Posts tagged with "Keynote Speaker"

Robert Safian Urged Audience to Focus on ‘Missions’ in Business

By Jamie Wilson

To wrap up the 2018 VM Summit, Robert Safian, founder of Flux Group and former editor-in-chief of Fast Company engaged the audience through four lessons and seven questions. His aim was to showcase the kind of tactics that define the modern company. These lessons and questions that Safian went through explored office and organization culture and the need for businesses to focus on “missions.” 

Keynote Speaker Robert SafianHis first lesson, speed matters, showcased the importance of building a culture of change within an organization. This was followed by an emphasis on youth. He said that Facebook represents what generational shifts can do. In fact, technology is moving so fast it’s creating “micro-generations” which define them. 

“Digital natives do signal a completely different way with interacting with the world,” he said. 

He then elaborated on the importance of human contact. “We all need each other. Human contact is what drives creativity. The answers to these challenges is human contact,” he said. “Creativity and innovation happens in the gaps between silos.”

Safian then used Microsoft to illustrate his lesson of having a learning culture in business. He showed how Satya Nadella, the current CEO of Microsoft turned the company from a know-it-all into a learn-it-all culture. He went on to explain that in this time of rapid change, having and defining a mission is important—mission beats marketing. 

“I’m obsessed with the idea of mission in business. It started with me looking at a particular data insight stating that workers at companies are less engaged with their work than they have been in the past. At those places where engagement is higher performance is higher.” 

Audience listening to Motivating Business Speaker Robert SafianSafian then posed seven questions to the audience:

  • Is this Day 1?
  • Am I continually learning?
  • Is what I’m doing relevant to the next generation?
  • What do we know for certain?
  • What can we control?
  • What do you stand for?
  • Are you comfortable with being uncomfortable

All of these questions sought to get the audience thinking critically about their position in the workplace and further expanding the concept of focusing on the “mission” within a business in this age of fast-moving change. 

“This is just the way the world is. You can lean into it and have fun with it,” he concluded.


Robert Safian motivates business audiences around the world as a premiere keynote speaker and interviewer/moderator.

The Customization Myth: Why Most Speakers Can’t Make Changes To Their Speeches

By Mike Humphrey (originally published on LinkedIn)

There is a familiar frustration with organizations regarding speakers. You pay them good money to deliver a speech that really means something to your audience, and in turn, your organization. You conduct pre-event phone calls and send packets of info with the speaker. Yet they walk on stage with relatively the same speech they always deliver. It is a good speech, but might have been so much better…it could have spoken directly to the audience and made the impact that you had hoped for.

Why do so many speakers struggle with customizing their speeches?

This starts with how most speakers construct their presentations.  They see it as a 10k road race, with a starting line, a race course, and a finish line. It is a set path, memorized and practiced to fit a fixed time frame and for maximum effectiveness for the speaker.  Have you ever tried to memorize 30 minutes of dialogue for a play? It is hard, and takes tens of hours to work out the physical and vocal aspects of the delivery. Any deviation throws off this linear path from start to finish. So most speakers choose to minimize deviations and stay on their proven course to the finish.

There is a better way, one which speakers should adopt and planners should make a priority in speaker selection. It is the concept of Modules and Bridges (M&B).

Modules are stories that a speaker can tell by heart…the type of stories you tell over a dinner table or over the water cooler. These stories are usually 1-6 minutes long, and can be about data, case studies, jokes, videos…practically anything. Speakers build up their own library of these modules, and can pick and choose which modules to use in a speech based upon what the organization needs.

Bridges tie the modules together. A good bridge provides audiences with an explanation as to why they just heard a module…what they should take away, why that module matters to them, etc.

Now here is what makes M&B special: The modules belong to the speaker; the bridges belong to the audience. What I mean is that the modules contain the key content and delivery that makes that speaker special and unique. But the bridges address why the audience should take the modules to heart and why they should listen to the next module.

By using modules and bridges, it makes it much easier to adjust the focus of the speech, the length of the speech, the tenor of the speech, and the key takeaways. New modules can be created for a particular audience and inserted in the most effective spot, without negatively effecting the other modules.

M&B is a powerful methodology for planners too, as it helps assist speakers in building the bridges that key-in on the vital messages that are relevant to that audience.

If you have any questions on M&B, please feel free to contact me at 973-792-8200 and at


Mike Humphrey is the CEO of Nextup Speaker Management. He has been an event producer, speaker agent, speaking coach, and a manager for more than 30 years, working with the hundreds of the world’s top keynote speakers and thousands of amazing event producers.

Robert Safian Delivers Fascinating Speech to Business Leaders

By Kim Mikus, originally posted on the Daily Herald

Speed matters, as does a willingness to embrace new tactics and change in the workplace in order to grow as a company, award-winning national journalist Robert Safian told more than 500 business leaders Friday.

Safian has interviewed the most innovative CEOs in the country and shared what he has learned from stories he has written about them for Fast Company, Fortune, Time and other magazines. He was the keynote speaker at the annual Big Event breakfast at Marriott Lincolnshire held by Lake County Partners, celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Safian told participants the speed of change in a company is important. “Building a cadence of change” is key, he said, pointing to companies that have succeeded in this area, including Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon. “These companies are completely and continually redefining who they are. It’s not just an online seller of books or a place for college kids to meet each other,” he said. ” These companies are pushing themselves and they’re pushing each other in that process to continue to be more ambitious.”

Safian recently started The Flux Group, a media, insights and strategic advisory firm, after overseeing Fast Company’s print, digital and live-events content for the past decade.

Keynote Speaker Robert Safian

Safian said innovation is key and people in the workplace must work together to make changes happen. “Innovation often happens in the gap between silos,” he said. “We have to break down silos between the different parts of our business to be able to unlock those things” and find creativity and survive, he said.

Speaking of survival, Safian pointed to the father of evolution himself, “Charles Darwin noted that it’s not the strongest of the species that survives. It’s not the most intelligent that survives. It’s the one that’s most adaptable to change.”

Participants at the event said they were inspired by the speakers. “The key note was wonderful. One thing I picked up is that you have to be adaptable,” said Cheri Richardson of Gorter Family Foundation.

Mindmap of Nancy Giordano’s recent speech at the Learning Solutions Conference

Thanks to Clark Quinn, Ph.D., we have a wonderful visual image of Nancy Giordano’s talk at this year’s #LSCon.  It is fascinating to see how the future, learning, work, and leadership are interconnected.  Thank you Clark.