By Billy Riggs
A recent article in Education Week Magazine (by Sarah Schwartz, May 15, 2019) reports that the most profound emotion that educational in-service speakers evoke in teachers is… wait for it… disrespect. Wow! All that planning, work, and money invested by school districts in Professional Development days is often not only wasted, but transformed into a net negative. Teachers feel like they’ve been slapped in the face. This outcome doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been conducting teacher in-services for more than two decades and frequently hear afterwards: “That was the first in-service of my career that actually helped me, or that I even paid attention to.” One teacher even commented that her usual habit (and silent protest) during professional development sessions was to take out her phone and play “Angry Birds” the whole time, but that she never even thought about doing so during my presentation. The Education Week article was actually emailed to me by an educator who wanted me to see it, commenting, “Yours was the best I’ve ever heard.” Why are most in-services a waste of time or “agony” as one teacher told me?
Mandatory seminars and credentialed speakers rarely touch on subjects of interest or import to educators. Instead, they pontificate on subjects irrelevant to their work or too esoteric to be of any practical use in the classroom. Others deliver information that most of the teachers have already known for many years. Moreover, they often violate the very best-practices they preach: using poor grammar, speaking to their slides, not reading their audiences, standing motionless while talking in a monotone, spinning hypotheses without ever applying them to real life, etc. Worse still, they commit the cardinal sin of being boring. (If a boring teacher doesn’t teach the students anything, how can we reasonably expect a boring speaker to teach the teachers anything?)
Professional Development training must – at the risk of stating the obvious – accomplish two things:
About Billy Riggs: Billy Riggs has been called “The Dr. Phil of Magic,” and “a psychologist masquerading as a comedian and magician.” He was voted one of America’s Top Five Most Entertaining Speakers in a 2014 nationwide poll of conference attendees. As a highly skilled orator Billy moves audiences to action with his message of hope and inspiration. Add in his talent as a master magician, illusionist, and spellbinding entertainer, and he delivers a presentation that audiences will remember long after the event ends. Billy’s presentations change lives, improve attitudes, turbocharge sales, and inspire exceptional service. Through television, radio, books, videos, and live keynote speeches Billy continues to spread his message and currently more than a million people on five continents have benefited from his work. Billy starred in his own television special, “The Magic of Attitude.” For fees and availability for Billy, email Gina Davilla at email@example.com.
By Mike Hourigan
As a keynote speaker who talks to audiences about negotiation skills, one question I often get is “At what point in a meeting does the real negotiation stuff take place?” My answer is, “Yes.”
By the one-word answer, what I mean is negotiation skills can start even before the actual meeting, on the plane prior to the meeting, or in a taxi or Uber to the hotel. Let me give you a true, real-life example from my career.
Negotiation Tactics on an Airport Shuttle Bus
Several years ago, I was part of a complex set of negotiations between two companies. For confidentiality, I’ll refer to the companies as “Company A” and “Company B.” The companies chose a hotel in Los Angeles for the meeting site. The negotiations were scheduled to begin on Thursday morning, and with luck, we would get everything accomplished by Saturday afternoon. I had an afternoon speech in Chicago and arrived in LAX at about 9:30.
By the time I caught the hotel airport shuttle it was 10:00 p.m. Much to my surprise, a woman sat across from me who had a tag on her attaché case for Company B. She had flown in from Vermont, in fact, and she looked absolutely exhausted. I introduced myself and asked her why she was getting in so late? She explained that she went to see her daughter play in the regionals of a major soccer tournament in Vermont.
"How did she do?" I asked to be friendly. Her daughter’s team won, she smiled. Then she volunteered that the finals were going to take place on Saturday afternoon in Virginia, and unless a miracle occurred at our meeting, she wouldn’t be able to make it back on time due to all of the agenda items.
How important was that piece of information to me as the person leading the negotiations for Company A? It was critically important.
Before the Meeting Started
Now we come to Thursday morning. Before the meeting started and while we were informally talking and introducing ourselves, I asked the group if they might be open to a minor change.
