SHOW Them Why You’re the ONE for the Job–Put on your Creative Pants!

Every small company at some point is looking to hire office help. Here’s my story, and the jobssearchlessons I learned. I put an ad on my local Craigslist for office help. In the ad I required applicants to send both a resume and a writing sample.

Anybody who sent both documents was automatically moved to the next round of consideration. We never even opened the files. The next round included a very lengthy questionnaire… We’re talking a total pain in the neck… The return e-mail was simply signed by my assistant with our web address. There were no other comments besides congratulating them for making the second round and asking them to fill in the questionnaire.

One of the questions, hidden in the middle of about forty others, was, “Tell us what you know about our founder.” Anybody who either failed to return the questionnaire, or failed to actually look up the website and read all of the details about the “founder,” was eliminated. Besides quickly skimming for the answer to that question, we didn’t give the lengthy questionnaire a single look.

Anybody who was able to find the website and actually answered the questions was sent imagesto the final round. The final round included… You guessed it… More questions! And anybody who filled out that second round of questions made it to the finals.

Okay, I admit it. We basically made applying for this job an absolute pain in the neck. Question after question, a hidden website, hoops to jump through.

The goal was to weed out applicants who weren’t that curious, who could not follow details, or showed no ability to find and take advantage of an obvious hint.

But in many ways we failed. We had to cut off applicants after only eight days. We were completely inundated with people who made it past the second hurdle.  Maybe 75 or 80 applicants.

Our goal was to have a small handful of very driven applicants. We were totally surprised to look in the folder of people who made it to the finals and realize there were 30 people there. [ However when you consider that over “400” people applied, that’s a pretty small percentage. ]

That’s a long story, but it comes with a pretty good point.

Imagine yourself looking in a folder of 30 applicant resumes; applicants you Stand-Out-FULLknow spent a significant amount of time going through a difficult process to get there. Imagine knowing that you had to open all of their resumes, their questionnaires, and their second set of questionnaires. What do you see in your mind? I can tell you what I saw here in the office: I saw 30 applicants who looked nearly alike on paper. Not a single one of them stood out.

What did I learn? I learned that if you want to stand out you’re going to have to do more than make sure that your resume doesn’t have any typos, that your writing sample has good grammar, and that you follow the directions. I learned that standing out takes a little bit of creativity… Though not much.

Here is what did NOT happen:

• We did not get any calls. (The phone number is on the website.)
• Nobody sent us anything by snail mail.
• Nobody sent us anything that we did not ask for.
• About 20% of the applicants followed up asking if we had made a decision yet. But they asked in a sterile way. Even those who followed up didn’t stand out.

So what did I want, you ask? I wanted courage, passion, energy, ambition and creativity. Not much, eh?

After watching the application process from this side of the desk, here is what I would have done to stand out. (Pick any or all of these ideas… Assuming it’s a job you really want.)

I would absolutely call. Even if it was just to say, “I sent in the required info but wanted to see if there was anything I could do to make my application stand out.”

(By the way, if the application said no calls I would ignore it.)

How about sending a video? Add it to your e-mail along with your resume and writing sample, and make it professional, courteous and short. Who could resist opening it?

Consider applying twice. You could apply once in a very formal way with your given name. Then you could apply again in a more creative way using your middle name. If the employer ever asked you about it, I would simply point out that I really want this job. I would ask the employer if anybody else had tried as hard as I tried to get this job and if that fact said anything about me.

I would work Google as hard as I could to find out details about the company. I would send an email to the president, to the president of HR, to anybody I think might listen. I would tell them that I am very eager to work with them, that I have started the application process, but that I am eager to show them that I’m willing to go the extra mile… Even to the point of writing the president. Heck, I might even send roses.

I would print out everything I had emailed, put it in a very nice envelope, and mail it old-school style to the person in charge. I might put a quick handwritten note on the cover page saying that I really wanted this job and thought that using an old fashion envelope might earn an extra look.

If possible, I would hand-deliver this letter, and work hard to get past the gatekeepers in order to put it in the hands of the person making the decisions. If I was unable to get past the gatekeeper, I would tell them why I was there, that I was trying to get my application to stand out, and beg them to let the decision-maker know that I was there in person.

I would use special formatting on my resume and all other documents. I might work with – or even hire – an artist to make it even more special. I would avoid boring colors and fonts. My paperwork would look professional and pleasing to the eye, but it would different.

In other words, I would work hard to stand out. I would do exactly what they required, and then take it up as many levels as I could. I would use the phone, snail mail, and in-person appearances (in combination or all three), regardless of whether or not they discourage these practices.

