Category Archives: Features

Hiring A Motivational Speaker | Don’t Be Fooled By an Edited Video

Given a good enough editor, I could make my grandmother look like a brilliant and funny motivational speaker.  Let’s face it, if Hollywood can make it look like movie stars are falling off buildings, a video editor can certainly make it look like an audience is really laughing, there are 100s of people in a hotel banquet room (instead of a single family in the living room) and that any given speaker can hold an audience for more than a sound bite.

When you are considering which motivational speaker to hire, look closely at the video.  Does it look like there is an actual audience, or was that edited in later?   Does the audience look match the look of the stage?   Is it real?

Are there long enough clips for you to tell whether your motivational speaker can hold an audience — and a thought — longer than for just a few seconds?   You should be able to see full unedited clips if you ask for them.

Also, check to make sure there are MANY videos available of your prospective motivational speaker.  In these days of $100 cameras and YouTube there ought to be several, if not hundreds of videos for you to preview.

So what’s my advice?

• Watch many videos.  Not just one.  Look for consistency.
• Look for unedited clips.  I’m for editing quick and breezy videos too… but I also know that savvy buyers will want to see unedited clips of me before a real crowd.  So I have a whole variety of videos.  Does your speaker?
•  Watch with a bit of skepticism.  Ask yourself if the audience you are seeing matches the stage and venue you are seeing.
• Avoid hiring from a “speaker video showcase.”   Inexperienced speakers will put together a video showcase.  This means that a bunch of novice motivational speakers will rent a room, rent a cameraman, and then fill the room with…. themselves! Then they take turns on stage.  And of course while in the audience they act very interested and very amused.  But it’s totally fake.  These videos are easy to spot…just look close and you’ll see them.

Are you looking for a motivational speaker for your meeting or your convention?  I’d love to be considered.  Contact us here, tell us what you need and what you’re trying to accomplish, and we’ll help make your event a huge success.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Star of Many YouTube Videos, Expert in Speaker Preview Videos

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Three Questions To Ask Your Motivational Speaker (Before You Book One!)

When our office phone rings, plenty of times it’s a seasoned meeting planner inquiring about the possibility of engaging me.  But often it’s somebody very new to the convention and meeting planning world who got tasked to hire the motivational speaker.  If you’re in that second category, here are three questions you should cover to help you have a better gauge as to whether this person is THE person.*

1.   Tell me about your track record.

You want your speaker to be a guaranteed success, and the best way to do that is to make sure your speaker has worked out the details several hundred audiences ago.     Ask about when they got started, how many clients they work for a year.   Where can you see a complete list of their clients?  And how much have they worked for audiences in YOUR industry?

Clearly, you want a motivational speaker with TONS of experience.  Make sure you get one.

2.  How Do You Keep the Audience Engaged?

Not just listening.  Engaged.     Not checking their smart phones while they listen.  Not reading the newspaper or the convention program.   I’m talking ENGAGED.

I use humor — laugh-out-loud comedy — to ensure my audiences are listening to my business messages.  I use audience participation, game-show segments, and mini-aciivites to change the pace and keep the learning on “fast.”

I could spend a few hours talking about this concept.   Because I know that if we create an “experience” for your people and not just deliver a keynote they will be more engaged.

If we make it fun, they’ll learn more.  If they laugh, they’ll learn even more.  But most of all, if we do those things WHILE making it relevant the message will stick —   making it engaging helps with retention.

If the speaker you are interviewing doesn’t have a long, detailed action plan for this question that makes sense and appeals to you, send up the red flag.

3.   Will your message be relevant, valuable and helpful for my audience?

Oh, that’s a good one!  Answer:   customization.

My programs are pretty general.  But your audience is VERY specific.  How can we make sure that they fit?   Easy…. ask.

Because I’ve done this job so long I have a big bag of tricks to make sure that what what I deliver is on target to my audience.  And because my audiences change with each client, that means that I have to customize both my message and my delivery with every client.

I’ve turned down jobs before because I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to “fit” a given audience.   I know if I can do it.   And the speakers you are interviewing know it too.

Ask them.  Listen to their level of confidence.  Listen to their experience.  And ask them about what “customizing” means to them.   (Some speakers will drop in the name of the organization 4 times during an hour speech and call that customization.  If you want more than that — and you should — you need to ask some very pointed questions about how your motivational speaker will customize their program to fit your needs, your goals,  your desired outcomes and especially your audience.

I’d love to be on your team and would love to be of service for your meeting or convention.  Are you ready to ask ME these questions (and a few of your own?)  Contact me here.

Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Funny Keynote Speaker, Astronaut**

*  The secret fourth question should be, “What else should I ask you to help me decide on which motivational speaker to book?”   If your speaker can’t go on….and on and on and on….with this question, you’ve found another hint.

**  Ok, I’m not an astronaut.  You caught me.

Funny to You Doesn’t Mean Funny to Us

The second question I get from nearly every prospective client (after “How much do you charge?”) is “How do we know what YOU think is funny will be funny to us?”

There are several ways to ask the same question.  But almost all of them lead to this hidden question:   how do we know you won’t be offensive and inappropriate and ruin our event?

