I recently returned from California where I attended the National Speakers Association convention. I had many highlights, but one of them was seeing my good friend and and one of my fellow Colorado speakers Sarah Michel do a concurrent session.

She taught the audience how to increase the interactivity in their programs,sarah michele and I gotta tell you, the room was packed with some of the top professional speakers in the business trying to learn from my pal Sarah.

She did a killer job. I learned a lot that I’ll incorporate into my program. It was a great job delivering great content. I was proud of you Sarah.

What’s my point? If you are a speaker — or if you are HIRING speakers, you should know that interactivity is crucial. In this day of multi-tasking, insta-media and fast-paced EVERYTHING, in order to really connect to a modern audience, successful speakers cannot just talk AT the audience.

They need to talk WITH the audience. Interactivity is no longer a “spice” that speakers can choose or not. Top professional speakers must connect with their audiences in a special and concrete way. And Sarah Michele — and the high-powered audience learning from her — helped ram that important message home.

Sarah…you did great. I’m proud to be one of your students… and your pals.

Congrats, Girl
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Most of my work is doing keynotes in the corporate and association market. But …

Why do I like being a high school speaker? There are a ton of reasons, but one of them is Skills USA. This is a terrific group of high school (and some college) students who focus toward preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled occupations.

I was hired to these high school kids’ motivational speaker to kick off their big conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado recently. In order to get to this conference, the students had to “opt in.” I’vehigh school students in the audience for SKILLS USA worked for schools as a whole, but I admit to not loving that back row of slackers that hates being there. (Does anybody love that back row of slackers?)
The greatest part of audiences like this is that there ARE no slackers in the back. They all want to be there. They have all taken steps to make make sure they are there. And, in this case, they had already won a contest to get to this district convention.

There is no greater pleasure than working with a wonderful audience of talented folks who want to be there.

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I just spoke at the Colorado Association of Child Advocates. They were having an appreciation event for their volunteers and needed a Colorado motivational speaker to fire up their troops, communicate a feeling of appreciation and hope, and do it all in a laugh-out-loud funny way.

I was honored to be part of this group, even if just for the day. They were a special group of people who do amazing work for people who are unable to help themselves… kids.

It was a hoot…we laughed about everything from lawyers to the foster care system to the fact that they are not paid enough. (They are volunteers — they aren’t paid squat!)

But best of all, I think it was good to take that audience who does so much good for the world, and give them some tools to take that laughter BACK to their families, and back to the kids they are serving.

It went well. Check out this testimonial from their meeting planner about my motivational keynote speech:

Looking for a humorist motivational speaker? I hope you’ll pick me.

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If you’re looking for a keynote speaker for your group, I hope you’ll consider me.

I’ve recently blogged about the Presidential race and about American Idol. My pal, Colorado – based Andrew Hudson sent me this great combo of the two concepts:

In this day of YouTube, I think it would be awesome. And more than a little funny.

What do you think? Comment!

My answer to our elections is to do “American President” similar to “American Idol”.

Think about it. Auditions are held across the country. We get former presidents or former presidential candidates as judgees and we get 30 really good folks – ya know, really good people, like school teachers, city council members, mayors, CEOs, average folks who are really good leaders – folks who really care about this country! They are all lined up and for 10 weeks they have debates and one-on-one interviews to really get to understand whether they have what it takes to answer the 3:00 a.m. phone call.

We all call the 1800 number every week and vote on who we want to be president! Everyone, theoretically, has a shot. At the very least, we can run the winner as an Independent candidate.

Do you think this would be at least as good as the goofy (and somewhat hilarious system we have now?) Comment…. I dare you.

Check for a ton of legitimate testimonials about the keynote speech or breakout session. Hey! And why you’re at it, check out this cool video from a recent trip I took to Wyoming to speak to the FBLA. Being a motivational speaker is fun…but this group of high school students was awesome!

Check out my impressions about this group in my recent FBLA post.

Thanks Guys! It was a blast being your speaker!

Looking for a speaker for your group? Link

I recently saw the movie Little Miss Sunshine which features Greg Kinnear as a character who is a motivational speaker totally down on his luck. Throughout the film, he desperately tries to sell his “9 steps” success method, and, though his steps are good in theory, but this guy is a total loser.