I reviewed my friendly conversation with the woman from Company B. Not to embarrass her, but with a feeling of pride, I told everyone that the woman’s daughter’s team was playing for the national soccer championship on Saturday morning. I said that I wouldn’t mind at all if they wanted me to rearrange the schedule so that we could discuss all of the important items first. In that way, she could leave for the airport on Friday at noon and see her daughter play.
"Sure!" Was the response.
So, now they know that we, from Company A, are nice people, but more important from my perspective is that in a positive, friendly way, we gained control of the agenda. I gave them a gift by rearranging the schedule and allowing her to leave to see her daughter play. We gained the ability to negotiate and navigate the important meeting points upfront carefully.
In volunteering to change the schedule, the woman on the Company B negotiating team became loyal to me. I want to stress; it was not “manipulation.” There was nothing at all sinister about it, but it allowed us the luxury of being able to fully discuss the major issues to the benefit of both sides without rushing.
By the time she left for the airport, the major negotiation points of the meeting had been discussed, we could clean up the minor points on Saturday, and of course, we could send her off with our best wishes. I also made a new friend.
The central point is that in the give and take of negotiation, and in understanding how to improve your negotiation skills, remember that everything counts, and that includes having an awareness as to who is on the bus.
Oh yes, her daughter’s team won and so did everyone else at the negotiation.
About Mike Hourigan: Mike Hourigan is a refreshingly unique keynote speaker, change management expert and author who empowers the country’s top companies to navigate constant change with real-world wisdom. Decades of corporate experience have allowed Mike to develop a completely fresh approach to team building, sales management, and customer service training. Mike has spoken to over 1,300 audiences including McDonald’s, Harley-Davidson, Disney, GE, Marriott, Aetna, ExxonMobil and Kaiser Permanente. Watch Mike’s video preview on Negotiation, or contact Gina Davilla for more information on Mike’s fees and availability at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Scott Burrows
High-producing sales pros have one important trait in common: the ability to maintain the expectation of a successful outcome, despite gloomy market feedback, the overwhelming pressure of organizational expectations, a failed credit approval for a critical contract, or even the disappointing loss of a major company client.
But how do you teach what might seem like an inborn trait to your entire sales team, where personality, talent and backgrounds vary so widely?
As outlined in my book and keynote program, “Vision, Mindset, Grit,” I teach companies and individuals how to drive results using the same mental focus that helped me reinvent my life after a catastrophic accident left me paralyzed from the chest down and diagnosed a quadriplegic. The skills I learned during my own recovery process helped me overcome the dire prognosis of my doctors. These skills can help teams stay focused, resilient and engaged - even in the most overwhelming of circumstances.
“Without vision, even the most focused passion is a battery without a device.” ~Ken Auletta
The conscious mind is actively engaged in the goal setting process, but is easily distracted (once every 10 seconds), unable to focus on more than one thing at a time, and falls short when it comes to putting ideas into action. In order to set your creative thinking process into an actionable state, you must engage the subconscious mind to create a belief system that supports and aligns with your sales goals that will readily impel you to take action.
Creative visualization is an effective method to reprogram your subconscious mind to align with your strategic goal plan - and most importantly - when your current circumstances seem counter-intuitive to achieving that outcome. In the same way athletes utilize this for enhanced performance, you can train your mind and body for success by first conditioning it to the possibilities.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't -- you're right.” ~Henry Ford
Even the most strategic and actionable goal plan will fail if your thoughts are centered on what can and will go wrong. Many sales people waste precious time ruminating on a lost sale (residing in the past) or working toward their goal in a lack mentality out of fear of future disaster. Staying present daily with small consistent goals can keep your energy focused, elevated and impactful by helping you zero in on concrete actions in alignment with your goals that move you into success.
“The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps - we must step up the stairs.” ~Vance Havner
It’s important to understand this next key element is strengthened and sustained by your vision and mindset, which greatly reinforce your ability to stay focused on the end goal and transcend the need for instant gratification. Recent psychological studies have shown that the quality of GRIT is the highest predictor of success, even over natural talent, skillset, luck, latent ability or extraordinary I.Q.
