I was a fish out of water … and into the cow pie. It was Green Acres meets Tony Robbins. It was City-Slickers-meets-Deepak-Chopra.

Okay, it was none of the above. But it was fun.

I recently returned from Kansas where I was offerle-cooptasked with being a motivational speaker for a bunch of farmers — all members of Offerle Coop. I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t what they expected — fast talking jokester with a message about enjoying life. But I can tell you this: by the end of the night everybody — including me — was pumped. It was a good time.

They were celebrating their 100 year anniversary as a Grain Coop and invited me to address the Kansas group after a big dinner.

I loved it for a million reasons. Ok, maybe not a million; how ’bout five:

• I enjoyed my drive in. It’s a beautiful part of the country, and because I’m a city kid, I really enjoyed looking at the feed lots JAMMED with cattle. (Check out the video.)

Motivational speaker

Why else did I love being a motivational speaker at this Kansas event? Here are the remaining four:

• This audience wasn’t jaded. They didn’t come in with that Los Angeles or NYC attitude that they’ve seen it all. They weren’t a push-over audience; but they were open to giving the speaker a shot. That’s refreshing.

• It was a fun event, and I was proud to be part of it. Members of the Coop drove in from the entire region to celebrate, to get a steak, to meet with neighbors… and to hear little ol’ me. I think I’m not letting the cat out of the bag to say that not a Offerle Kansas doesn’t have a ton of entertainment options. So just the fact that they were having some dude from Colorado was news in itself. And we were in Dodge City… a fun trip for anybody in in SW Kansas!

• We got to poke fun at the farmers. There I was, this chatty, fast-talking speaker from Colorado clearly out of my element. So I made fun of me and how they barely let me in the door because I’ve never seen a true soybean. And I made fun of some of the men — good, hard working guys who are way more of the strong and silent type than I am. (There’s a shock, huh?) They answered my good-natured questions with one word answers which I accidentally (??) misunderstood. The women howled. The men thought it was hilarious. And I had one of the best nights of the year.

• It was a return trip for me. I had worked with Duane from the Coop a couple times in the past… years ago. It’s flattering to work for anybody. But being invited back (three times!) is five times cooler. (I know, I know. It’s weird speaker math.)

Thanks Offerle! I had a blast. And yup, the steak was delicious.

Brad Montgomery
Kansas Motivational Speaker, Fan of Coops, Fan of Offerle

 

Note:  Dear Readers:  Please comment below and tell me what you are reading now!

My pal and fellow Colorado Speaker Jay Arthur and I are in the same mastermind group.   After a discussion about reading in one of our meetings, he wrote the following letter, and I thought it was absolutely right on.  Check it out:

Years ago, I listened to a tape by motivational speaker Brian Tracy.festival of books
He said that if you read an hour a day, that in five years you’ll be a worldwide expert in your field.
I listened and adopted his advice.

In 1976, my friend Dave told me that “Everything you need to know is written in a book somewhere; all you need to do is find an author who speaks to you.” At that time, I was three years out of college and hadn’t read a book since.
I listened and adopted his advice.

And, I rarely buy a book anymore. I check them out of the library.
I found that too many books are “all feathers and no meat.”
Every once in awhile I find a book that’s really meaty and I buy a copy to highlight and review.

I’m going to suggest, that if we aren’t reading in our chosen field and other fields that might have stimulating ideas, that we are becoming obsolete and irrelevant.

Jay

Then I responded:

I’d like to chime in.   I second Jay’s advice.  I read all the time.  I love novels, but lately have read books about everything from Base Ball Strategy,  gourmet cooking, New York chefs (—I was on a roll!), West Point, D-Day, and John Adams.  I like them and feel that I’m learning about the world.  I think this type of reading is important.

But at the National Speakers Association CSP/ CPAE summit books(I have at least one of those) my main take away might seem relevant.  And I’ll save you the $1500 it cost me to get it:   become a thought leader.   This means reading in my field and related fields and then be able to think and write uniquely in my field.