Of course, you must follow the instructions (except for the no calls one). I am amazed how many people were eliminated easily and quickly for not following the directions.

And of course, part two, make sure your resume, writing sample, whatever, is grammar perfect, spelling perfect, in every way perfect. That’s such an easy way for a potential employer to eliminate candidates. And if you get 400 resumes flooding your in-box, you’re looking for a way to eliminate some.

When looking for a job, pull on your creativity pants and wear them to the next level. Anybody can send in a resume or writing sample. And you’re not anybody. You’re the best person for the job. Now, show them why!

What do YOU think?  Leave a comment!
leave a comment

 

Looking for a motivational speaker for your event? Contact me here.

It’s horrible… but you can save it.

As a professional keynote comedian motivational speaker for over a quarter of a century, I have strong opinions about the use of PowerPoint. And to point out the obvious…my perspective is as a presenter…not as an audience member.

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In my opinion is that 95% of you… No, make that 99% of you… abuse this powerful tool. And by abuse I mean absolutely, totally, and wildly fail.

But the good news is that I have two very specific tips and techniques that you can use to make your PowerPoint presentations not only better but quite good.

The first technique is to use fewer words. And by fewer words I mean you need to eliminate 90 to 95% of the words on your current slides. Your audience, whoever they are, is there to see YOU. Not your slides. They are not interested in JUST the information. They want some information and YOU.

If they needed JUST the information you could hand them an article. Or they could read the book. But they are there to see you and to get a sense of how you think. If you are having them read your slides – or heaven forbid if you are reading your slides for them – you are absolutely screwing up. You’re delivering information only. They could have saved a headache and just read your info at home

Answer: Put one or two words on the slide. (Yes you heard me right. One word. Maybe 3 or 4. That’s it.)

This means that if you’re talking about your mission statement you are not going to include your entire mission statement on a slide. There will be no bullets. No paragraphs. Instead you’re going to put the word “Mission.” Then the audience will turn from the screen and look at YOU, listen to YOU, and learn from YOU. And all of that is very good.

One word on a slide is a powerful technique for you to let the Farm-bureau-201271audience know exactly where you are in the program. They have a placeholder in your presentation to help them understand. But by only having one word they are forced to look at you and to listen to you; and of course that’s the purpose. You are the presenter. You are the star. If you make PowerPoint is the star just mail you might as well mail them your presentation, and stay home drinking hot chocolate in the privacy of your own jamies. (Coincidentally, that’s what I’m doing right now. Just sayin’…)

By the way, if you have bullets on your slide you have too many words. (I know that half of you reading this article just fainted. You’re ok. Get up. Shake it off. You’re fine.) Instead of the bullets put your headline with ONE word and then you’ll give the details — the stuff that would have been in the bullets — using the spoken word. You’re a presenter right? You can talk. And you should.

Trust me: you’ll put the focus back on you.

The second concrete technique you can use to improve your PowerPoint presentations is by eliminating most of your slides. Just like the number of words per slide, the number of slides per presentation has to be drastically reduced. Don’t cut out one or two slides. I’m asking you to cut out 70 or 80% of your sites. In my hour and a half motivational presentation I have exactly 20 slides. 90 minutes; 20 slides. Why? Because I’m a professional speaker; not a professional PowerPoint demonstrator. My clients hire me for me and my take on their world; they hire me because I have a unique voice and some great information; not for having a ton of slides.

Because my slides are rare they are very powerful. The audience remembers them, comments upon them, and they each add value to my presentation. My slides are good partly because there are so few of them. It’s a little like chocolate: one or two pieces is heavenly. A truckload of chocolate just makes it cheap. Over kill. (Though who among us wouldn’t like to know for sure?)

If you have so many slides that you are audience is just looking at your slides and not at you than you have clearly missed the point. Clearly your slides are more important than you are, and for my money that’s a huge mistake.

Don’t forget that people want to see you. They want your personality, your uniqueness, and your ideas. They do not want to see endless bullets and long paragraphs on your slides; they want to see you.

The main thing to remember as a presenter is to be reminded that our audiences don’t want us just for our knowledge or our information. They want us! If they want just our information they can read our website, read the article, or they can just read the stupid PowerPoint slides that we can email them.

But audiences are too hip and sophisticated now for this type of junk. It’s time to step up, put on your Big Boy Pants, and trim the number of words and slides in your presentation. (Replacing them with you and your voice and your words. I know you’re scared. Don’t be shy, be strong! You can do it.)