But what is grit? It is your willingness to remain patient while disciplining yourself to persevere and stay resilient in the pursuit of your goals when you are knee-deep in the trenches and nothing positive is showing up. It’s the relentless pursuit of both your short and long-term sales goals as you continue to work long hours, face and overcome rejections, and most especially, when all else beckons you to give in, quit, or worse - maintain the status quo.
People with grit:
I hope you are inspired knowing sales mavericks are not just born, they are developed. Some may show up naturally utilizing vision, mindset and grit from life experience and easily implement these into their business model. DO know that success is available to all, even when the odds seem insurmountable, and most importantly -- at any age, from any background and regardless of past experience.
About Scott Burrows: Scott Burrows is a motivational business speaker and author whose inspirational overcoming story is a hero's journey that helps teach companies how to navigate change and rise to the challenge of an ever-changing marketplace. A former kickboxing champion and star athlete, Scott not only astounded his doctors after a tragic car accident, but later went on to reinvent himself as a top sales producer in the insurance and financial industry, earning a coveted spot in the prestigious Million Dollar Roundtable. Today, Scott speaks to organizations, entrepreneurs, associations and Fortune 500 companies around the globe about his timeless principles of Vision, Mindset, and Grit. Watch Scott’s preview video or contact Gina Davilla for more information on Scott’s fees and availability: email@example.com.
As we wind down another year at The Keynote Shop, we decided to end it with something fun to let you all know how much we've enjoyed working with you – handing out some awards. We've loved connecting with each one of you this year, but there are some moments, speakers, and fresh talent that stand out as we reflect on 2018. So, here it goes... Our first annual awards... Are you excited to see if you won?
Aaaaaand, the winners are:
1.) Most Creative Meeting Planner: Lisa Boon
Lisa is the Event Planning Manager at Retail Confectioners International. Lisa definitely wins this award after selecting a chocolate “artist” as her keynoter of choice for a company event.
2.) Speaker Guaranteed to Get the Most Laughs: Mack Dryden
Mack is a Corporate Comedian who has been delighting audiences for years with his relaxed stage presence, hilarious stories, and uniquely engaging delivery.
3.) The Freshest New Talent of 2018: Cara Brookins
Cara Brookins is a bestselling author and professional speaker. One fun fact about Cara: despite her lack of construction training, she built a 3500 square-foot house with her four kids by watching YouTube tutorials. True story. She offers audiences vision, mindset, and focus presented in a whole new context.
Congratulations to our winners! Since this our first year hosting these esteemed awards, we don't have any tangible prizes to give. You are welcome to the bragging rights though!
Happy Holidays and Have a Wonderful New Year. Looking forward to connecting in 2019!
By Dr. Rick Goodman
What is solution oriented?
Solutions Oriented Approach
All of us respond to problems in different ways. Some of us immediately start turning over that problem in our mind, perhaps looking for the reason that problem emerged or seeking out related problems that may not have dawned on us yet. But others look beyond the problem to the solution—immediately looking for ways to solve the issue and move forward.
There’s probably room for both ways of thinking—but if you’re in a position of leadership, your employees are going to look to you for answers. To a large extent, they’re going to need you to have solutions, not just theories about the problem itself.
So developing a solutions-oriented approach to leadership is certainly commendable. The question is, how do you know when you get there? How do you know if you’re truly a solutions-oriented leader?
I can think of a few telltale signs.
The Marks of a Solutions-Oriented Leader
You know you’re a solutions-oriented leader when…
Next time a problem arises in your workplace, consider your response. See if you can find some ways to focus less on the issue itself and more on the possible solution.
About Dr. Rick Goodman: Dr. Rick Goodman CSP is a thought leader in the world of leadership and is known as one of the most sought after team building experts in the United States and internationally. He is famous for helping organizations, corporations, and individuals with systems and strategies that produce increased profits and productivity without having the challenges of micro managing the process. Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include AT&T, Boeing, Cavium Networks, Heineken, IBM, and Hewlett Packard. For more information on Rick’s speaking programs, audio programs, and learning programs, contact (888) 267-6098 or Rick@rickgoodman.com, or visit www.rickgoodman.com. For fees and availability for Dr. Goodman, email Gina Davilla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article re-posted with permission from Dr. Rick Goodman.
