[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Here’s what we know about the meetings industry and adult learning:  people cannot sit still for even 45 minutes and learn all of the way through. Our minds wander. It just doesn’t work. This is in my opinion, this is a scientific fact.

Furthermore, we know from industry studies and surveys that attendees at conventions and meetings crave interactivity, interaction, and networking. They crave community.

Yet ironically, live meetings frequently feature 90 minute presentations. To our presentations. And longer. And to make it worse, a huge percentage of these meetings prefer not to have interactivity.

I have heard this extremely frequently from prospective clients; “Our people want to sit and listen. They don’t like interactivity. They are serious and quiet people and don’t want to be involved.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_masonry_media_grid element_width=”3″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1463768104710-872054a5-64fe-4″ include=”6195,6194,6193,6192″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Get it!?  There is a huge disparity between what we know works and what many old school meeting planners want.  The attendees are craving a connection to community. And furthermore when they are at a session where they want to learn, the teaching format is contrary to what we know works.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Well Goodie.  I’ve Got Good News.

I’ve been an interactive speaker well before it was fashionable. I get people up and moving, talking to each other, laughing, interacting, and meeting new folks at the convention. And I’m telling you… I’ve been doing it for years.

But there is an important detail; interactivity for its own sake is a waste. You really need interactivity AND a facilitated conversation about why that interactivity relates to their goals for the conference. We don’t want people to just play and laugh. We want them to learn – and that learning works best when they are playing and laughing.

For example, something I’ve been doing lately is fairly new. I get the entire audience to create an origami flower. It only takes a couple of minutes, and the audience loves it. They love the fact that they aren’t being lectured to. They love the fact that they are using their hands. They love the fact that they are being creative. And they love the fact that this is a small break in the learning format which helps keep them engaged.

What my meeting planners love is that the interactivity is just the start of a conversation. We talk about why we stopped to make flowers. Why we spent three or four minutes doing something that appears to be off-topic. But then we connect the interactivity to creativity, innovation, and even leadership.

As I motivational speaker I love it because little sections like this keep the learning on high, the fun on very high, and they help me to make my points.

If you are looking for a speaker who cannot only hold and engage an audience, but who can literally get them involved, then I hope you’ll give us a call. We will talk about developing a presentation that includes plenty of interactivity, tons of engagement, and maybe even a paper flower.


Brad Montgomery is a funny motivational speaker who is known for being exceptionally engaging.  If you believe, as Brad does, that your people learn best when they are fully engaged – and maybe even laughing – then we should talk about how we will customize a presentation for your meeting and event. Give us a call! 303.691.0726[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

One of the most well-known motivational speakers doesn’t exist. Matt Foley Motivational SpeakerOne of the most famous speakers in the world is a spoof character called Matt Foley created by Saturday Night Live and Chris Farley. Matt is a horrible motivational speaker; he clearly doesn’t have his own life together, is thrice divorced, and famously lives in a van Down By The River.

While attending the National Speakers Association meeting — a place where the best speakers in the world gather to network and learn — I decided to get my camera out and asked some of my peers what they thought about this fictional character. Do they feel threatened by Matt Foley?  Insulted?  Do they think it’s funny? Why is this fictional character famous years and years after the SNL episode was last aired? (Sadly, Chris Farley has since died.)

Check out the video here:

Of course, the reason the SNL sketch is so funny is that it is based on truth. Any comedian will tell you that the funniest material is material that contains strong elements of reality. Let’s admit it… There are a ton of motivational speakers who suck. They speak on everything from motivation to goal setting to wealth building… Yet they cannot rub two nickels together. Don’t get me wrong… There are motivational speakers out there who are total rock stars. I’m just saying that there are at least an equal number of motivational speakers who are anywhere from mediocre to horrible.

And our audiences know it. If there weren’t any blowhard, miserable, unsuccessful, poverty stricken, lame motivational speakers, the late night Chris Farley material would fall flat.

(By the way, when I’m part of an audience watching a motivational speaker I’m always curious about that speaker’s back story. I want to know if they’re doing well in the world and simply sharing their struggles and journey with us, or if they are a Matt Foley style fraud. Aren’t you?)