PowerPoint is a terrific tool. It can illustrate points, help your audience to understand where they are in your presentation, and even communicate information that is very difficult to communicate with just words. But it is nearly always used poorly. Horribly. Tragically.

But not by you.  Right?  If you use it correctly… Which means don’t over use it… You’ll be well on your way to being a master presenter.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Powerpoint Presenter, Funny Speaker
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Read another article by Brad about his ideas for Powerpoint success here:

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Brad Montgomery is a funny motivational speaker who speaks about happiness at work and how happiness can be used as a tool to increase profitability. (Oh, and he’s laugh-out-loud funny.) To learn more about Brad please visit his website https://www.bradmontgomery.com// Or you can visit his blog https://www.bradmontgomery.com///blog.

 

The beer industry is complicated with a three-tier system and fifty different laws in fifty different states.  To be successful in beer, you need to thrive in change. Because Brad helps individuals approach change-management with a positive attitude — which means greater productivity for them and their organizations.  And because Brad is funny, the message […]

soccer

Not a great picture, but this is a recent picture of me on the indoor field.

There is a term called Flow which positive psychologists have more or less defined as that state of mind where you are completely engaged and thinking about nothing else. You know, that feeling you have when you are totally immersed in an activity that a parade could march by and you wouldn’t notice it. Flow is important because it’s one of the components to happiness & well-being.

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My team in Mexico

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It’s amazing this team puts up with me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

An outdoor league while living in Mexico. I’m the gringo on the sidelines.

flo

definitely not this Flo less

Flow is important; and so too is our own searches for finding activities that put us in a state of flow.

I experience flow when I am playing soccer. When I am playing soccer I am thinking about a lot of things: about how out of breath I am, about how that other guy is faster than me, about how the ball is coming right at me and I need to get my foot over to it in time, and how I need to look to my left because my teammate is open but he’ll only be open for a second.

What I am not thinking about is my email, my family, my health, my problems, my business, my income, or anything at all. It’s all soccer. I am in flow. And for me it’s heaven.

So what’s this got to do with you?  I found an activity that brings me to a state of flow; and now that I’m aware that soccer makes me happy I can work to play more soccer.  Easy, right?

Your Homework: think about what activity or activities bring you to a state of complete engagement. Think hard. See if you can find more than one. Now…do those activities more.  Also easy…or at least simple.

It will make you happier. Guaranteed.

Not this Flo either.

Not this Flo Either

And any of you who have seen me as a motivational speaker know that happier people are more productive and more successful than our unhappy counterparts.

If you’re looking for a business speaker who is not only very funny but can bring specific tactics about how to be funnier in life and at work to your organization please give us a call. I might even bring a woman named Flo. Get in the Flow, Flo!

 

Brad Montgomery
Motivational speaker, soccer player, lover of Flo (Flow?)

It’s Electric! It’s Kinetic! It’s Frenetic!

What energizes your group, lifts up the mood, galvanizes action? A FLASH MOB!

What is an The?NAHU Flash Mob 2013-03-25 at 2.38.38 PM
• A Spectacle
• An out of your chair, interactive, team-building phenomena
• A fun, easy-to-learn dance designed to surprise and energize, and teach your group

How does it Work?
• A ruse gets your leadership team out of the room for 5 minutes
• Brad teaches the rest a uber -simple dance they’ll surprise themselves with.
• Your group SURPRISES your leadership team with the impromptu FLASH MOB!

But We don’t have Enough Time!
• Yeah you do. Brad has done this a lot. He’s got it down.
• Brad has a system to get this thing done in just a few minutes.

But what do we get out of having a Flash Mob?
•Watch your people start smiling and laughing.
•Watch them grab their phones and start taking photos or videos.
•Watch them text their friends and say, “You won’t believe what we’re doing!”
•Takes your meeting from dull and routine to Exciting and Spectacular!
• They learn by experience … not lecture.

Are there any Long-Term Outcomes? Of course!
• Increased Trusthire a flash mob
• Increased Teamwork
• Increased Connection

How does this Connect to Laugh-O-Nomics, Brad’s laugh-filled program designed to Connect Happiness at Work to Your Bottom Line?
• People learn better when they are excited and enthused.
• Models Lighthearted Behavior in a Safe and Trusting environment
• Demonstrates the Power of Laughter
• Teaches the Values of Fun and Fun-living (and happiness at work.)