By Debra Fine
The holidays are only weeks away and it’s time for corporate parties, potentially awkward social gatherings …and LOTS of small talk! Are you skilled at keeping the conversation going at holiday parties? Do you spend an abnormal amount of time hiding out in the bathroom or hanging out at the buffet table at social gatherings? Does the thought of striking up a conversation with a stranger make your stomach do flip-flops? Do you sit nervously through job interviews waiting for the other person to speak? Are you a "Nervous Ned or Nellie" when it comes to networking? If so, it's time you mastered The Fine Art of Small Talk.
When meeting new people – or even socializing with old acquaintances – starting conversations can make many people feel nervous or apprehensive. For many of us, it's difficult to enter a room and only be met with strangers. Meeting new people and engaging in conversation with them can be exhausting and overwhelming. But, it does not have to be this way. Skilled small talkers turn holiday gatherings into opportunities for success. In fact, they realize that these holiday functions are great for networking and meeting interesting people.
Whether you are at a business meet-and-greet or a client’s open house, you can use conversational skills as a tool to build new connections – all while avoiding awkward pauses and uncomfortable conversations. After all, any relationship – business or social – starts with small talk.
Mastering the art of small talk is not only essential in forming new relationships, but also in creating lasting positive impressions. Great small talkers are made, not born.
The next time you find yourself at a holiday function, try one of my top ten icebreakers:
1. “How do you know the host/hostess?”
2. “What are some of your family holiday traditions?”
3. “Bring me up to date about your family/work.”
4. “Tell me about your plans for this holiday season.…”
5. “What do you enjoy most about the holiday season? Why?”
6. “What do you have planned for the upcoming year?”
7. “What are your typical holiday festivities.…”
8. “What special gifts do you plan to give this year?”
9. “What was the best gift you ever received? Why?”
10. “How does the holiday season affect your work/industry/family?”
Once the conversation is flowing, follow these important tips to ensure further small talk success and skip out on any awkward silences:
While the holidays can be a stressful time for all of us, following just a few of these tips can remove the social gathering dread and actually help set you up for success in the coming new year. Now, get out there and make some new connections!
About Debra Fine: Debra Fine is a former engineer, turned small talk specialist. In her engineering profession she often found herself in awkward situations, not understanding the art of engaging with her peers at social gatherings. Debra has applied the same level of study to social engagement as she did to engineering, and she now travels the globe teaching others how to turn small talk into big opportunities. She is the author of The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Rapport -- And Leave a Positive Impression. Give your staff or association membership the gift of small talk! For fees and availability for Debra, email Gina Davilla at email@example.com.
What is a corporate comedian? A corporate comedian is who you want when your company is looking to reward or inspire your team in an engaging, honorable and hilarious way. But what exactly is a corporate comedian? To answer that question, here are 10 factors you should expect when hiring a quality corporate comedian for your celebration or to spice up an otherwise potentially boring business meeting.
Corporate comedians are clean. The terms “corporate comedian” and “clean comedian” go hand-in-hand. It’s unbelievable how many corporate event planners have said, “Our comedian was inappropriate, dirty, and extremely offensive.” Do your homework before hiring and let your comedian know that clean humor is a number one priority. Furthermore, clearly define what clean means to you and your organization, because believe it or not, “clean” is relevant. Clarify which words are “bad” and address anything sex or bathroom related as that is almost always where clean is lost. When it comes to keeping it clean, communication is key.
Corporate comedians are funny. Duh, right? But again, do your homework and watch videos of comedians to make sure you are laughing, and more importantly that you can hear the audience laughing.
Corporate comedians are original. You don’t want a cheap knock off of Jim Gaffigan or Brian Regan. In other words you don’t want a hack. Send sample videos to several people you trust, in and out of your organization, and ask the question: is this comedian’s material original?
Corporate comedians are professional. Ask comedians for references. Contact the references and ask if the comedian was professional at the event. Was he dressed properly? Did she adapt well to long-winded speeches or problems with the sound system? Also keep in mind that the level of professionalism your potential comedian displays on the phone, in emails and with social media is the same level of professionalism you can expect on stage.
