Posts Tagged ‘Texas keynote speaker’

Is this your idea of a whale of a good time?

March 5, 2013
                                                                  whale
No. The diver is not headless. His head is below the bubbles inside the wet suit and I wonder what he was thinking right at this moment? 
My guess is it had nothing to do with world peace, the price of gas or the latest on Jay Lenno.

During my motivational keynote speeches on being fearless and taking risks to experience more success and happiness in life, I talk about the worst day of my life when I was laid off from an office job living far away from my home town in Australia as a young woman. I was petrified. The country was in a recession and the economic outlook was as bleak as it’s been here in America for the past four years.
Go Red laughing side on
My first instinct was to call my parents 1,000 miles away.
george Halfway through dialing I realized they would just tell me to come home and I’d be right back where I started. My hopes and dreams of traveling the world, working on a professional stage and dating George Clooney would be dashed.
(OK, so one of those dreams was a fantasy)I hung up the phone and that pivotal moment changed my whole life. 

Long story short, I grabbed an opportunity to play the piano in a posh Sydney hotel with no experience, a repertoire of 50 songs (mostly Beatles) and a tummy full of nerves. And poof! A star was born (lol)

Last week on TV’s reality show The Biggest Loser, there was a man afraid of swimming because of all the unseen dangers lurking below the water. After shedding many pounds and gaining considerable confidence, the man decided to face his fear and go swimming in the ocean (with a guide in nearby boat). He emerged on shore a changed man.

LESSON: Let go fear of things you can’t control.
Whether it’s the economy, other people or big fish.

Take small steps towards things you CAN control to realize your dreams/goals:
Lose weight, change jobs, venture out, meet new people,
Take a class, join a club, learn a language,
Swim with sharks.

Have a whale of a good time.

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ARE YOU GAME?

January 29, 2013
sloane
Sloane Stephens

The Australian Open is over.                                           Some dreams were dashed,  others fulfilled.

For 19 year old Sloane Stephens a dream came true.

Can you possibly imagine what it would be like to not only meet your idol but compete against her on the same court while the world watched? What would be going on in your mind?

Mine would be mush with fear.

On the morning that Sloane Stephens was to play against the legendary Serena Williams, she woke up and said to herself: “I can do this”. That’s a bold and fearless attitude for such a young player. And she did. Sloane beat her idol and earned herself a place in the top 20 tennis players of the world. It didn’t matter she didn’t win the Australian Open. She won something more valuable: self confidence.

What’s devil angelYOUR dream? Have you got a bucket list of things you’d like to do? Is there a voice in your head saying why you’ll never accomplish any of them?

In a recent after dinner speech I told the story of how eighteen months ago I walked into the Memorial Park Tennis Center in Houston and asked if they had group lessons. I hadn’t stepped foot on a tennis court for 30 years and I was terrified of making a complete fool of myself…….especially since the other women in the class were all perky young girls of 25.

Do you know how annoying perky young girls are???  They run fast, they jump high, they don’t sweat, puff or pant. Aaaargh!Theresa tennis small!!                                           

Fast forward to now….I’m playing five times/week, having a ball (literally), meeting great new people, feeling vibrantly alive and energetic and those perky young girls are nowhere to be seen.
             
Watch out for negative self talk. It can cost you life’s most precious gift: Happiness.

Game, set, match.

Woman motivational speaker Theresa Behenna: Fail your way to Success!
    Kickoff conference speaker 
         Theresa Behenna

 PROFESSIONAL MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER THERESA BEHENNA     IS PERFECT FOR:

Conferences * After dinner

Women’s groups * Awards banquets

Association meetings

                                                                
Theresa@TheresaBehenna.com Tel: 713.627.7821  http://www.TheresaBehenna.com

You and Betty White

September 17, 2012

If you don’t recognize this face you’re obviously not living on  planet  earth…….. Betty White is amazing. If this is what 90 looks like bring it on Baby! A busy actress, animal activist and author, Betty said the scariest thing she ever did was host Saturday Night Live which probably sounds weird to  ‘normal’ folks outside of show biz. How could someone so talented be nervous or afraid?

As a professional motivational speaker on workplace performance in Texas and around the country, I can tell you every time I’m about to step on stage at a conference or special event I get the proverbial butterflies in the proverbial tummy. Regardless of many years experience, it’s the norm.

“Top performers like Betty White move through the fear and do it anyway because fear is what you pass on the way to success.”

