Archive for the ‘Speakers’ Category

Being A Little Crazy Could Be Your Big Success

August 27, 2014

Recently I received a call from American Express asking if I would be the keynote speaker at their annual meeting in Chicago. The man explained the purpose of the event was to unite major clients with Amex staff to collaborate and communicate.            American Express brand logo

United Airlines is one of their biggest clients and in the TV ads for United they use the theme from Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. It’s quite cool. Watch video HERE.

The man from American Express asked if I could create a program to include some of the Rhapsody with a relevant motivational message for his group. (I play the piano during my speeches) Errrrrr sure, said I. Just give me a couple of hours and I’ll send you an outline. (Gulp! I hadn’t played that music in 30 years)

Lady Gaga leg on piano with fireMy presentation on extraordinary performance in the workplace refers to Lady Gaga and how the wild costumes and bizarre stage acts resulted in her fame and fortune. She stands out from the crowded entertainment industry by constant creativity and innovation. George Gershwin composed amazing music using a unique combination of a classical style infused with jazz chords and irregular tempos. Unheard of at the time. 

I called the man from American Express with a program titled “From Gershwin to Gaga: Extraordinary Performance is the New Norm for Changing Times!” He loved it.

Whether it’s your resume, an office project, team work or an interview, get a little crazy. Think outside the proverbial box. Search the internet, brainstorm ideas and run with something different.

Sticking out from the crowd will get you noticed….and you don’t even have to play the piano.

The Unpopular Prescription for Good Health

September 6, 2012

As a frequent professional speaker and entertainer for healthcare events in Houston and around the country, I’m constantly amazed at how playing live music transforms people on the spot…

Today I delivered a 45 minute musical program for an Alzheimers group with ages ranging from 55 – 94 years old. Some shuffled in with walkers, others were wheeled in by care givers, while some walked slowly without assistance. They sat expectantly with blank stares looking straight ahead.

Within minutes of playing an empassioned version of  The Impossible Dream, I felt the energy in the room shift to a new level of alive.  After their enthusiastic applause, they sang along to Hello Dolly, shouted answers to musical trivia questions, clapped in tempo to Glen Miller’s In The Mood and ended up dancing to New York New York.  The mood contrast from beginning to end was like day and night!

The miracle is that some of these people can’t remember their own name, yet they knew every word to songs written 50 years ago. For 45 minutes this seniors group came alive with the vibrancy of their youth. Their eyes shone, their toes tapped and their smiles radiated complete well being.

No drugs. No worries.

What if doctors prescribed musical activities versus mind altering drugs for the vulnerable aging population ? What if the healthcare industry embraced alternative action to pharmeceuticals? Oh wait. That wouldn’t be FDA approved.  Silly me.

If you’re the Baby Boomer caregiver of an aging parent, consider an inexpensive way to put a smile on their face and a twinkle in their eye…

Music –  it’s what the doctor SHOULD have ordered.

View this video to see how you can help someone you love:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKDXuCE7LeQ&feature=share

Who’s Looking At You?

August 15, 2012
 
flagThe Olympics are over. All the buzz and excitement of international competition is gone. Compelling stories of athletes overcoming adversity, failures and triumphs are already fading.
Feels kinda sorta like a downer, right?                                   
Merry Ole England did a bang up job of hosting the 2012 games. The royals were out and about, security was a success, traffic was smooth, athletes commented on how very polite the Brits were (natch Daaahling!) and they even built a special ‘Olympic Park’ at the airport terminal for departing visitors. By Joves, I say that’s a jolly nice touch, eh what?
spice girls
Closing ceremonies were quite spectacular, did you think? That is, after the opening vocalist, (whoever she was) singing a bunch of flat notes. You’d have thought it was me – and that’s not a good thing.
 
My favorite part was how singers performed while being chauffered around the stadium in a parade of Rolls Royces (my future car).
Pictured here are The Spice Girls giving it their best shot in front of a global audience of 300 million.                                                                           

Wearing the ‘gold’ from 2006 Torino Olympics

 
So what now?
 
Motivation to be great comes easy when you know the world is watching.   
 