Seriously, that was what I got out of the seminar.  ALL of the people making big money are big thinkers.  Period. Product, speeches, consulting etc follow….they don’t lead.

So I immediately bought six books.  Four of them blow, but I’m going VERY slowly and carefully through the remaining two, which are awesome.    (I need to start working the library like Jay).   I’m on a roll and already have several other books cued up.

There are two immediate results from my reading:

1.    I’m learning stuff that is applicable to my writing (blogs/books) and to my keynote.  I’m taking organized concrete steps toward increasing my expertise and ability to be a thought leader.

2.  I feel damn good about myself because I know this is a good idea.  And I’m taking the time to read, take notes, highlight, try to think of it thru’ my eyes as a ‘happiness/humor-at-work guy.”    Seriously, I feel great about doing this. I’m an idiot for not adopting it sooner.

I’m still reading about cool stuff that I love.  And I still love novels. But now, as part of my work week I’m reading.

My main goals in my work day include only 4 things:
1.  website improvement and maintenance.
2.  Work towards being a thought leader.   (Read now, write soon)
3.  Work all incoming calls/email leads to death.
4.  Build a herd.

Everything else is either secondary or a subset of one of the top 4.

Thanks Jay for starting the conversation.

Brad

So my question to you is:  what are YOU reading, and why?   Can you learn, as I have, from Jay and others like him?  Read now and you’ll be an expert before you know it.

Need an expert on how humor and happiness effect our productivity at work?  Go to the contact page now.

Note:  Dear Readers:  Please comment below and tell me what you are reading now!

Yours,

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Reader, and…. Thought Leader!

PS.  Sign up for Jay’s ezines at www.qimacros.com/freestuff.html and www.qimacros.com/freeknow.html

 

This amazing story about good humor (and good grace) from one of my motivational speaker friends, Barbara Glanz.

In short, the story is about how civilian travelers voluntarily gave up their first class seats to the soldiers flying on board a commercial airliner. It’s hard not to feel good about it.

Check out this excerpt:

…Another young lady was seated in that row, and he img_mil_lgwas able to hear a bit of their conversation. The young man told her that he had just finished a tour in Iraq, was coming home on leave, and then would go back in several weeks.

As they were talking, a woman who had been seated in First Class, came back to the young man’s row, introduced herself, and asked him for his Boarding Pass. A bit puzzled, he handed it to her, at which point she, in turn, handed hers to him. She said, “I would like to trade seats with you.”

The young man immediately responded, “Oh, no, Ma’am, I couldn’t do that.”

She smiled a huge smile and said, “Oh, yes, you can, Soldier. It’s an order!”

So, as everyone around wiped teary eyes, the young man reached up for his backpack and went up to sit in First Class.

Read the entire story here.

What’s my point? We all have it in us to create happiness. And the amazing thing about creating happiness for others is that we end up happier ourselves. Sure, those soldiers felt great to be upgraded and recognized. But the individuals who traded seats with them — I imagine — felt as good or better. They knew they had been kind, and then knew they made a difference.

When you go out of your way to create joy or humor, and when you consciously make the people around you happier, the unavoidable result is more happiness for yourself.

In other words, it doesn’t matter how selfless you are, you end up getting as much as you give. Magic. And it’s very, very cool.

Next time you’re having a crappy day, GIVE some happiness. Buy the stranger behind you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Anonymously send a drink to a young couple in a restaurant. Or make a point to give somebody who never expected it a compliment. “I like your shoes,” goes farther than you probably think. (With some people, it goes REALLY far.)

Want to be happier? Then make somebody else happy. I guarantee it will work.

Need a speaker to talk about happiness as it relates to life and work? Want military motivational speaker? (And I don’t even need first class!) Contact me here.

Brad Montgomery
Funny Keynote Speaker, Happiness Expert, Lover of First Class

Technorati Tags: Del.icio.us Tags:

I recently blogged about how one of my clients (The Air Force) was able to make up some missing budget by partnering with their convention hotel. Read that article here.