  • Are you terrified of that new software?
  • Do you dread giving a sales presentation?
  • Is the very thought of learning a new process so scary you’re paralyzed?

Change is the only true constant. Perception is often worse than reality. Take one baby step at a time and watch how your fear dissolves.

Who knows? Maybe YOU’LL end up in a super bowl candy commercial at 88 years old.

 

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.

Low Cost Ways To Show Employees They’re Highly Valued

March 20, 2012

As a keynote speaker on peak performance I’m always on the lookout for relevant info about current workplace trends. The following was posted by Fast Company March 19, 2012.

BY EXPERT BLOGGER ROBERTA MATUSON | 

Small businesses can compete for talent without breaking the bank. Yes, you still need to pay competitive wages to get people in the door, but it’s the perks that will help you retain them. Here are 30 low-cost ideas for small businesses who want to show employees that they are highly valued.

1. Flex time.  Some organizations require employees to be at work during core hours, and employee can set their schedule around this. Others allow employees to put in hours at their own discretion. Most require employees to have a set schedule so managers can plan for coverage. The schedule may be adjusted to accommodate personal matters like doctor’s appointments.

2. Innovation days.  Set aside several days a year to allow employees to step away from their usual responsibilities to tackle projects related to the way they work and the spaces they work in. Results are shared in a company meeting the following morning.

3. Monthly commuter benefits.  Offer a monthly stipend ($100 or so) for those who commute by public transportation. In many cities where mass transit is used, companies offer tax-free transit fare programs; you can learn more about the options available from programs likeTransitChek or Commuter Check. These programs also save companies money in payroll taxes. 

4. Fully stocked kitchen.  Provide free coffee, soft drinks, and snacks for employees during work hours. Want to bump this up a notch? Keep organic milk in stock and add fresh fruit and healthy options to the shopping list.

5. Wellness benefits.  Employees can receive reimbursement for purchases related to fitness (up to $300/year). Typical items reimbursed include gym memberships, running shoes, yoga mats, bicycles, and so on.

6. Free lunch.  Order in for all your employees once a week to foster community and give employees a break from packing their lunches. 

7. Canine colleagues.  Got an office full of dog lovers? Then invite house-trained visitors to join the team.

8. Parental leave.   As this infographic shows, the U.S. has some of the weakest paid family-leave benefits anywhere–while some states guarantee paid leave, it’s not a federal mandate. You can immediately differentiate your company by making sure all employees are eligible for paid time off after the birth or adoption of a child.

9. No dress code.  Relax–ties are optional in this work environment.

10. Summer hours.  Employees kick back early on Fridays during the summer months, allowing them to beat the heat as well as the traffic if they’re heading out to the beach for a weekend.

11. Free chair massages.  Fifteen minutes in the chair once a week, and employees will return to their desks refreshed and ready to tackle their to-do lists.

12. Optional telecommuting.  In an increasingly mobile and digitally connected world, many employees can easily and successfully work from home part- or full-time. Here are some tips on working from home that will make the transition smooth.

13. Tech neutrality.  Offer the choice of PCs or Macs so employees can work on the machine with which they’re more comfortable. 

14. Flexibility in paid time off.  Employees can choose how to use their paid time off bank (vacation, sick, and personal time) to best meet the needs of their individual situations.

15. A culture of work/life balance. Create an atmosphere where it really is okay to leave the office before 8 p.m.

16. Perks for part-time employees.  Many organizations treat part-time workers like they were temps. Provide part-time workers with perks and they’ll be acting like full-time workers in no time.

17. Cultural extras.  Keep the workplace exciting by mixing in rewards like concert tickets, movie outings, or passes to sporting events. Don’t forget to throw some cash your employee’s way to cover the babysitter.

18. Sabbaticals.  Offer month-long sabbaticals after five years of service, or two months after 10 years of service.

19. Laundry service.  Employ a service to pick up employees’ clothes and drop them back at work, clean and folded.

20. Car care.  Who has time to take their car in for an oil change? Companies have arranged for a service to come to the office and take care of this messy task while employees are working.

21. Gift matching.  The company matches employee’s charitable donations, with the match based on what the company can afford.

22. Adoption assistance.  This financial assistance can be used for legal expenses, adoption agencies, or other professional fees. 

23. Take-out meals.  To help make things easier, new moms and dads are able to expense up to $300 for take-out meals during the first three months that they are home with their new baby.

24. Employee referral programs.  Good people know other good people, and the best employees are usually hired through referrals. Those who refer candidates who are hired receive a cash bonus award.