The movie makes a decent point: aren’t motivational speakers predictable, platitudinous and (often) frauds?

And why do highly educated, well-travelled, sophisticate people need motivation anyway? Don’t they know what the speaker will say before they say it?

1. Have goals!
2. Try every mountain
3. You can be a winner!
4. Choose to succeed!
etc blah blah.
Well, yes. But if that is true, why do we need motivational speakers? Here’s what I think:

We all need regular doses of motivation.

It’s like a shower… just ’cause you’re clean now doesn’t mean you won’t need another shower later. Independence is a quality highly reveared in American society, so when someone thinks they can do it on their own, they sure will try. But, that doesn’t mean that everyone out there doesn’t need a slight kick in the pants every now and then. We can’t run on full steam all the time; so it’s never going to hurt to have the right person come in and help fuel the fire.

The good motivational speakers are those who can transfer this motivation in a new and fresh way. Something that appeals to today’s sophisticated audiences.

Audiences crave motivation. They WANT, and sometimes NEED, an outsider to help them see their life, job and troubles from a fresh perspective. The CHALLENGE is sometimes giving someone something they need (motivation) when these people might not choose it (a motivational speaker) for themselves.

So… if you are looking for a speaker, what should you do to make sure you don’t get Greg Kinnear and his silly 9 Steps?

How to choose a professional motivational speaker is quite simple. Just remember the basics. When you are looking for a speaker, find somebody who you know “gets” your group. The initial connection between speaker and audience is crucial, so make sure your speaker knows who they’re talking to from the get go. Make sure the program is customized to your people and that the speaker has a hook that can draw you people in. And, most importantly, make sure your speaker is a real person, someone who practices what they preach.

Greg Kinnear had his steps, but he couldn’t follow them to save his life. He was always preaching to his family about not being a loser, when he himself was the biggest loser of them all. A good speaker will have a list of references, so check them! And look for a LONG list of happy clients. Ask your perspective speaker how they plan to do more than just motivate you audience. How do they plan to motivate AND create actual, meaningful CHANGE in your audience? How will your speaker get your people to MOVE from point A to point B?

Your group will see through the 9 Steps. What does your speaker have to offer that is fresh and appealing? Is he authentic and real?

If not, just rent the movie. You’ll save enough green for the popcorn.

Wanna hire a REAL motivational speaker? Check out what I do in lieu of 9 Steps?

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Humorist, Keynoter

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I was just working at San Juan College in New Mexico. They wanted a motivational speaker for this “in service day” who could fire up their troops, but then stay and work more in depth with the group about how specifically these hard working staffers could incorporate the humor and laughter as a tool at work.

Lucky me! I got the job. We were there for a half-day seminar and keynote, and we had a ball.

[Link to my post about the trip to this New Mexico College.]

Are you looking for a motivational speaker, keynote, seminar or humor in the workplace expert for your group? Wondering how you can tell if they can fit your specific needs?

Check out these testimonials for more info. My hope is that you’ll think I’m a good fit and you’ll give me a buzz. Link. In-Service Speaker? Pick me! :)

I have a pet peeve: I hate it when reporters, speakers, and even bloggers don’t reveal who they are voting for in the presidential race. Who’s it gonna be? Hillary? Obama? McCain?

Yes, I understand some people think that if I endorse one candidate or the other, I could alienate part of my “audience” and the result would weaken my message on motivation, humor, and laughter.

I might not get the chance to help businesses increase productivity though levity if they do not agree with my choice for president.

I say, “Heck with that!” For the first time publicly, I’m revealing my choice in the photos below.

May the best man — or woman — win!

presidential tee shirts obama hilary mccain

I don’t need your vote in the election. But I’d love your business. If you’re in the process of electing motivational speakers, I hope you’ll call.

PS. Hey Hillary! Hey Obama! Hey John! I just KNOW politicians need humor in the workplace speakers and motivational speakers too! Give me a jingle and I’ll come do a keynote for your campaign staff. (And dare I say…at the White House?) I’ll see you in Washington, D.C.!

I took these photos on a recent trip to Washington, D.C. where I got more than a few laughs and comments. Later we put the shirts on my three kids and had them walk around the Mall as tourists. What a hoot! If you need a laugh, this tee shirt thing was an easy way to brighten anybody’s day.