We know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “No way. Not my group. NAHU Flash Mob 2013-03-25 at 2.38.38 PMWe are too serious, stuffy, & introverted to do this thing. Dance? Not us!” But you’re wrong. Brad has had groups as diverse as the “good ol’ boys” at John Deere, to some a finance group in Ohio to a bunch of insurance salesmen to a smallish leadership team at Country Kitchen Restaurants up, moving, laughing, and enjoying the spectacal. If they did it, you can bet Brad will have your group doing it.

Part of the joy is the surprise…not only of the “victims” but the surprise the entire audience enjoys when they realize what THEY just did. It’s amazing. It’s meaningful. It’s powerful. It’s 100% Brad.

Brad’s Main Flash Mob Info Page

Yours,
Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Flash Mob Leader, Meeting Energizer

Blog posts
https://www.bradmontgomery.com///2013/03/30/flash-mob-for-hire/
https://www.bradmontgomery.com///2013/04/02/hire-a-flash-mob-a-motivational-speaker
https://www.bradmontgomery.com///2013/04/14/flash-mob-for-corporate-meetings/

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More Flash Mob Videos For Hire from Brad

Brad’s Main Flash Mob Video
Flash Mob for Hire at a Florida Meeting
Flash Mob Company for hire at a Texas Event. (Not a company…it’s BRAD!)
Huge Corporate Flash Mob at an event in Indiana
Book a large corporate flash mob in in Florida (2!)
Flash Mob Edit on YouTube
Flash Mob for Hire at your corporate event.
Flash Mob Blog Post
Flash Mob In Texas Meeting

I’m just back from doing my motivational speaker thing for a healthcare group in Farm-bureau-201247Georgia.

I thought the program went really well.… The audience came along nicely, the reviews were terrific, the valuations were flattering. But when I turned my camera onto my meeting planner he was kind enough to raise as well.

httpv://youtu.be/n6J0OFnJyns

If you are looking for a motivational speaker for your business audience or healthcare audience I would love to be your guy. Give us a call and we’ll talk about how we will customize a program just for you, your audience, their stresses, their joys, and most importantly what can be done to improve everybody’s performance.

Looking for a motivational speaker for your event? Contact me here.

Brad Montgomery
Top Motivational Speakers, Healthcare Speaker, Georgia Speaker

More on this healthcare speaker
Healthcare video on youtube.

Can Your Motivational Speaker REALLY Create Change?

I just spoke for an amazing group of healthcare management administrators in Georgia. These are the good people who are behind the management side of healthcare. They hired me to be an motivational speaker, but they also needed a strong business message… They needed an outsider to help them face the incredible changes that are rocking their jobs.

I was flattered when my client — my meeting planner, David — told me that one of his favorite parts of the keynote was to see that his audience changed from the start to the end.

At the beginning they were tired… The night before they were out partying and… perhaps sharing some adult beverages. (Let’s be honest… Some of them were fine, but a couple had headaches.) So when they arrived for my keynote they were tired, suspicious, and anything but engaged. They had the look on their faces and with their body language that said, “Ok, Bud. Impress us. See if you can.”

But slowly and surely these business people started to come along, grow, laugh, smile, and really embrace my message about happiness at work working as a strategy for excellence on the job.

And because my program was interactive, it was fun to watch them start the exercises with absolute skepticism and proceed to — what looked like — absolute profound satisfaction.

As a speaker it was a pleasure to see this audience change from start to finish. But it was totally rewarding to know that my client was beyond satisfied.

How do you know if YOU healthcare speaker is any good? Check out video and testimonials about your speaker.

If you’re looking for a motivational speaker who is both funny and has a strong business message; if you’re looking for a keynote speaker to blow your healthcare audience away, I hope you’ll contact us now.

Brad Montgomery
Healthcare speaker, Motivational speaker, Georgia speaker

Health Care Speaker Testimonials On YouTube

A new litmus test for your PowerPoint presentation.

I have very strong feelings about the use of PowerPoint. In my estimation 99.5% of all PowerPoint presentations absolutely blow.

IS&GS National Leadership MeetingI mean they are horrible. Tragic. Embarrassing. But goody for you, based on my 25 years experience as a professional presenter and motivational speaker, I have a couple of tips to ensure you are in that tiny percentage of presenters who can create an interesting, relevant, and fun PowerPoint.

The two things you need to know about PowerPoint are One: you have too many words; and Two: you have too many slides.

First, when I say too many words, I don’t mean just a couple of extra words. I mean you need to erase nearly every word you have. Most of my slides have a maximum of three words on them. A short phrase, a single word.  Often my slides have no words; only a picture.

Slides with minimal words can use a very large font which sets your presentation apart.  Who likes to try to read tiny type covering the entire page, especially if you forgot your reading glasses.  Come on, people!  A lot of us are getting more far-sighted everyday.

