I was recently working as an Emcee for a huge technology conference in Texas. They wanted me to be both a motivational speaker and a master of ceremonies. It was a fun date, it was (happily) well received.
(By the way, check out my current avatar on the right. Yes, it’s a lumpy guy w/ fireman pants. My pals in Second Life think I’m a total dork… which is fine by me as long as they laugh. This screen shot is a shot of me looking in at my books in the virtual bookstore of my pals over Synapse3di.)
Check out this 40 second video so you can get a feel for what I did:
One of my favorite parts was when I was tasked introduce some of the new ways this organization’s resources available via Second Life. I’m deeply involved in the business use of Second Life, and have spent a bunch of time figuring a way to deliver my motivational speeches via Second Life. So…. well… I knew a bunch about the concept. (Translation: I knew how to make it fun.)
Are you looking for a motivational speaker, humorist or humor in the workplace expert to speak for your organization, and you want to hold your event in Second Life? I’d love to be your guy. Contact me here.
Second Life Speaker, Motivational Speaker, Lumpy Guy with FireMan Pants
One of my best pals from way back when (we both had hair) is Craig Young. He left a hefty salary by jumping off the corporate ship to follow his passion. He was a big deal at Accenture and decided that he wanted more. He wanted to be a high school teacher. I speak pretty often…. Craig speaks to high school “audiences” every day.
In this photo, Craig looks like he is a little bit cazy, a little bit sick — and a little bit scared. I’m totally jealous of him. Here’s what he said about this flight:
In Sept. I had a chance to go on a parabolic flight to experience weightlessness – the same type of flights that NASA uses to train astronauts for weightlessness. This week, I finally received the photos and videos from the event. Attached is one of the better photos of me being “weightless”.
The weightless flight was a deal for science and math teachers sponsored by Northrop Grumman (a CA defense contractor). Their goal is to inspire teachers who can then inspire students to pursue math and science…and turn into nice little engineers working for defense contractors. Anyway, I applied in the spring and found out in August that I’d been selected. We
got together in early Sept to design some experiments showing the effects of weightless. The flight was on Sept 18. It was basically an all-day event, but the flight was only 90 minutes. We flew out of San Jose over the Pacific Ocean. Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, the plane started doing these crazy roller-coaster-like hills – climbing at a 50-degree angle then putting the engines in neutral and letting Earth’s gravity pull us through a parabola. We did that 15 times and got about 20 seconds of weightlessness each time. It was a phenomenal experience!
My teammates and I had planned only 4 experiments we wanted to perform, thinking that it would take a while to get acclimated and to collect our wits. I never collected my wits! Every time we went into freefall, I got giddy and could barely concentrate on what we were doing. It was such a different sensation than I had imagined. We did get our experiments completed but the video I took was a complete waste – fingers in the way, pictures of feet, backs, floors, ceilings – everything but the experiments. Luckily, the company had a professional photographer and mounted video cameras so we got some great footage from them. As I said
before, if I needed another reason to be a science teacher, that was it.
My students all got 2 days of weightlessness discussion – 1 the day after the flight and another when the videos came in. I also got to keep the flightsuit so I wore that both days to school and on Halloween.
Motivational Speaker, Educator, Fan of Folks with Passion
This is funny. I don’t care if you voted Republican or Democrat, you have to admire the clever folks who put this humorous video together.
Click this link for the video.
Notice that I’m famous.
In many ways, this video is like a great keynote speech:
Next time you present in front of a business audience, do you think you can use any of this principles?
The folks at MoveOn.org made me laugh. And that says quite a lot.
Independent Voter, Motivational Keynote Speaker, Humorist, Fan of Clever Videos
Check out my Linkedin Profile
Ok, so I’m guessing that most folks with a small office often use Starbucks as a second office. I do. But in this video podcast check out the reason why I HAD to go to this other office.
It turns out that as I was returning calls and answering emails for motivational speaker job here in Colorado, I was totally silenced. There was some warranty work that had to be done to correct an error on our house. We were surprised one morning when two huge guys with jackhammers just showed up and created the symphony of chaos. (Hurry! Somebody trademark that…. what a great name for a band.)
Anyhow, it cracked me up. Hope you enjoyed the video.
Colorado Motivational Speaker, Home Officer, Love of Jackhammers.
