Brad Montgomery is a funny motivational speaker who speaks about happiness at work and how happiness can be used as a tool to increase profitability. You can learn more about Brad Montgomery in this article where he suggest how to enhance PowerPoint presentations or in his website http://www.bradmontgomery.com.
Brad accepted to participate on this exclusive interview from FPPT to learn more about his business, personal brand and his experience as a professional presenter.
Q. When did you get involved for the first time into the presentation industry and can you tell us what were some of the lessons you got from your first clients?
Answer: I got my start as a comedian and magician. And only years later transitioned into the professional speaker – motivational speaker world. And I’m convinced that my use of powerpoint is absolutely influenced by my background as an entertainer. As an entertainer the focus is completely on you… Having a screen behind you with bullets and long sentences was absolutely out of the question.
It was a great lesson for me to have to hold an audience by myself without any technology. And now that I allow myself to use all of the tools at my disposal – including powerpoint – means that I can use powerpoint as it was meant to be: as a spice to enhance the main dish. It was never meant to be the entrée.
Q. Is there any tip that you could recommend for our audience who want to improve their presentations skills or talks?
Answer: Yes! Use powerpoint less! Use fewer words, and fewer Slides. But in addition I would challenge anybody reading these words to do a few presentations without powerpoint. If you are able to hold an audience, to deliver valuable information, and to meet all of your audience’s needs without powerpoint imagine the power you would have once you added back this technology.
Q. What is one of the biggest challenges has a motivational speaker and has any of these challenges and any of these challenges is related to the size of an audience?
Answer: The toughest audience size for me is the middle size audience. Small audiences can see me really well and the screen really well. Large audiences almost always have video magnification so again they can see me and the screen really well. Sometimes the screens are absolutely huge.
But it is the middle size audience that is tougher. Often the client doesn’t want to pay for video magnification or very large screens. They have trouble seeing me and have trouble seeing the screen. Of course my first choice is to have as much technology as possible – I want huge screens all around the room. But because of budgets that is rarely possible.
So again… It’s that middle size group that drives me most crazy.
Q. What is the secret (if you can tell us) to achieve so funny presentations while at the same time maintaining a level of seriousness according to the important clients that hire you? (IBM, Boeign, USA Today, etc.)
Answer: Some famous speaker – I can’t remember who said it first, but it seems like all of us have said it since then – that you don’t have to be funny as a speaker and less you want to make money. As a guy who has been professionally funny for over 25 years I him tickled by entry-level speakers who worry that making their audience laugh will somehow cheapen their presentation.
Because I can tell you that without a doubt audiences like to laugh. And they definitely like presenters who can make them laugh more than presenters who don’t. It’s black and white it simple. It’s like the law of gravity. Laughter is good.
But time and time again I get these questions from entry-level speakers wondering if somehow creating an experience that the audience enjoys lessons somehow cheapens them. The short answer is, “No it doesn’t.” The shorter answer is, “Duh! Of course not.”
After being a professional speaker for a quarter of a century I can tell you that what audiences want first is to be connected to the speaker. They want to feel like they relate to and relate with that speaker, and that their speaker relates to and relates with them. Connection is the number one thing. And I can’t think of any better way to connect with your audience than by making them laugh. When you can make your audience laugh they trust you, they like you, and they connect with you.
the second thing our audiences want from us is information, tactics, or strategies they can implement in their lives or their jobs. And it’s important that you notice that this element is the second thing. Most speakers make the mistake of thinking their content is the first most important thing. Wrong.
If your audience just wanted your content they could get it in much easier and quicker ways. They could read the article. They could read some books. They could look it up on the web. But they didn’t… They hired you. To me this is what we call a hint. It means that they want you first, and your content second.
One thing they will not forgive is letting comedy overshadow your content. If you spend 95% of your time on the platform entertaining your audience than your an excellent entertainer. But you’re probably a crappy speaker or trainer. But if you spend 22 even 50% of your time making sure your audience is lively, paying attention, engaged, and ready to learn, it makes that remaining time unbelievably powerful. Laughter doesn’t cheapen you or your presentation. Laughter makes your message more sticky, more memorable, and easier to understand.
One other mistake with humor is to forget that humor is only part of the puzzle. The other part of the puzzle is your content. if your content is irrelevant, out of date, or you just plain don’t have much of it, your audience will not forgive you no matter how funny you are.
I speak about happiness at work and how happiness increases our performance and bottom line metrics. So for me it’s absolutely imperative that I impart information about the value of happiness as a strategy as well as some tactics my audience could implement quickly become more happy. If I didn’t know what I was talking about, if I left out tips and techniques they could implement, or if my information was out of date my audience would never forgive me.
But if you can believe my long list of happy clients, the way I deliver this content is equally important. Almost always more important than the content itself. The fact that my presentations are fun and my audiences don’t just chuckle – they laugh out loud makes my presentations memorable. It makes me memorable. Best Of all it gets me booked back.
My business model is to deliver outstanding information hung on a framework that is entertaining and lively. I promise my audiences that I will keep their audiences awake, engaged, and clamoring for more. And while I have their attention I’ll teach them some solid information that they can use to change their lives and their jobs.
And can you guess what my clients never tell me? They never tell me that their audience laughed too much.
So next time you’re considering adding up the entertainment value of your programs and start to question whether or not this is a good idea I want you to stop right there. Just stop. Of course it’s a good idea. Make sure your content rocks. Make sure your information is helpful and relevant. And then deliver it in a way that makes them fall in love with you and want you back again and again. Professionalism? Bah! Just be excellent and everything else will take care of itself.
About Brad Montgomery
Brad Montgomery is a funny motivational speaker who speaks on happiness at work. Visit him at http://www.bradmontgomery.com or check out his blog at http://www.bradlaughs.com.