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palliativeOk. That’s not funny. Yes it is. Well… it depends.

Humor is relative. (No, I don’t mean your relative is funny. I mean that what is funny to some people in some circumstances isn’t funny to others, and that’s OK.)

I recently spoke in Colorado for the Kaiser Permanente Palliative Care department. We had nurses, doctors, administrators, chaplains, and hospice partners… the whole team gathered for a day of celebration and a much needed dose of perspective—through humor.

This is hard-working team of health care professional who are constantly dealing with a difficult heavy job. And, judging by the laughter and volume from this particular group they really needed a break.

So we laughed. We joked about everything from what was served for lunch, to the party going on upstairs, to the fact that they had an off-site on a Saturday. But we also joked about the difficult and serious parts of their jobs. We even joked about death, hospice, and used a bit of black humor. (Maybe not black, but certainly kpvery dark brown.)

In my job as a comedian motivational speaker, I’ve found that the groups with the most grizzly occupations are the quickest ones to joke about stuff that makes most of us blanch. Cops, firemen, ER nurses, — and hospice and palliative care folks not only joke about stuff that many people would find “crosses the line” of good taste, they HAVE to joke about it. It helps keep them healthy.

Humor helps with stress. And folks super stressful jobs will often turn to gallows humor to help them stay sane.

So, after agreeing that the jokes would “stay in the room,” we went for it. And the laughter followed.

Often people complain about humor that is “in bad taste” without understanding that often that humor is “in good health.” I once worked for a bunch of intensive care nurses who finally put up a plaque outside of the ICU that said something like, ‘If you see us laughing please know that this is not evidence that we are taking the care of your loved ones less seriously. It’s our way of dealing with the stress that is inherent with this job. And in the end, our laughter helps us provide the care that your family deserves.” Brilliant. Beautiful.

Back to Kaiser: I was impressed with how quickly this group was to laugh. But as I lead them through some exercises to help them connect humor and levity to increasing their ability to provide care and to serve their folks — and how keeping themselves sane in the end serves their patients, I was amazed at how quickly they got to the point.

In other words, this audience didn’t just run through the humor in the workplace exercises and try to move on. They lingered. They enjoyed. And they went deep. I think I might have learned as much as they did. Scratch that…. I definitely learned from them.

Thanks Kaiser Palliative Care. It was my absolute pleasure.

Are you looking for a health care motivational speaker, or palliative care / hospice speaker? I’d love to be your speaker. Go to the contact page now.

Yours,
Brad Montgomery
Palliative Care Speaker, Hospice Speaker, and Fan if Kaiser Palliative Health

Related:
Hospice video on YouTube
Kaiser Health Care Speaker video on Youtube
Sex, Beer and Death : A blog being a speaker for another Hospice organization
Funny Health Care Speaker home on my main website.

Technorati Tags: Hospice speaker, palliative care speaker, palliative, funny, motivational speaker, Kaiser, Kaiser Permanente, Colorado Speaker Del.icio.us Tags: Hospice speaker, palliative care speaker, palliative, funny, motivational speaker, Kaiser, Kaiser Permanente, Colorado Speaker

My new friend George Walther recently spoke in my home town of Denver, Colorado for the Colorado region of the National Speakers Association. He arranged for me to be there and to coach him on his presentation. He flattered me with a very kind note. What do you think? Do I need to buy him a beer?

To my not-so-sure-they-can-be-funny speaking colleagues:

Hire Brad. He’s a little nuts, and that’s what some of us “straights” need to loosen up. It absolutely amazes me that he can watch my damn-good-already keynote once, and just throw out a half dozen goofy georgewaltherpabstideas that will make it a solid 15% better the next time I deliver it.

And then, I can build in his input and send it to him for a peek, thinking he might put me on his calendar for a thorough brush-up in a week or so. But, an hour later he shoots it back. He’s added wacky ideas that are totally fun and I can see myself doing. Plus, he gives me great staging tips.

It doesn’t take him long, and he doesn’t say much. Because he has this uncanny ability to know just the right word to be funny. When he shot back further suggestions to improve my talk, he even suggested “one single word” that will get a great laugh. “Braces.” That’s all, just adding that one word to one of the already very funny bits he had already inspired me to put in. I can’t wait to use it.