Specifically, I was working with the DCMA – Defense Contractors Management Agency. I was hired by a Mr. Charlie Williams, their director and a nice man who hired me twice for contracting events for the Air Force. (Mr. Williams recently changed jobs.)
I always love speaking, but speaking for the military is especially exciting and meaningful. Especially because we’re at war, and because their job could not be more serious. Sure, I enjoy working for corporate groups and associations, and those folks are good people. But their mission is never quite as life-and-death as my military audiences.
My corporate audiences are stressed out about meeting sales quotas, selling widgets, and their newsoftware. Military audiences are stressed out because they were just deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, (or about to be) and are supporting their peers who are there right now. I don’t mean to dismiss anybody’s career or problems, but let’s face it, our friends in the military are in an especially unique work situation.
By looking at the front of USA Today we can easily forget about Iraq and Afghanistan. But when you walk into a room full of DOD / DCMA folks, you don’t need a reminder. These are good folks with a serious job.
So, what was it like? What did we do? The first thing I did was to (politely) poke fun at nearly everything they did. I poked fun at how the top “brass” was in the front row, about how they had just sat through HOURS of PowerPoint (which they complicated by calling “Briefing Slides.”) I teased them about their unending acronyms, the crazy soap stocked in our hotel rooms, and even about their long (and somehow undescriptive) job titles. (What does an Industrial Specialist do anyhow?)
In my experience as a humorist and business speaker, the groups that are the quickest to laugh are the groups that need it most. This group really needed a break; they were extremely fast to catch on to thehumor.
It is always gratifying to take a group from stressed to “ready to work.” It is always fun to fun to give them tools to use have and use their senses of humor. And of course it’s a total blast to make any group laugh until they cry. But to do this for a group of hardworking cilvilian and military folks who need it most just makes you feel like you’re the luckiest guy with the coolest job ever.
I’ve heard the words, “I’m honored to be part of your team.” Heck, I’ve even said them. But in this case, I couldn’t mean it more.
Hey Mr. Williams: thanks so much for bringing me in. It was great to work for you once. It’s MORE than three times cooler to work for you three times. And to the good folks at DCMA … you rock! Keep your chin up, keep the fun-meter on high, and keep up the good work. Your mission is too important to not treat yourself right.
Military Speaker, Fan of the DCMA, Honored to be Part Your Event
Our membership could not have been more delighted with Brad Montgomery. He was, in a word, wonderful. His message of being upbeat and making the most of difficult times was so appropriate for our audience…they are still raving about his performance, personality and how he managed to set the stage for our working weekend.
To be perfectly honest, I was a little anxious when he started…retailers get a little unnerved when people start talking about the challenges of a down economy. However, Brad (the consummate professional) worked right through it and had the audience eating out of his hands by the end of the evening.
As I told Brad, there were folks in the audience dealing with stores closing, personal health issues, family challenges and the like. He managed — in about 45 minutes — to get everyone in an upbeat mood and receptive to solving the opportunities we face.
As a matter of fact, his mantra for the evening (“How cool is that?”) was cited in several thank you notes and has been repeated often amongst those in attendance.
I would highly recommend Brad Montgomery to any group interested in a delightful performance that allows participants to forget their troubles and open their minds to possibilities.
Susan L. Milhoan
President and CEO
I’m blushing! Susan and the gang…thanks so much for the kind words. If you’re group has 1/2 as much fun as I did we’ll be fine. :)
Besides, we did this event in a beautiful resort near Norfolk. “Having” to work in such nice digs is a totally great benefit from this crazy job.
Virginia Motivational Speaker, Retail Speaker, Fan of Resorts!
If you are looking for a fun way to procrastinate at the office, I have a really fun game for ya! I have to admit that the game is silly and goofy and stupid….and I lost about 15 minutes of my life to it. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me gobble.
Or… if you really want to get your staff fired up, motivated, and ready to work — if you want to build their spirit, their teamwork and their communication skills — if you want to make work more fun in order to boost produtivity, — and if you want your staff to stop playing these silly games — contact me to speak to your group now!
Humor At Work Expert, Speaker, Turkey Shooter
PS. For those of you I was supposed to call today … blame the turkey!
Most folks would agree that there is a fine line between humor and offense. As that gray line is relative, and could be anybody’s guess. What one person may think is hilarious, another group may think is totally off-color and offensive. How can you tell the difference?
