Just ask her dad.

My daughter has Type 1 Diabetes and because of that, our family has become involved with the Colorado chapter of the American Diabetes Association.  And through her involvement with a diabetes summer camp, she was invited to speak for a few minutes at a fund raising event about her experience as a camper at this camp.

Guess what?  She killed!  It wasn’t easy:  the event was super high end, with heavy production.  Fancy spot lights, fancy staging, professional sound people ushering us around the stage… the whole shebang.  After this elaborate video was finished, they turned a spotlight on Claire and me.    Again… a fairly high psych-out value for a 11 year old.  I spoke for about 20 seconds, told a joke and introduced Claire.  She spoke for about about five minutes, (which is roughly the same length of time as the ice age if you are a kid on stage speaking to a bunch of formally dressed adults.)

She rocked the house.  She was awesome.  She was a star.

What’s my point?  I got nothing.  I’m just a proud parent bragging about one of my perfect kids.

Read another article about my take on diabetes and speaking.

Do you have an event where you need a speaker familiar with diabetes?  My kid is great, but if you need somebody with more experience I’d love to be your guy?  Diabetes Speaker?  Contact me here.

More info about my work as one of  the Colorado Speakers

Brad Montgomery
Diabetes Speaker, Dad of a Diabetic, Proud Papa

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The Washington Post reported that AIG went through with a convention for their top earners.

Lawmakers fumed last week when they learned that the company paid $440,000 for a week-long resort retreat in California for top-performing insurance agents. The expenditure occurred just days after Sept. 16, when the government announced its $85 billion loan. This month, as AIG asked for an additional $38 billion in taxpayer financing, top AIG executives spent thousands on a hunting trip in England.

I cannot help to think that they must have had one speaker for that event.  Reward trips often hire motivational speakers and humorists…so it certainly is possible that one was hired for this event.

So the big ethics question for you is:

Imagine YOU were hired by AIG.  You see them go out of business…and be rescued with $85 Billion taxpayer dollars.  You know now that you are no longer being paid by AIG, but the taxpayers via AIG.   Would you take the job?

Theoretically you’ve had this keynote on the books for some time, you have turned down other clients who wanted to hire you as a motivational speaker, and because you’ve done everything you have been asked to do, you deserve the fee for you speakers services.

But now that it’s a taxpayer nightmare and Wall Street scandal, would you take the job?

Would ya?

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Ok, not exactly. While doing a motivational seminar on humor in the workplace at a school in the Farmington Unified School District, (New Mexico) I met a ton of principals and other administrators who really liked the idea of “play” at work. We looked at ways humor and levity can make any environment a little lighter — resulting in better productivity, morale, and retention. As leaders, it was there job to lead the way to humor for their staffs (and eventually their students).

Fun is NOT just for the kids. Really.

I posted one of their cool ideas here.

Here’s another great idea that came out of the break out session:

A principal made “fake announcements” over the PA system. He announced the winners of the “Catch a Raccoon” Contest (naming students who don’t exist winning a contest that didn’t exist), talked about the lunch menu for the next day (Which of course he made up with gross foods), ….you get the idea.

The results? First, the kids and teachers actually listened to the announcements. Can you say the same thing about your lousy announcements? But even better, this principal enjoyed his job, had fun at his job, and helped pass that passion to his team and his students by having fun in a public way.

Give it a go: maybe your staff will listen closely to the announcement before they sing happy birthday FOR THE THIRD TIME IN A WEEK to one of the teachers! (Yes, that DOES happen all the time.

What’s my point?  Have fun at work. Not because you’ll get others to laugh or smile. Not because you want them to listen closer — though both of these reasons are good enough for me.

Have fun at work because it will make you better at your job. These educators were better administrators because they actively made their work more fun for them.  Simple, yet genius.

How you YOU actively have fun at work today?

Hey Teachers, Administrators and Educators! What stunts have YOU done in your schools? COMMENT!

Photos can make me happy.

A while back I worked for a hardworking team at Arcadis US.

My job was to help this small team  – there were only 12 of us – find specific ideas to take themselves less seriously at work, find ways to incorporate more levity into their work relationships and basically boost up the fun quotient at work.

What I love most about these facilitated session with smaller groups like this one is that I get to do more leading and less talking.  Generally the best ideas come from them.  And this group was awesome in that they did come up with some great, specific and killer ideas about how to find and incorporate more humor in the workplace.

So what, you might ask, were their great ideas?

To name a few:

They decided to create a wandering kaleidoscope.  Because of the way kaleidoscopes help us see life with a different perspective, their plan was to pass this kaleidoscope to people who needed a gentle reminder to lighten up. (Way better than a slap in the face, eh?)

This department also had a huge white board, and based on our time together, they committed to use the white board to celebrate each other as well as to create some fun.   They adapted one of our creativity exercises into a white board project. 

As a team, they committed to “write” a story one word at a time.  One person would start it with one word, and then leave the board.  The next person to walk buy would add the second word, etc.    This team building activity seems way more cool  – and workable – then falling backwards into a team-members waiting hands.

And finally, the committed to pick a single song as their Marketing and Communications anthem.  They would use that song to “push” each other into more cooperative moods and to generally remind each other of their mutual desire to make work fun.

But I think the coolest outcome from this Aracadis team was non-specific.  Together we spent three hours brainstorming ways to be more glad at work.   Ways to make our time in the office more fun.  And when they saw how badly tghe reset of the team wanted what they wanted – to enjoy work more – they felt better about themselves and their relationships to each other and to their jobs.

As for me, don’t get me wrong, I love working with large groups.  But there is something very cool about taking a small team and moving them closer to a happy, mellow, and respectful work environment.

Thanks Aracdis!

Think your team could benefit from a very funny motivational speaker who also happens to facilitate team building events?  Hire me. :)  Go to the contact page. 

Brad Montgomery
Colorado Speaker, Humor in the Workplace Expert, Fan of Arcadis US