The Renaissance Hotel in St. Louis was as happy with the arrangement as the Air Force was.   I was thrilled.

Check out this video here:

Motivational speaker

Thanks Renaissance. I’m flattered. We had fun, didn’t we?

Does YOUR organization need a motivational keynote speaker? Go to the contact page.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Keynote Speaker, Loves help With Speakers Fees!

Related:

See the video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDipR4RjtSo
renaissance-hotelTechnorati Tags: Del.icio.us Tags:

renaissance-hotelOn a recent trip to St. Louis were I spoke to the Air Force, my client came up with a brilliant idea. It was so good I’d love to claim credit, but he reads my blog and he’d rat me out.

[See video from the hotel job here.]

My speakers fees were greater than the budget for this particular military event. What to do? My client got creative, thought outside of the Budget Box and teamed up with his host hotel. He had hundreds of Airmen staying at the Renaissance Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. Between the meeting rooms, the hotel rooms, and all of the related expenses (room service, restaurant and coffee shop purchases, etc) he was a BIG client for the hotel.

He suggested to his hotel client that they partner with him, and have me speak to the hotel staff on the same day that I spoke to his military group.  I was speaking to the Air Force after lunch. My meeting planner knew that I’d fly into Missouri the night before… and would be free in the morning.

So he suggested that I speak to the hotel staff in the morning, and then work for him after lunch.

Bottom line: it worked perfectly. The hotel had an All-Manager meeting. Theyhotel logo brought in all of the top folks from all of their departments from the Starbucks kiosk in the lobby to housekeeping to front desk to maintenance to the kitchens.

I worked ahead of time with some of their people so that, (as I do with all my clients,) I could come in prepared to speak to THIS particular audience.

[It was a special event; the hotel industry has been hammered, and this hotel, like so many others, recently went though some deep layoffs. The staff was in shock, scared, and nervous. The CEO gave them a sort of “State of the Business” speech which was both totally cool, and a bit scary. The news wasn’t great. And then I was tasked with putting that bad news back into perspective and help them figure a way to work their morale (and fun quotient) back up to healthy and productive levels.]

The hotel was thrilled because they got access to a speaker they might not otherwise be able to afford. And they felt that helping such a huge client was good for them as well. And the Air Force was thrilled because they were able to get the speaker —that’s me! — they wanted and meet still meet their budget.

And I was thrilled because I got to work with two awesome groups, enjoy St. Louis, and work with with a fun and creative meeting planner who had an awesome idea.

What’s my point? Are you short of money? Looking to hire a Top Shelf speaker but are suffering with a reduced budget? Consider partnering with your hotel. If the Air Force was smart enough to figure it out, the rest of us ought to be smart enough to “borrow” their concept.

(Hey Bruce… I know you’re reading this. Thanks for the killer idea, and for making it happen.)

Are you looking for a motivational speaker? Go to the contact page now! (And we can talk about partnering with your hotel if you like.)

Yours,
Brad Montgomery
Missouri Motivational Speaker, Military Speaker, Hotel Speaker (All in One!)

Related:
See the St. Louis Speaker video on YouTube
Speakers Rates & Fees Explained
Does Brad Charge By the Hour? (More on Fees)

Technorati Tags: Del.icio.us Tags:

This computer animation of a computer bug cracked me up. It looks real doesn’t it? Admit it, you tried to “brush” it off your screen, huh? Combine this animation with the fact that I love office pranks and office practical jokes and bam! We’ve got an idea for ya!

Here’s a ready-to-implement practical joke you can pull on your office mates. Right now. No prep time.. Nothing sticky. Nothing to buy or clean up. Just haul your office mate and tell them you have just got a computer bug.

“Hey!  Oh no!  I have a computer bug!!!   EEEEEEEEEaaaaaaghkkkkk!”   (You can leave off that last word if you have trouble pronouncing it.   I personally think the “k”s are silent.)