Corporate comedians are respectful. Any playful roasting of members, executives or competitors is passed by the planning committee. Respectful also means no poking fun at people with disabilities or deformations. It also means being respectful of the clock and not going way over the time allotted.
Corporate comedians are credible. Along with asking for referrals, do an exhaustive investigation of the comedian’s website. Check show description, bio, videos, corporate client list and testimonials, and blog and social media posts. Also, if you are searching for funny motivational speakers, check whether or not they have earned their CSP designation.
Corporate comedians are relevant. In other words, they customize their material. Researching your organization and your people to ensure relevancy and strong connection with the crowd comes with the territory. The biggest laughs come when the people feel like the comedian knows who they are and what they do, as well as their biggest struggles and accomplishments.
8. Power Point-less
Corporate comedians don’t need power point. That’s not to say comedians should not use power point as a rule across the board, because some use it with success. However, a true corporate comedian should be funny and professional enough to carry on a show or presentation even if she does use power point and something goes wrong.
Many corporate comedians are multi-talented. In other words, they might also bring other skills to the stage. This one is a bonus. Whether it’s magic, parody songs, juggling or ventriloquism, multi-talented comedians are versatile and inevitably peak more interest in more members of your audience. This of course depends on what you’re looking for. Maybe you do just want a straight stand up style routine, but perhaps you want the stand up but with a touch of variety that brings an audience interactive element.
Corporate comedians may be inspiring because they have learning points or motivational content. In others words, some corporate comedians double as funny keynote speakers. This one is also a bonus. Not all corporate comedians have a message, but some of the most engaging keynote speakers have a background in comedy in some capacity. Funny stories are a memorable way to hit home lessons in business such as customer service, leadership and innovation.
The bottom line: do your homework when hiring a corporate comedian. The success of your event depends highly on your willingness to research on the front end. Good luck with your event and here’s to laughing hard!
Article re-posted with permission from Devin Henderson
Welcome to The Keynote Shop. Our mission is to discover and promote cutting edge thought leaders, compelling keynote speakers, and the very best corporate entertainers our industry has to offer.
That said, we are extremely proud to present our featured speaker and social influencer for this month, Dr. Omékongo Dibinga, who will be one of the featured presenters at this week's Influence 2018, the annual conference of the National Speakers Association Conference.
Omékongo is a motivational speaker, trilingual poet, TV talk show host, rapper, and professor of cross cultural communication at American University. He refers to himself as the UPstander and he challenges his audiences to call attention to injustice, no matter how small or large, as he inspires us all to take a stand when we witness injustices.
A scholar, Dr. Dibinga has studied at Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Georgetown, Morehouse, and The Fletcher School, where he earned his M.A. in Law & Diplomacy. He earned his Ph.D. in International Education Policy at The University of Maryland (UMD) where his dissertation centered on the global hip-hop phenomenon and Jay-Z. At UMD, he also worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Teaching Diverse Students Initiative.”
He has published and produced 7 books (including G.R.O.W. Towards Your Greatness! 10 Steps to Living Your Best Life), 7-fusion music and motivational CDs, and one independent DVD. His most recent book “The UPstander’s Guide to an Outstanding Life” is a life balance book for students
Omékongo’s writings and performances have appeared in O Magazine, as well as on TV and radio including CNN, BET, and the BBC to NPR, Music Choice, and Voice of America.
I've included on of my favorite poems which was posted by Dr. Dibinga in June 2017. I hope it resonates with you as it did for me. What cause are you standing up for?
Malaika (a poem)
Originally posted by Dr. Dibinga on June 28, 2017
When you educate a girl, you save the nation
When you teach girls to lead, they become our salvation
Digging wells isn’t just about digging holes
When a community is nourished, you’ve nourished its soul
Malaika Malaika, Swahili for angel
YOU are Malaika, helping girls succeed from every angle
Creating change agents for tomorrow
By focusing on the good, not the sorrow
If each girl can wake up with a possible new beginning
She’s waking up every day with the chance of winning
Building community, one girl at a time
And day after day, we’re seeing the signs
That an investment in girls is some thing never wasted
Because day by day, new trailways are created
All our girls need is hope and a chance
Then we can get out of their way and watch them advance!
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DR. OMÉKONGO DIBINGA