My guest today is a real guy on and off the stage. Brad Montgomery teaches people how to use their emotional and social skills to boost performance, creativity, innovation, and profits. He turns typical meetings into transformational events using the power of encouragement. Oh, and he’s pretty funny. Brad has transformed audiences in all 50 states and on four continents. His clients include Microsoft, Verizon, the FBI (yes, that FBI) the CIA (yes, that CIA), and the IRS (where he withheld 30% of his best strategies.) I am so excited to have him as my guest and hopefully unveil the 30% he withheld from the IRS.
Let’s dig in.
The Origin Story
Growing up, Brad wanted to be an ice-cream store owner. Sorry, did I say store? I meant stores. The key is a variety for Brad - don’t even mention vanilla! To him, it was the ideal business. (My personal favorite is the caramel waffle cone with some chocolate mixed in!) As I am sure you’ve guessed, favorite flavors are key to the leadership journey.
So, what was his pivot point? Brad decided to master magic and then go to law school. Brad, in his own words, “got lucky.” He won contests, got booked at the Magic Castle, and was making money! What’s not to love about that? With all the success, he quickly ditched law school. Through magic, Brad was introduced to public speaking. From there, it was a 15-year morph into a guy who entertains on stage to a guy who has an idea he wants to communicate.
Trips & Stumbles
Like every job, you start out as a young sprout thinking you know everything. Most of us don’t realize how dumb and bad we are at the job. When you’re on a stage, everyone sees it. The audience can walk out or they walk up and say, “You suck!” It’s instantaneous and inescapable. Every public speaker has dings from the audience - it’s unavoidable no matter how good you are.
So, how do you receive feedback graciously and process it in a way that helps you learn and grow? Acknowledge the fact that you’re human and that you can and will make mistakes. Feedback may be hard, but the first step in getting better is recognizing where you currently stand. Feedback may hurt, but it’s essential in growing as a leader.
Not Brad’s current focus. (Watch the interview to find out why!) Brad focuses on how emotions and feelings drive engagement. Imagine a line that represents all the things you’ve read and data you’ve collected, but in fact, only 1% of that is what you’re actually passionate about. It might take time to zone in on that segment, but once you do, you may find that you have an entirely new keynote. For Brad, that segment was on how emotions drive engagement. It’s bringing the fun back to work. If more of us could go, “Yay, it’s Monday!” versus the dread many people experience, the difference would be insurmountable. So how do we get there?
Did you really think it would be that easy? No spoilers. You’ll have to watch the interview.