Better yet, call in your IT support team and show them this bug. [Here’s your chance to try out your acting chops. Get excited. Show them your anxiety. Be the nervousness. A bit of the old method acting will improve this prank. Besides, let’s face it: you haven’t acted since high school and you miss it.]

Yeah, I know. It’s not brilliant. But it’s kinda cool. Admit it. It’s kinda cool.

Craving some humor in your workplace and need more than an animated computer bug? Hire a funny motivational speaker. (My keynote speech is WAY funnier than this moving graphic, I swear!) Go to the contact page now.

Do me a favor: let me know how it turns out. Were they fooled? Did the mood in the office change? Was it fun? Or did they just think you were a nut? (For the record, my wife was in the second category.)

Cheers,

Brad Montgomery
Humor in the Workplace Speaker, Funny Keynote Speaker, Lover of Silly Practical Jokes

 

 

Technorati Tags: , , , , Del.icio.us Tags: , , , ,

brad-horse-2What’s cooler than being a motivational speaker? Being a customer of the very same people that you motivated.

I had the excellent fortune of speaking to the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association a few months ago. It was a fun gig: we were in the Ritz Carlton in the Colorado Rockies. A great group of people shared motivational laughter and fun.

One thing I love about my job is I get to learn bits and pieces of many industries. In prepping for the Association keynote, I was coached on how ranches work, what the loves and stresses are, and where the industry is headed.

Normally this would be the end of a good story: I love my job and love speaking. But the story is just getting started…

northforkranchMy family and I recently returned from a stay with one of the member dude ranches of the Colorado association. We went to North Folk Ranch, in Shawnee, Colorado. It’s known for fishing and horse riding. And for full-on gourmet food. It was a TOTAL blast being able to see and experience the very same industry I spoke to. I think I would have enjoyed any ranch. But the North Fork in particular was total first-class, top-shelf joy.

Let me qualify the following story by saying that I had an outstanding time. The staff, the brad-on-horsefood, the views, the facilities, and Karen and Dean May (the owners) absolutely rocked. I recommend that all of you pick up your phone now and make a reservation at the North Fork Ranch.

I’d only offer one piece of advice for you, dear readers. Don’t get on a horse. Seriously. Don’t do it. They hurt.

They put me on a horse that was apparently large. (From my perspective, they are all flippin’ huge. I’m a city boy and I’m afraid of big dogs.) I had to get on some ladder thingy to mount my horse. (This is only slightly embarrassing…. none of the real horse people seem to need a boost.)

An hour and a half of bouncy excruciating horsing later, I was convinced that the fine folks at Guantanamo have it wrong: they don’t need water boarding. Just put terrorists on a horse for 90 minutes and bounce them though the Rockies and they will give up their best friend. Seriously, it’s a slow torture.

I couldn’t move. My legs were frozen. My butt hurt more than you can say, “Oh my gosh this saddle is huge.”

The wranglers practically needed a crane to get me off. (Getting off on my own was out of the question: The Abe Lincoln at the Wax Museum could move better than I could at that moment. After I got off I stood very, VERY still. I waited. Some blood came back. In 40 or 50 minutes I was able to walk again. (Ok, maybe not that long. But in Horse Time, it had to be forever.)

The wranglers were kind; they didn’t laugh even a little. (Until I left.) They told me the horse was too with-dude-signbig for me. I’m certain they lied to make me feel less like an idiot. (Nobody else seemed to be in agony. Every other guest seemed to jump right off, pat their horse and head in for lemonade. But try as I might, my legs wouldn’t budge.) My kids thought that the fact that I was stiffer than an I-Beam was hilarious.

dean-karen-mayStill, I had a total ball. Nobody made me go on another ride — though they did take me on a couple of shorter rides on a smaller horse. Yes, it did hurt less. The smaller horse was no longer like being drawn and quartered. It was more like being pulled like a wishbone.

We retreated to fabulous views, gourmet luxury, a wildly unique “Mountain Man,” wonderful company, and even a late night, after-hours-under-the-stars visit to the hot tub.