I think that’s a big part of what Brad does. He makes you, the speaker, feel like it’s going to be such fun to say “braces” at just the right moment. And since you feel good, the audience gets that and they want to feel good with you.

Remember that story about the guy who charges a hundred bucks to fix someone’s car and he just taps it once and the customer can’t understand how it could cost so much for just a tap? The mechanic says the tap costs a buck but the “knowing where to tap” costs 99 bucks. Brad knows where to tap.

My advice is to try to wangle a deal where you can pay him by the word. Because he’s not going to give you paragraphs of funny stories; he’s going to give you just a word here and there on top of a funny idea, and you’ll have the audience thinking you’re brilliant.

I was inducted into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame way back in 1989, and I ain’t found a funnier resource than Brad ever since. Or before.

Call me if you want to know more about the brilliance you’ll be hiring by asking Brad for his help.

George Walther (never wore braces)

Thanks George. Ok, now I’ll buy that beer I promised.

If you’re looking for a funny motivational speaker for your organization, I’d LOVE to be your guy. Go to the contact page

And if you’re a pro speaker looking for coaching on how to be funnier (or a business speaker preparing for a big presentation) I’d love to help you too!

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: xtremes-2xtremes-2href=”http://www.technorati.com/tag/Perfetti” target=”_top” rel=”tag” title=”Technorati tag: Perfetti”>Perfetti Del.icio.us Tags:

Ok, I admit it.  I spent too much time on this very cute web page.   And my kids loved it.

If you’re looking for a funny and clever way to pass the time, click here.

If you’re looking for a motivational speaker to make sure your employees don’t spend too much time on web pages like that one, I hope you’ll consider hiring me. Contact Me.

Cheers, Happy, Ho!
Brad Montgomery, Speaker, Occasional Procrastinator, Fan of Reindeer

I just did my motivational humorist speaker thing for a wonderful group of retailers in Virginia.  I had a blast.  They just sent me the coolest letter.  

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
Retail Alliance
Norfolk, Virginia 

 

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.

Brad Montgomery
Virginia Motivational Speaker, Retail Speaker, Fan of Resorts!

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The military Uncle Sam that is!

I’m not gonna get into whether or not the current war is a great idea or not. But, one thing is certain: our men and women in the military are worthy of the utmost respect. They sacrifice a lot for their families — and us — and place themselves (often) in harm’s way for our country’s freedom. In a time of economic disparity and political uncertainties for our military, I cannot think of an audience who needs a bit of a “humor reminder” more than military audiences.

Here’s a photo of me working on stage in front of an Air Force audience doing an audience participation bit with an officer. We all really had a lot of fun doing this interactive session and I hope to be able to join them another time to help lighten things up again.

I’ve spoken to several military audiences— and I love them. I’ve been able to share humor with them, understand their lives a little better and become educated as well. These folks work hard at a job that couldn’t be more serious. You might think that military audiences are harder for humorists like me. Not so. They are actually one of my most favorite audiences to speak to. They are appreciative and responsive. And best of all, they need what I have to offer. (And don’t we all feel good when what we do is not only appreciated but needed?)

Have you ever had to address a difficult audience? How did you do it? Or, have you ever been the difficult audience? What did you think of the speaker?

Can you guess what my least favorite audience is? Comment away!

Don Cooper is a fantastic speaker and wonderfully funny man. He recently was quoted in the National Speakers Association newsletter.

Check out this exerpt about the value of humorists:


“What’s a laugh worth?

Selling a topic like sales, marketing or customer service is relatively easy. Those subjects translate straight to the bottom line, so both corporate and association meeting planners instinctively recognize their value. Likewise topics such as leadership, team-building and time-management are readily valued.

But humor? All too often, it’s an afterthought for most meeting planners. “Why waste time on mindless entertainment when we can give our audience information they can really use?” is the unspoken question in the back of their minds.