I was completely surprised there were so many professional motivational real motivational speakers on Matt Farleyspeakers who don’t know about the Saturday Night Live sketch. They have never heard of the Down By The River dude. To me this shows a complete absence of awareness of American pop culture. Yes, to be honest, this sketch is pretty old. (Foley first appeared on SNL in 1993).  But if we trust in Google… And who doesn’t?… Many people are still searching for information, video, and details about the fictional speaker.  There are numerous YouTube posts of Matt Foley.  And if they’re searching for it and posting him, that means there is — even now — a ton of interest in this fake speaker.

What’s the Point?

For me the message is clear: most Americans have doubts about matt Foley Down by the Rivermotivational speakers. They wonder if motivational speakers are more than just blowhard ambassadors of ineptitude. Which means that if I’m going to be a motivational speaker one of the first jobs I have with any client or any audience is to let them know that I am not like Matt Foley. I need to speak truthfully about what I know and don’t know … And I need to be authentic.

When I am watching a motivational speaker I don’t need them to be wildly successful. They do not need to have climbed a mountain, run a Fortune 500 company, or made a fortune from scratch. All I need is for them to be authentic, present a real person, and share with me actionable ideas about how to improve myself.

What do you think?

Is Matt Foley funny?  Why?   What do you look for in a motivational speaker? Leave a comment below!  We want to know what you think!

If you’re looking for a motivational speaker for your event who does not live down by the river that I hope you will consider booking me.

Here’s the first Down By The River Sketch:

Matt Foley Motivational Speaker in Mexico (in spanish)

And one more video of Chris Farley as a funny motivational speaker
Another Down By the River Blog post about Matt Foley / Chris Farley

What do YOU think?

leave a comment


Motivational Speakers: Tailor verses Customize?

Why Does Brad Tailor a Speaking Presentation?

Audiences get more out of a program where they are involved and engaged than from a program that bores them to tears. Duh. We all know this to be true…. If people are into it…they’ll learn and leave with value.

There are several ways to engage an audience. I use two huge techniques: Humor and Audience Participation. I know through experience from thousands of presentations that when groups are laughing, and laughing hard… they will sit and listen. And when they – and their friends and workmates – are directly involved in the presentation, they are on the edge of their seats.

Read more about this motivational speaker who customizes.

But the last technique I use – as do most pro speakers – is to tailor my presentation to your group. By learning about the specifics of your group’s needs, successes, failures, stresses, job titles and functions, acronyms, problems, etc…. I can drop in specific references to your group.

Why? There are two reasons why tailoring a program is important to you. First, because it makes it more relevant and meaningful. Instead of, for example, talking about the “things that stress you out on the job,” we talk about, “constantly filling out Trouble Reports For Cams” and the “Y3 Audits.” (Specific things that stress out people from THAT office.) When we talk specifically, people learn better. The second – and perhaps more important reason– that I tailor my programs is because referencing specific needs, people and events in a company make the program FUNNIER. Much funnier. Big time.

Tailor verses Customize.

The last thing you want is to hire a professional speaker to come in and present a totally new, never-been-done-before-a –live audience program. This fact is doubly true for funny motivational speakers, motivators, or even corporate comedians.

Why? Because you can’t guarantee success. Take Jay Leno and Dave Letterman. They – with the help of some of the best comedy writers in the world – present just a 10 minute monologue each night. Of that ten minutes, only 3 or 4 jokes are worth repeating the next day. This says nothing about Jay or Dave… what it does illustrate that writing stuff that you KNOW will work is very, Very, VERY difficult.

If you want a speaker who can promise a killer show –and you should – you want a speaker who is not writing from scratch. That is why I tailor a program.

By tailoring a program, I mean that I adapt my material –material that has been honed and tested before dozens (if not hundreds) of audiences. I do material I KNOW will work. But by tailoring the stories, messages, jokes, and humor to your group, the audience thinks that this tailored program is customized. In other words, I tailor a program creating the illusion that we are doing a once-in-a lifetime program. A one-shot deal. And the audience loves it.

But the meeting planner loves the fact that they are working with a sure bet.

What’s the bottom line?

It is very important for the success of the program that the audience is involved and engaged, and one of the best ways for this to happen is if the audiences witnesses (what they believe to be) a totally customized program.

However, in order to guarantee success, we are all better off to tailor a program. By adding audience-specific information to a honed, proven and professional presentation the audience believes they are seeing something created just for them. While at the same time the meeting planner is deservedly confident of the success of that speaker.


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