They don’t give a darn about the tricks…they care only for the art.

What do you think? Art or Paint-By-Numbers?

Comment and let me know what you think.

Wouldn’t that be funny? But of course it isn’t the truth.

The real story was that a while back I workedlogo for a bunch of Microsoft managers in Dallas recently. You can check out the details of this presentation here.

What’s better than being a motivational speaker? Being a speaker who gets good reviews. This bootleg -video made my heart sing. :) Ok, kinda corny, but still, it felt great.

Thanks Microsoft!

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Can’t a guy just brag a teensy weensy bit? : )
thedacare wisconsin
Check out this very kind letter from L. Woods at ThedaCare Behavioral Health Care in Wisconsin. Looking for a Wisconsin speaker? Healthcare speaker? Just need somebody to move your team forward — and out of the murk?

Read on:

“As I was “riding the pony” into work this morning, I was reflecting on the wonderful motivational presentation you delivered to our Health team last Thursday Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Kayla and I have received so many nice compliments on the day, and it was due to you. You were “spot on” in your performance and the details on our organization, and staff and certainly gave the attendees the opportunity to look at things from a different perspective.

With the Packer loss this season I’m am sure that it is difficult for many of our staff to avoid being caught in the swirling vortex of negativity, but I think they are doing a good job of trying to “ride the pony” today.

Brad, it was a pleasure working with you and getting to know you. Thanks for making our celebration event a success.

Sincerely,

L

Aw Shucks! Thanks! I loved speaking in Wisconsin! Thanks for having me!

Looking for a Wisconsin motivational speaker? Healthcare speaker? Just need somebody to move your team forward — and out of the murk?

Learn more here.

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How would I choose a motivational speaker or humorist speaker? Oh, so many things I’d check!

I’d want to know that, if he uses humor, is he really funny?

I’d like to know if humor is involved, is it business-safe? Is it appropriate? Will it get me fired?

I’d like to know that there is there a meaningful tie-in to my business? Sure, funny is good. But can this speaker help my organization do whatever it is we do better?

But most of all, I’d want to make sure that whichever speaker I ended up going with was a sure thing. A done deal. A guarantee. How could I know that? I’d check with as many past clients as I could.

I’d LOVE to be your speaker. Allow me to start by showing you this collection of video testimonials:

I’d love to be your choice? If you’d like to learn about how we can work together — which I’d LOVE — learn more here.

I was recently in California at conference of the National Speakers Association when I had the chance to see a long-time pal, Steve Spangler speak for the entire group. I hate him.

Steve is one of my fellow Colorado speakers. He and I met in high school when we were both magicians… we have a long history. He speaks to all sorts of groups now, but his start came from the education market. (He has been a magician, scientist, teacher, TV news guy, and motivational speaker atsteve spangler different points of his long career.)

What happened in California? He killed. He absolutely killed. They loved him — which shows the audience’s good taste; he did a great job.

What made him so terrific on that particular day? I could go on about his charisma, his preparation, and his right-on-target content. Or maybe it was because he was truly funny. Really funny.

But mostly, I think the reason Steve did so well is that he invested years — decades! — of effort in order to make that event rock. He has done everything from magic shows to class room demonstrations to science elementary school assemblies to huge education associations to his growing business of public seminars (where he teaches teachers how to rock their classrooms). Oh, by the way, he’s been on a Colorado news show for several hundred appearances, and has recently been featured on Ellen. Three times. Yes, that Ellen. (Sheesh.)
In other words, he spent twenty plus year preparing for that 30 minute keynote speech that shook up the National Speakers Association.

Do I hate him? Darn right! Who can like anybody with that much talent? I’m kidding! — I don’t hate him … I’m just too jealous and bitter to care.

Kidding! I love this guy. We’ve been pals for years, (he is part of my book, Humor Us) and it was a total pleasure to see him doing his thing at the top of his game. It’s fun to see a friend succeed. And it’s fun to see a genuinely nice guy get the credit he deserves from his peers.

I don’t hate him. He’s a great pal. I admire him. He rocked. He deserved every laugh and bit of applause he earned. And I was the one clapping the most.

What’s My Point?: When you hire a truly professional speaker you are not paying them for their 45 minute keynote, 90 minute motivational speech, or half-day seminar. You are paying the TRUE professional speakers for their lifetime of experience and practice.

The reason you can be so certain of your level of guarantee is that pro speakers have done so many things in so many different situations and had so many things go wrong — and right — that by the time they get to YOUR audience, they are ready to deliver. They are ready.

Steve Spangler was ready. And the audience loved him for it.

Way to go Steve! I’m proud of ya! Who could possibly hate such a nice guy who positively drips with talent? Not me brother… I’m a huge fan.

Care to comment? Does experience guarantee success? What do you think?

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Why Smiling Can Earn You Money

I was coaching a fellow motivational speaker via video conference when I noticed my client’s most amazing and valuable asset was not his presentation skills, or his polished keynote speech. Nope…his best asset was his easy smile and quick laugh. On our call he laughed dozens of times— and it helped make him charming. It helped make him likable. And it helped make him funny.

You can guess what advice I gave him, right? In his presentations and speeches, he needs to make sure he takes that ready laugh and fun smile with him to the stage.

It took him by surprise…..he’s so professional, and so polished and so rehearsed that he just doesn’t laugh and smile much from the platform. Sure, he can add jokes. Sure funny stories might make his motivational speech funnier and more humorous. But the single most powerful technique….and the single EASIEST technique you can use to improve the humor quotient in your presentation is to smile.

A genuine, warm smile can go a long way?

Are you smiling enough?