Before humor is introduced to any audience, regardless of its size, demographics and culture, you must first research and learn about the people you’re working around. The worst thing that you can do in an office setting is tell a joke or a funny story that ends up alienating more folks than you made laugh. Humor is delicate, very delicate and must be handled as such. Here are some tips and strategies that I have used in my 20 years experience of helping offices to “lighten up”:
Know who the Type A, Alpha Male/Female in the group is. Identify that strong personality and cater to them like nobody’s business! Since this is the person who generally makes final decisions, be sure to stay on their “list” to keep him/her happy. Find out what they like/dislike and their brand of humor style. Trust me – they have one. You’ve just got to find where it is. This one naturally leads to…
Take Your Queues from the Head Honchos
Basically, if the boss doesn’t laugh, neither should you. Sounds stifling? Probably is, but you want a job next week, don’t you? Yes, I know bosses can sometimes be drier than day old toast, but what are you going to do? As hard as it may be, until you find that “happy place” that has your boss hostage, you simply must go with the flow my friends. After a while, it will become easier as you learn his/her humor style, behavior and funny threshold. Just hang in there.
Never, ever, ever, ever under any circumstances tell off-color jokes in a large office gathering. There are times and places for certain jokes and stories, and the office setting may not be appropriate for them all. You can offend, alienate and downright make some folks mad. Save those jokes for the weekend bar-be-que when the boss is not around, k?
There are a ton of other applied methods that I’ve laid out in my workshops and in my books about workplace humor. As a humorist, I show corporate environments how to lighten things up in the workplace short of locking the boss up in the closet. OK, I’m kidding. Kind of. But what is so unique and fun is finding those strategies that work wonders for YOUR office since everyone is so different.
What workplace challenges does your office face in relation to humor? Do you have one of those “quirky” bosses who finds nothing funny or humorous? How do you work around it?
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Humor in the Workplace Consultant, Humorist
A while back I spoke at a huge Las Vegas conference for McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants.
I had a ball…. and let me tell you why.They took the time to coach me about their corporate culture… which helps me a great deal. And then, even better, I had a chance to visit with their executive chefs and General Managers before my keynote speech.
Better yet, I ate in one of their restaurants 3 days before my keynote speech. I met the executive chef and the general manager. They let me tour the kitchen and take photos. (And they treated me and my pals great…yum!)
[ Actually, there is a cool story there too. I was there with a few pals who happen to be professional speakers themselves…so some of the funniest ideas came from my humorist pals. Colorado speaker and humor pal Steve Spangler took the photos. It was a fun night.) ]
It was like a gift. A perfect storm of great info from the right people. Now, I have to admit it; sometimes the info I get from my clients doesn’t lead anywhere. Sometimes it isn’t funny. And occasionally it is hard for me to really tailor what I do for their group. But in this case it was the total opposite. It was as though everything I said made it’s way into the presentation.Even the little details.
For example, when I was in the restaurant I ordered salmon that was cooked on a plank of Cedar wood. It was delicious. (The fish, not the plank.) But when I retold the story, and showed (via PowerPoint) a photo of me trying to eat that silly plank, we got the audience rolling. Then I followed with jokes about the creativity about adding secret ingredients to their dishes…. like wood. Again… more humor.
I showed photos of me stealing their stuff…and of me doing their dishes (from my visit to the restaurant that week.) Trust me… it was funny. Best of all…it was humor all for and about them.
What’s my point? I have two.
First: if you are looking for motivational speakers, have some long and hard conversations about tailoring and customizing. Your group — especially in this day of instant everything ‚ will be turned off if the speaker doesn’t “Get” them. Make sure your speaker does. Professional speakers who tailor or customize the message for your audience will make that crucial “connection” in a meaningful and solid way.
Second: From my perspective as a humorist and speaker,
the tailoring is one of the absolute joys of my job. If I HAD to give the same cookie-cutter presentation every time I might shoot myself. The real fun is in making sure it is “just for them.” Thanks McCormick & Schmick’s! I loved it. Learn more about my keynote speaking here.
Do you have an event where you need to motivate and fire up your troops?
Think a funny motivational speaker who can translate humor into business wisdom makes sense? Me too. Contact me here for info about bringing me to your event.
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Humorist, Fan of Las Vegas, and Lover of Fish!
PS. Here is a bootleg video of me as speaking for them in Las Vegas, Nevada. Check out the customized jokes…they might not make sense to you, but to THEM they were fun. (And I had a blast.)