I love this question.  And unfortunately, we live in a land where anybody with a account can have a website proclaiming that they are a Top Motivational Speaker! and use “comedy” and “humor.”

But in my experiences, these speakers aren’t experienced.  They aren’t genuinely funny.  And more times than you’d expect what little humor they do have is inappropriate.  And  if any of these things are true then they haven’t been working much, and they won’t be working much longer.

So…how do YOU know if your speaker is clean?  Safe?  Appropriate?   There are three ways to check.

1.  Check the videos online.  There should be MANY of them.   Are they funny?   Anything racy or edgy?  Any hints about something that would make you uncomfortable?   That’s what we call a hint.  You can bet that you see a fringe of something icky, there is MORE that has been edited out.

2.  Check with past clients.  Ask for and expect to receive as many references as you want to check.   Call them.   It’s so simple.  Just ask them if the humor was appropriate?  Was that motivational speaker actually funny?

3.  Have a conversation with your perspective motivational speaker.   Just ask them straight out, “Tell me about your theories of clean and appropriate humor?” and sit back and listen.  I could go on for HOURS on this topic.  In my over two decades speaking I have hundreds of stories.  During my years (18 plus years ago) in the comedy clubs I experimented with stuff I’d NEVER do now.  I’ve written about it.  Coached others on it.  And had to walk the walk on stage for thousands of programs.

If the speaker you are interviewing says something like, “Yeah, it’s clean,” and ends it there… perhaps that speaker doesn’t understand how important this issue is to you (and should be to them.)  Ask them a couple of more probing questions to learn more about their sense of clean comedy and then trust your gut.  (But check references and videos too!)

I’d love to be your motivational speaker.  I’m funny.  I’m experienced.  And I’m absolutely positive I understand how clean and unoffensive your professional speaker has to be.

Want to have that conversation with me?   Contact us and we’ll chat!

Looking for a funny motivational speaker?  I’d love to be your guy.   Call us today.

Brad Montgomery
Funny Motivational Speaker, Clean Comedian, Understander of Appropriate Humor

(Ok, that last one may be stretching it, but you understand.)

Change? Laugh or Cry; Your Choice.

It isn’t always this easy, but it is (nearly) always this simple.  When we as organizations or individuals deal with change there are two certainties.  First, it’s going to be something new.  Duh.  Second, it’s going to happen whether we want it to or not.

Got a new organizational structure?  Has has the shape, structure and content of your workforce changed?   Or your uncertain about exactly how YOU will fit in with all these changes?

I’ve got a couple of thoughts about it for you, but they both start with the concept that it’s time to stop complaining, stop worrying, and start doing something that can help you.  It’s time to start learning to laugh at change.

In my job as a motivational speaker I’m often asked to address the subject of change for my client’s audience.  And my theory can be summed up quickly:

“Change?  You might as well learn to laugh at it.  It’s one of the few choices you have.”  —   Brad Montgomery

There’s an age-old law of humor and comedy, which goes something like:

Tragedy + Time = Funny

And it doesn’t take much thought to realize it’s true.  That disaster family vacation in your teens?  Hilarious!   The time crazy Uncle Larry got his foot stuck in the chair and was howling in pain?   Ha ha ha!  The Thanksgiving dinner when the turkey was raw, the side dishes cold, and the in-laws psycho?   Ooh, my sides hurt from laughing.

They were all lousy times.   (Tragedy.)   They were all a long time ago.  (Time.)  But now they are funny.

My suggestion is that all of the lousy things you are dealing with now are probably going to be funny if you let enough time pass.   For some of you, that’s going to mean a LOT of time.

But my suggestion is simple:   if it’s going to be funny later, why not (at least try to) see the “funny” in it now.  See if you can shorten the “Time” variable in the equation from 20 years to 20 minutes.

Next time you are freaking out about something new at work, ask yourself if you’ll really care about this change in five years.  Now go one teensy little step further and ask yourself if you think this change might be funny in a month or a week or a decade.   If the answer is yes, you’re an idiot to dwell too hard on it.

It’s time to start laughing.   Now.

Yes, it’s a simple concept.  Which doesn’t mean it’s an easy concept.  That new software package you’re sorting through IS a pain in the neck.  The uncertainty of the merger IS a stress.  The recent layoffs (or rapid growth) are difficult.   But so what?  Are you really going to let these things ruin your day?  Your job?  Your life?

Again, if the answer is yes, you’re a fool.

As a change motivational speaker, I teach my audiences this wildly simple concept, and then give them some simple — but seriously effective — techniques and strategies that they can start to implement right away.

The best way to deliver these messages of levity, humor and hope?   Through generous doses of laughter.

If we make your group laugh — and laugh HARD — at some really funny and relevant discussions of change, they’ll listen.   And because it is so much fun, it will help it stick.  Making it funny helps with retention.

Looking for a change motivational speaker?   You’ve found him.   Contact us here and we’ll strategize the best way to get your folks laughing back their way to health.

Brad Montgomery
Change Motivational Speaker, Funny Guy, Humor Strategist