More importantly, slides with few words let your audience know where you are in your presentation. They are like punctuation.  A placeholder. The headline. You still have your bullet points in your details.  On your podium!  You are the one who delivers them. Not your computer. If your slides are so detailed that people could read them like an essay in lieu of listening to your presentation, then you’re completely missing the point of the slides. The audience is supposed to be LISTENING!  Not READING!

The same holds true for the number of slides you have in presentation. It’s like packing for a trip.  Prepare your slides, then decrease the amount by perhaps 80%. In my 90 minute motivational keynote I have fewer than 20 slides.

Remember, your audience is there to see YOU. Not your “presentation.” Yes they want you to have valuable content and ideas. But let’s face it— if they wanted JUST the information, they can either buy the book or read an article. Or — heaven forbid — borrow your PowerPoint presentation.

So here’s the bottom line:  erase almost all of your words and almost all of your slides.  Talk more and click that power point remote less.

Of course, with every awesome rule there is an exception. To see if any one slide can meet the exception I’ve come up with a litmus test.

I just did a motivational speech for a group of insurance executives in Georgia, and then a similar speech again for some business people in Denver. After both keynotes I had people come up afterwards and ask for a copy of a particular slide. In both cases it was multiple people asking for the same slide.

The slide is of my Manifesto, and has about 30 words on it. (So as you can see I didn’t just break my rule about very few words per slide; I shattered it.) The fact that people are begging for, not a copy of my entire PowerPoint presentation, but for a copy of that particular slide tells me that this slide is compelling, interesting, and provides value. So now I have a new test for any exception to my very-few-words-per-slide rule.

If I’m going to have lots of words on any particular PowerPoint slide, it needs to have lots of value. So much value that people specifically request a copy. In other words, if you have a Title slide with five Bullets…and nobody cares, comments or notices … That slide sucks.

PowerPoint is an excellent tool for presenters. It can add value and meaning to your speeches, and if you use it right it can even deliver punchlines. So don’t dismiss it. What you need to do is to rethink its content.  Totally.  Now.  Start deleting.  Your presentation will be better, your slides will be more interesting, and your audiences will be thrilled.

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If you are looking for a motivational speaker with a unique use of PowerPoint then I hope you’ll give me a call. Or even better, if you just need a business speaker who has a unique way of delivering his message, uses PowerPoint, sound effects, music, and a crazy amount of audience interaction, then I definitely hope you’ll call us.

(If you’re looking for more ways to improve your presentation skills, including some cool stuff about how to be funny, you can check out our store.)

What are your best PowerPoint Tips?  What do YOU think?  (Leave a comment!)

Yours,
Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, PowerPoint expert, Very Funny Keynote Speeches
leave a comment

I recently worked as a healthcare motivational speaker for 250 nurses in a Colorado hospital. These nurses are doing a lot of amazing things dealing with change… And funny motivational speakerstheir leaders they asked me to come in to encourage them and help put all of the incredible changes our healthcare system in general, and their hospital in particular are going through into perspective.   And to give their nurses some concrete suggestions and tactics to be both better leaders and to better manage change.

We had a great time.  There was a ton of laughter in that room.  But what I think is more important is that all of us left that event with new ideas we will incorporate into our jobs.These are some amazing people that make a difference every single day. With their permission I am sharing a little bit of their email.

It was most definitely epic!  I loved every minute of it!  I will be passing your info along to a couple other organizations in the Northern Colorado area.  The questions were great and it was wonderful for you to have so much “insider” information into our organization.  I bet even Chief Nancy was surprised by how much you knew!  It was perfect!  Our next team meeting is the 3rd week of May….I’ll email you back then with the group’s feedback.

Diana and Ruth are correct.  I was shocked that Diana actually said anything.  She is usually pretty quiet and reserved in large groups, but she must have really felt that the feedback about Ruth was important to share.  It is those “little” moments in our days that can mean so much to patients and co-workers, and we seldom are aware of that.

Thanks again for your message!  I will be sending out occasional e-mails reminding the team of some of your content…especially the manifesto.  Loved it!!!!

Enjoy your weekend with your family!

R.B., RN, BSN, OCN, CN III
Longmont United Hospital

Aw Shucks!   If you are looking for a healthcare speaker; a motivational speaker who can fire up your troops, incorporate your message, and in the end, help your people to deliver better patient satisfaction, I hope you’ll give us a call.

Brad Montgomery
Health Care Speaker, Motivational Speaker, Funny Dude, Fan of Nurses Everywhere