Motivation to be great at work? Not so much.
 
As a motivational speaker at conferences I talk about how top performers give it their best shot all the time because excellence has become a habit.
 
Who’s looking?
 
 
Your customers/boss/team/colleagues/vendors/family/friends.
 
Go the extra mile. Bring home the gold.
  
 Read more of Theresa’s blogs HERE 

Your Olympic Best

August 8, 2012

Dale and police

Studies show the average employee wastes two hours a day on personal business like Facebook etc. That equals about three months of lost productivity per year, per person. Ouch!
 
As a motivational speaker on extraordinary Work Performance I explain how top performers go above and beyond what they’re asked to do by their bosses/clients to exceed expectations and succeed in today’s competitive market.
 
Extraordinary is the new norm in the 2012 workplace.
 
Extraordinary has always been the norm to win gold at the Olympics.
 
Pictured here holding the Olympic torch with police escort prior to the 2000 games Down Under, is my Aussie gal pal Dale Krieg Knappstein. Dale was a swimmer in the 1960 Olympics in Rome and here’s what she said last week during a speech she gave to an elementary school in Adelaide, South Australia:
 
“You have to be extraordinary to win.
  
7 billion people in the world                                     
19 days of competition
10,500 athletes
26 different sports
205 countries represented
302 gold medals

Out of all the people in the world the odds of getting the gold are almost an impossibility.

I came home from Rome without a medal. I felt I had failed my family and my country. Many years later I figured out that at the time, I was one of the top ten 100 meters freestyle swimmers in the world. That’s not bad! Now I’m older I realize that I didn’t fail. I gave it my best shot, others were just better.

Dale and Dawn
From right: Dale Krieg, top Australian athlete Dawn Fraser & coach Harry Gallagher

Today let’s celebrate the dedication and sacrifices needed to become an Olympian.

Then let’s celebrate all the people in this world who give it their best. Not just in sport but in every human endeavour.  We can’t all have gold, silver or bronze medals. (Hey – nothing wrong with silver and bronze!) but we can all give it our best and if we do, this world will be a better place.”

It sure sounds like the USA would be a better place if we all did our personal best at work.

Maybe then all the stuff at Walmart would be labeled

“Made in America”.

Extraordinary Performance is the New Norm: Are You Ready?

July 27, 2012

As the world focuses on the London Olympics the pressure is on for the athletes to perform above and beyond their best. 

Years of practice, discipline, focus, sacrifice and energy, not to mention a mountain of money, all accumlate to a nano second in time at the  2012 Olympic games.  You have to be extraordinary to win. Michael Phelps stands to become the world’s most decorated Olympic medallist with eight gold medals under his belt (or on his very clean shaved chest).

That makes him extraordinary.

As a professional speaker on high workplace performance,  I talk about how  it  takes being extraordinary to get the job/keep the job, get the customer/keep the customer in today’s economy.

How much time, discipline and focus have YOU put into being the best at what you do? Mediocre skills went out the window in 2008 and winning workers/business owners are sharpening their technology/communication/teamwork practices to compete in today’s marketplace with cutting edge advantages. 

Are you ready to bring  home the gold in customer service/productivity/profits?

Let the games begin…

Watch This At Work

July 16, 2012
team
 
Can you pick me out of this line up?
 
These are some members of Team Toto. They’re a great group of people from all walks of life and we enjoy playing tennis Tuesday nights at Memorial Park in Houston. Toto is the team captain pictured in the green shirt and is named such  ‘coz he’s an immigrant from Kansas with a great sense of humor (at least he did until he reads this).
 
I belong to four different tennis groups and play five times a week. You could say I’m addicted to the game. Ya’ think?
 
One time I was playing doubles opposite a man who is extremely competitive and hates to lose. Ten minutes into the game he began yelling at his partner about how to play, berating her for a lost point, putting her down and arguing scores with all of us.
 
And just like that the atmosphere changed from fun to dread.
 