Everyone knows that a meeting without humor is like a Twinkie without the cream filling. But meeting planners often don’t understand this. So you have to help them see the value of humor to their event. In other words, what a laugh is really worth. There are three keys to accomplishing this.

First, you need to fully understand and be able to articulate the benefits of a humorous presentation. It’s not merely a matter of entertainment. Humor can:

Lighten the mood of an event
Put people in a receptive state of mind
Reduce stress and tension
Increase attendees’ energy, alertness and enthusiasm
Create camaraderie
Lower the audience’s defenses
Generate goodwill toward the organization
Communicate or reinforce an organization’s message
Bridge gaps between management and employees
Leave the audience with lasting positive memories”

Don… you rock! Thanks for the great info.

Not at my house. But recenlty I learned that the spoken word CAN be “Family Friendly!”

When I was younger (and not yet a motivational speaker– heck, I wasn’t even a fireman which was my first goal) I spent a great deal of time in a little house in Silver Plume, Colorado. There was no T.V. up there to distract me and my sister and brother. Instead, we found entertainment in four or five Bill Cosby comedy albums my mom and dad bought. We laughed tons and tons as we listened to the albums over and over again. We could have recited the entire albums– and probably did.

Years later, to my delight, my dad gave me the very albums that had been such an escape many years ago. After some trial and error, I finally figured out how to hook up the record player to my computer and copy these albums onto CD so they would last — with the same scratches and grooves for many, many years to come.

The best surprise I got out of doing this though was that my kids love these comedy albums just as much as I did as a kid. We can listen to it together and they love it! I love the comedy recordings now as much as ever for three reasons. 1. They are old friends and listening to them is like a hug from a friend you thought you lost. 2. They are hilarious! Cosby’s stuff really holds up. And 3. It’s a hoot to listen to them with my kids. It is really special to be able to share humor like this across the generations.

Even after all the years of being a comedian, I never thought it was truly possible to have family-appropriate humor that would really be enjoyed by everyone. Of course I had done many shows aimed toward the family that included magic, but Cosby serves as such a great example of how the spoken word alone can be very funny to audiences of all ages without being inappropriate. (Can you imagine encouraging your six year old kid to listen to Chris Rock?) Family Friendly comedy? How Cool is That?!

[Yup… I have a family friendly corporate comedian and magician show too! Learn more here.)

It’s a Ten ….. Food folks fun freely.

It is one thing to speak to a group for 45 minutes (or an hour, or 90 minutes, or even a half day) and to teach them about the power of laughter, motivational humor, and just generally how to lighten up.

But it is another (sometimes much harder) thing to actually get people to do it. For them to actually change their behavior, their outlooks and their attitudes based on what I tell them.

I give my audiences a bunch of ideas about how they can take laughter with them (and how they can use it to help make their lives better.) But to be honest, I’m always unsure of how much they actually take with them. I wonder sometimes if they get it.

So, imagine how cool it was to get an email from a group of folks at the Quality Assurance Association (a bunch of food folks) with a great photo taken of a bunch of their members at dinner.

motivational humor in restaurants!

Apparently they did get it! What a blast.

Check out the letter and the photo:

Brad,

You really made a hit with our members. They kept quoting you all week,especially with “Incredible” and “ride the pony”. Some even wore their red noses to dinner. I have pictures of our group at dinner holding up 10 on napkins for our waitress who was asked to give us 16 individual checks!
I also have a sign we found at the lab we visited that everyone thought you could use in your program. I’ll fax to you if you send me your fax. I really enjoyed watching Joe Kelly , sitting opposite me in the meeting , go from no expression to actually laughing a few times. He looked like a stick in the mud most of the time.

Your motivation and humor helped a ton.. You are great and I had so many people ask how I found you.

Take care,

Ann Thompson”

(PS. They are holding up signs that say “10.” This is a very cool idea created by my mentor, Dr. Earl Reum (http://www.earlreum.com ) where you hold up a sign Olympic-Judge style after a co-worker does something cool, a new-hire finishes a first product, your spouse makes a great dinner, etc. You get the idea. It’s awewsome. Thanks Earl!)

Being a motivational humorist speaker rocks! I love my job!

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