What we should have done is rent them to people to let them take a photo in the shirts. Can you say, “Daddy, lunch is on me?”

PPS. If you look closely, there is a hint in the photos above about which candidate I truly endorse. Can you tell which one? Comment below and if you are right (and know the the “hint” I’m talking about, I’ll send you a free digital copy of my book.

And no…it isn’t the thumbs up thing. WAY more subtle than that!

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I’m just back from Farmington, New Mexico where I spoke to a wonderful group of staff at San Juan College. san juan collegeIt was an in-service day, and my job was to motivate this group of hard working staffers, give them a chance to turn into a stronger team, and to facilitate some creative ideas how to improve morale. San Juan has been through some tough times lately, and is dealing with change. My job was to help make work more fun…and in turn help this group be more productive.

It was a total blast. There were many highlights, but let’s go over a few:

san juan collegeThis group started of ticked off that there was no coffee service in the morning. Ok, that was a bummer. But it became really funny because I teased them about it. And teased some more. Sure, it was a bummer to miss our coffee, but it was hardly the end of the world. We joked about it. We started laughing. A kind woman from the food service staff got me a cup of coffee. I gave it to Reid, a fun guy from the audience to pass out little “sips” to the people suffering the most from caffeine deficiency. It was a small thing that turned out great. And very, VERY funny.
I often teach people to lighten up their business meetings by putting out toys for the attendees to fiddle and fidget with. San Juan didn’t need me to tell them this…they had pipe cleaners and Play Doh on every table, plus some other toys. Check out some of these photos of some of the coolest creations.

But perhaps the biggest highlight came from the creative people in this San Juan College Audience. They were tasked with coming up with techniques or tactics they would actually implementsan juan college new mexico to make their office life more fun. They were challenged to come up with “to do” lists of what they personally would do differently based on our time together. Check out this awesome list of Humor in the Workplace ideas:

• Give candies to people who make you laugh. ( Keep ’em in your desk and give them away as reward.)

• Change ring tone on other people’s phone. The folks at San Juan College are able to set their own ring tones on their office phones. Some man snuck to a woman’s phone, and recored his own voice saying, “Are you there? Are you there?” This was her new ring tone!

• Artificial cheese “to go with your whine.” I LOVE this idea. They had some fake cheese they got at a craft shop (what in the heck anybody really needs fake cheese for I’ll never know) and they ceremoniously gave the cheese away to anybody who whines. This is wonderful.

• Create and use nicknames for co-workers. Loving and fun nicknames can make people feel good and push up the joy-quotient.

• Throw stress balls when at people who start to get to negative.

• Hit negative co-workers with a foam sword.new mexico college

• Give a toy bomb to somebody who is “Da Bomb.”

• Send memos via air mail. (Fold them into paper airplane.)

• Throw marshmellows at co-workers for “no good reason.” I’d love to see the janitorial staff after a day of marshmallow fun!

• Give “mini-sized” box of Frosted Flakes to co-worker with note, “You are Great!”

• Combat grumpy people with love and kindness. (Wow…what a deep and wonderful idea.)

• Make prank phone calls to co-workers.

• Silly String At Work. (I’m tellin’ ya… I’ve done this. Silly String is cheap, cleans up easy, and is absolutely fun. You can NOT be miserable if you are spraying Silly String! Or having it sprayed at you. It’s a no brainer…go buy some now.)

• Change a co-workers screen saver. (How creative can you get? What could you do to make this really funny?)

• Make a contest that whoever whines the most has to buy the monthly lunch your team shares.

• Contest: the most whiny person has to take take the minutes at the next boring meeting.

• Use tape loops to tape your workmate’s telephone receiver to their phone. (So when they try to answer the phone they can’t “pick up.”
• Put a small piece of tape over the laser on the bottom of somebody’s mouse. It will simulate a broken mouse. (I love this idea because it is a totally victimless practical joke or prank.)
• Change the height of a workmate’s desk chair. Do this one time and it’s funny. Do this twelve times over the course of two weeks, it’s hilarious.

Hey San Juan! I dare youLet Me Know What YOUR Highlight Was! Use the comment field to tell me about your “Ah Ha” for the day. I dare ya!

Thanks so much for having me. You make me feel like the luckiest san juan college fun audiencemotivational speaker ever!


PS. Learn more about the seminars I did for San Juan here.