Have you ever experienced that yukky awkward feeling in the pit of your stomach? Watch this at work. One person’s attitude can totally change the dynamics of a team/meeting/office. Organizations wanting to build a strong team culture need to nip these kind of energy-suckers in the bud by enforcing a ‘shape up or ship out’ policy.
 
2012 picAs a professional speaker on High Performance in the workplace, I talk about how a positive can-do attitude boosts teamwork, builds great relationships, increases productivity and elevates customer service that ultimately impacts the bottom line.
 
Everybody wins.
 
Tennis continues to be a ton of fun……I just don’t play with HIM any more.
 
His loss.
 
 
 

The Power of Passion

July 2, 2012

As a professional keynote speaker I’m used to being on a stage motivating people to be the best in their field by raising their work performance level. It’s cool, it’s fun, it’s fulfilling and I absolutely LOVE what I do. Put me on a stage in front of thousands of adults and I’m right at home.

BUT……… put me in front of 100  kids and I’m terrified.

Last week I walked my talk of stepping outside your comfort zone to be  successful  in today’s world….I was asked to speak to Landrum Middle School by the Brilliant Lecture Series who recently bought George Clooney to Houston to talk about his humanitarian work as well as his life (pant, pant, he’s so-o-o hot!)

The children, aged 10 – 13 years old, were mostly Hispanic from under-privileged homes. More scary. My entire Spanish vocabulary consists of: “Another margerita please”. How to connect with this group?

Anticipation is often worse than realization…

Since I’m an Aussie living in Houston I talk kinda sorta funny (although I think you all LISTEN funny). After asking if anyone had learnt about Australia I was amazed how much these  kids knew and how eager they were to participate in my presentation. When I played the piano to emphasize my point about doing whatever it takes to realize your dream, they were mesmerized – and I was relieved.

Music is a universal language and passion is a powerful tool to influence others. I am passionate about speaking, motivating,  inspiring and uplifting people and these delightful children totally got it.

What are YOU passionate about? Passion is contagious. People that are passionate about their work/product/life are more attractive to employers/buyers/everyone.

Passion pays.

Woo hoo!

It’s All About Performance

June 19, 2012
meAs a professional speaker on high performance in the workplace I’m always on the look out for relevant examples on my topic. I believe it takes being extraordinary to get the job/keep the job, get the client/keep the client in today’s economy.
 
Apparently it also applies to attracting a mate…
 
Recently I was watching the Discovery/BBC series ‘Life’ – a documentary about our planet’s birds, animals and fish behavior. Stunning photography. Amazing information.
 
In the world of pelicans, did you know it’s the male who dances best that gets the girl? Yep, he’s gotta have the moves like Jagger. For hippos it’s the guy with the biggest jaw and the most muscle that gets to do the matress mambo with ALL the ladies in the herd. Hmmm…a hippo harem? For birds of a feather it’s the male with the most colorful plummage that can put on the best show.
 
And the difference between these facts and dating today would be……..???
 
Last week I performed a special program for a Fathers Day luncheon at Brazos Towers in Houston.standingThis group of seniors were amazing. They were all dressed to the nines, manicures & bling, suits & ties, hair done Daaahling. When we played musical trivia they guessed the answers so fast I had to keep up by adding to and changing questions (normally they take 60+ seconds to respond). They clapped in tempo, sang along, laughed alot and participated the whole hour.

Always critical of my own performance, I listened intently to comments afterwards. One cute little lady came up to me and said “You were a HUGE success…my husband actually stayed awake!”  

It’s all about performance. 

What could YOU do today that would qualify as extraordinary performance?

Young workers, Old Dogs, New Tricks

June 5, 2012

Doing the Gaga thing!

Whassup with this piano-playing motivational speaker? Why is she standing up playing with her foot on the piano edge? Doesn’t she know there’s a seat?
 
Not very lady-like. Not a flattering photo. But there was a method to my madness and the 300+ staff and faculty of  Texas A & M Corpus Christi totally got it.
 
As the lunchtime keynoter for this great group at their Employee Development Conference, I was scheduled to speak right after the red velvet cake…
 
My topic is all about improving workplace performance and the speech title is “Learn from Lady Gaga: Extraordinary is the New Norm!”  One of the points is about the four generations in the workforce today and how each generation has the attitude they know it all. The A & M audience ages ranged from eighteen to sixty something years old and this SO hit a home run ‘coz they laughed at themselves a whole lot. Cool group.                      
 
To demonstrate how each generation needs to learn new ways of working to succeed in today’s economy, I told the story of how I had to learn new kinds of music to raise my performance level and stay employed when I was touring the world on a piano bench….in Germany I had to learn how to play the blues, in Japan I had to learn Spanish music (who knew?) and now today in America it’s all about Lady Gaga. That’s when I played the song ‘Paparazzi’ and stuck my leg up on the piano the way she does.
 
After the shock and laughter subsided the point sank into their minds at this unique university by the sea where employee education is just as important as student learning. Go Islanders! You rock!
 
 
Baby Boomers & Traditionalists need to stay current with new technology. Gen X & Y need better communication skills and improved work ethics.
 
What new ways of working have YOU implemented in the past year?
Keep up or get left behind.

Why you need fans GaGa over you

March 12, 2012

As a motivational speaker at conferences around the country I need to stand out from the crowded speakers circuit to be in demand. I do that by playing the piano during my presentations on peak performance  and since music is a universal language that energizes people of all ages and cultures, I’m usually booked as the opening keynote.

The five principles of learning to master the piano are the same ones that apply to be successful at work: Passion, Persistence, Attitude, People and Focus.

Ready to rock?

Passion

The beginning of all motivation. Every rock star, athlete and billionaire  started out with one thing in common – they had a passion for what they do.  Fear and money are both great motivators and perceived obstacles. Taking small steps outside your comfort zone towards that dream job/new business can open up a world of opportunities.  

Persistence

Most people give up too easily… at the first sign of difficulty they’re outta there. In Malcolm Gladwell‘s book ‘Outliers’ he writes how Bill Gates and The Beatles each took 10,000 hours worth of practice to reach the levels of excellence they did.  Think Lady Gaga was an overnight success? Not! She started playing piano when she was four. It took 10 years for me to play pop music worth listening to without sounding like a total dweeb.

Attitude

In today’s economy you have to be extraordinary to get the job/client and keep the job/client. This means constantly learning new ways of working. Translation: stay teachable. The days of managers that Know-It-All and We’ve-Always-Done-It-This-Way are SO over. Baby Boomers and Traditionalists need to learn about the latest gizmos from Gen X & Y who in turn need to learn about professional communications. Multi-millionaire Lady Gaga has the ultimate attitude of being willing to change by re-inventing herself almost every week with outrageous costumes, creative videos and spectacular sets. (You gotta get a load of this boomer standing up with one foot on the piano playing ‘Paparazzi’ during her keynotes!)

Stay humble and likeable. Mark Pincus CEO of Zynga a hugely successful online game company, says the main attribute he looks for when hiring is humility because it means someone is both approachable and open to new ideas. Managers that recognize employees for a job well done boost productivity, teamwork and morale. Lady Gaga is constantly thanking her fans that she affectionately calls ‘little monsters’. People buy from people they like. Having peeps gaga over you = cha ching!

People

Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump and Lady Gaga realized early on they needed other people to help them be successful so they each had mentors. For your organization to achieve goals great teamwork is essential and mentoring the younger generations is key. For your small business to thrive, brainstorm with peers in the industry for fresh ideas and solutions to challenges. Join group discussions on Linked In to stay current in your field, create a buzz about your biz on Facebook and post Tweets of value to your Twibe.

Focus

When I was offered the opportunity to audition for Coca Cola to perform at the 2006 Winter Olympics, I did nothing else for three days but focus on  winning. Through research I found out who was going to be in the audience in Italy and practiced piano relentlessly to WOW the judges in Houston within 30 seconds. To stay ahead of your competition today pay attention to changing market trends and keep up with technology to provide speedier customer service.  Focus on goals but stay open to new ideas.

I’m honored to say I bought home the Olympic gold (OK, so it’s a chocolate medal).

Got goals?

Get fans.