25. Green initiatives.  Preferred parking and/or subsidies for those who purchase and drive hybrid vehicles.

26. Paid time off to volunteer.  Employees are given a specific amount of time to volunteer in their communities.

27. Cleaning services.  Sweep employees off their feet–hire professional cleaners to tidy up employees’ homes every two weeks.

28. Tuition forgiveness.  Offer to pay a percentage of tuition owed, per year of employment, for hard-to-fill positions that are appropriate for recent grads.

29. Easier dinnertimes.  Take care of the people who matter by enlisting a vendor to deliver ready-to-eat healthy dinners that employees can elect to purchase and take home to their families.

30. Acknowledgment of significant others.  When employees do have to work late hours, the people who really pick up the slack are their spouses who are forced to work double duty. Acknowledge their contributions by sending flowers or gift cards, along with a personal note to acknowledge their contribution.

Incorporating perks like these into your organization will help you attract top talent, increase employee satisfaction, and reduce costly employee turnover, which in the end is far more profitable than scaling back on your benefit expenses to save a few bucks.

Guilty by Association

October 17, 2011
  
                                                                                                                                              ABWA speakers

Last Friday I was the lunchtime keynote speaker for one of the largest and oldest women’s associations in the country: The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA). The Katy chapter in Houston organized a one day conference with a great line up of speakers pictured here from left: Eleese Lester, Michelle Scism, chapter President Francie

Lockwood, Tina Gandy national ABWA President, guess who in blue? and Stephanie DeWagoneer.

Having spoken to numerous ABWA chapters over the years, it was a delightful surprise to be recognized by numerous attendees and in particular, Tina Gandy. Tina was in the audience ten years ago when I spoke at an ABWA symposium in Bryan, College Station. Tina and her twin sister Lina have a very successful marketing & graphics design company called TwinzCo. Ten years ago Tina was a self-described shy violet who ran from attention and was terrified of speaking in public.

Fast forward to now…

Tina Gandy just stepped into the role of National President of ABWA with thousands of members across the country. She gave an impassioned 40 minute presentation on how membership in this association has boosted her self confidence and contributed greatly to her success as a business woman through networking opportunities and educational programs. Powerful testimonial from a former wallflower!

As a professional speaker I am a member of the  National Speakers Association -Houston chapter (www.nsaHouston.org)  It was the smartest thing I ever did when I began speaking in the 90’s as it cut at least five years off my learning curve through its educational and mentoring programs. The second smartest thing I ever did was to form a mastermind group of peers within NSA. We met once a month to brainstorm challenges, speech topics, marketing ideas and trends in the speaking industry. Priceless!

By associating with more experienced colleagues, my level of competence on the platform improved dramatically. They challenged me, they encouraged me, they held me accountable.  

Who are YOU aligning with for professional or personal development?

Be careful. Be picky. Remember: you’re guilty by association.

Meetings Matter

October 10, 2011
                                                               me                                                                                gahu
Ever since the AIG meetings scandal motivational speakers, event planners and the hospitality industry have had a tough time of it. Along with the scrutiny of money spent on face-to-face meetings came increased use of webinars, teleseminars and virtual conferences.

So what’s the problem?

Impact.

As the kickoff convention speaker for the Georgia Association of Healthcare Underwriters recently (GAHU) I arrived the night before my keynote was scheduled. This group has been through the mill the past three years dealing with the Health Care Reform Bill (ya’ think?) and other major industry changes. If anyone needed uplifting it was definitely this group!

Having dinner with several attendees was priceless. During the course of conversation one of the convention sponsors happened to mention a new product they had available that perked much interest from agents at the table. Several fried shrimp later there was an atmosphere of renewed hope that seemed to permeate the whole group.

The next morning during my presentation it was a hoot to see my dinner companions’ faces as I quoted fun scoop ‘n’ stuff from the night before. Using interactive exercises, live piano music and a heavy dose of humor, the energy level raised the roof as GAHU members laughed & learned more about each other, gained ideas to boost their business, sang along to Piano Man and kicked it up in a chorus line that ended in a standing ovation!

Connection. Communication. Impact.

Face-to-face meetings are essential to maximize impact. Marcus Buckingham, one of the leading management gurus, says the biggest challenges for managers today is they don’t know their people. They don’t know what motivates and engages them because there are too many virtual employees and virtual meetings. Managers think they can lead through technology but it doesn’t work.

Meetings matter.

When are you meeting with your old client/new employee/difficult colleague?