My wife loved it. My kids loved it. And I loved it. But please, don’t make me go on that big horse again— I’ll say anything. I’ll admit to any crime. I’ll give up any secrets you want. Just don’t make me ride.

Hey North Fork! You guys rock. You made our week. Thanks so much. Keep up the great work. It’s easy to see why you are so successful. Thanks for sharing the love!

Do YOU need a motivational speaker (and promise not to make me ride a horse afterwards?) Contact me now.

Yours,mountainman-ben
Brad Montgomery
Colorado Motivational Speaker, Urban Cowboy, Flexibility-Challenged Dude

Technorati Tags: colorado-dude-ranch-assoc Del.icio.us Tags:

Dagnabbit, I’m out of Airheads Xtremes.

I’m back from the Cincinnati, Ohio area where I was a motivational xtremesspeaker for Perfetti van Melle. (This is the HUGE candy company that is famous in the USA for AirHeads and Mentos.)

I had a great time working with their team: we talked about ramping up the fun in the candy business, and connected that to increasing their bottom line. [Have more fun = Sell more candy.] It was a killer group of good people.

My favorite part of the program was watching this very weary, airheadscandycorporate group start early in the morning quite and polite. When I started, they barely laughed. Heck, they barely smiled. (This is predictable…they didn’t know there would be a funny speaker…and in fact have never had a paid professional speaker at these meetings.)

But sixty minutes later they were raucous, fun, participatory, loud, and very, VERY fun. It’s a fun process to watch; it’s a fun process to be part of.

The ONLY thing wrong with the whole event was that they sent me home with a briefcase full of their products. Mentos, Mentos Gum, (yum!), some Airheads (which my kids love) and my personal favorite, AirHeads Xtremes Sweetly Sour Belts.

Put away the crack. The heroin. The cigarettes. They mean nothing to me and never have. But HELLO MOM these things are good. Really good. I had planned on sharing with the folks on the plane, and of course with my kids. All I can say is that the kids got to try them, but the people on United Airlines had to fend for themselves.

Here’s the video:

tweetthis

Thanks Perfetti van Melle! I had a total blast.

Do YOU need a motivational speaker for your organization? With or without candy, contact us now. Go to the contact page.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Fan of Mentos, LOVER of Airheads Xtremes

Technorati Tags: href=”http://www.technorati.com/tag/Perfetti” target=”_top” rel=”tag” title=”Technorati tag: Perfetti”>Perfetti Del.icio.us Tags:

I love nurses. Not in the way you’re thinking. : ) I mean I love speaking to audiences of nurses.

I recently was in Kansas working for a group Nursesof oncology nurses (or is it a pride of nurses? A gaggle?) and had an absolute blast.

What set’s nurses apart from other audiences? Even health care audiences? Besides the scrubs, quite a bit. They are over worked and underpaid. (Ok, so that doesn’t make them unique.) And their hard work with sick and critically ill patients makes them quick to laugh and ready for a dose of levity.

They are in desperate need of a break from their lives, and are eager and ready to learn any tips and tricks you have to share about how to deal with the constant stresses and change associated with healthcare. So being a speaker is always fun. But being a healthcare speaker for nurses is double cool.

One of my favorite parts of this particular speech was that I followed a doctor who had a fairly serious program about the business of healthcare. Then, just as I started he left. So…. we…. er… I…. talked about him. I gently poked fun at doctors in general (which all nurses love!) and him in particular. I didn’t cross the line. But I may have visited it.

The audience went wild. As a motivational health care speaker, I find it fun to incorporate the audiences specifics into my program. But this doctor presenting just before my program was a gift from the Comedy Gods. It was a hoot.

Check out this video filmed RIGHT after the program:


health care speaker
Looking for a healthcare speaker? Feel like your healthcare audiences deserves both motivation and a deep belly laugh? Go to the contact page now!

Brad Montgomery
Funny Healthcare Speaker, Fan of Kansas, Fan of Nurses!

Technorati Tags: