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How Winning Organizations Transform Their Conference Openings from Average to Unforgetable

“Logic will get you from A to B.
Imagination will take you everywhere.”

Albert Einstein

My name is Sam Glenn and for the past 20 years, companies and associations from every type of industry, have hired me for one very specific purpose. They want an exceptional conference opening that captures the human attention, creates focus, produces energy and promotes engagement for the balance of their event. It sounds like a mouthful, but a conference opening is the one segment that sets the tone for the rest of the conference.

The opening session either creates focus, enthusiasm and engagement or it’s business as usual and hoping for the best.

How do you know if you need to upgrade your conference opening session?

One big sign is if the best seat in the house is located anywhere in the back of the meeting room away from the front. If attendees scramble to fill up the back of a conference room first, it should communicate that people do not fully trust the stage or agenda of presentations that will be taking place. Their frame of reference for this reasoning is based on past conference experiences. They feel the safer place is away from the front or stage area. The good news is, with a little strategic planning, this can easily be adjusted. The front of a meeting room should be like a magnet that draws people in with readiness and excitement.

So, let’s play this out a little — let’s say your company is planning their annual conference for leadership. Your event will be held in Orlando, Florida. Most everyone arrives the day before the conference officially begins and there is an opening cocktail reception that evening. Then the next morning, breakfast starts at 7-7:30 and 8 am sharp the conference opening starts. The day is filled with general sessions, workshops, concurrent breakouts, networking, training, possible team building and extra curricular activities. The next few days are jammed packed with learning, and more networking and activities. By the time the conference is over, you are pretty much ready for a 12 hour nap. Sound familiar yet?

The question is, how will you (your company or association) start your event knowing that everyone is going to need a lot of energy and focus to be engaging, learn and participate???

Some organizations stick to the same format year after year because they are simply afraid to change or fear resistance from attendees. Let’s be real, nobody really loves change, but do you know what conference attendees dislike even more than change? A boring -no life -put you to sleep – same as usual opening session. Trust me, I give 100 + speeches per year, and after 20 years of doing this professionally, you pick up on what works and what doesn’t. If people aren’t engaged, then what’s the point of being there?

When you are planning your company or association conference

It’s important to understand the two most memorable or what I call “stick with people” moments to any event are – the opening and closing. Again, for the sake of this article, I’m gong to focus on the opening because the opening is the key segment that defines everything else.

Think of it this way – do you have a favorite sports team? Do you like when they won? Of course you do. Now, what do you think a winning coach might say to “your” personal favorite sports team before game time? Do you think the coach gets everyone pumped up, focused and ready to play? Or do you think the coach simply tells the players to hope for the best? If you had to pick an option for your personal favorite sports team, which option might you pick? When you want people to win, hoping for the best is simply not a winning strategy. The game plan must consist of raising the energy level, establishing focus and preparing for engagement.

Strategy is key to crafting an effective
and energetic opening conference session.

I subscribe to Steve Jobs philosophy, “Keep it simple.” This doesn’t have to be complicated at all. Here are 3 simple rules to transforming any conference opening from average to unforgettable! And by the way, these ideas are what Winning organizations do who desire their people to win everyday – in service, leadership, sales, teamwork, etc..

Rule #1. Energy is essential.

You want your opening session to have LIFE. If people have traveled in the night before, chances are they maybe a little fatigued. It means they have been working, had to pack, prepare and plan to attend. Their energy level may not be at a 10. Now, I travel over 200+ days a year. which puts me into a category called road warrior, however when I get off a plane, I feel exhausted. Travel equals fatigue. Take my word for it, travel by land or air, it can zap you of valuable energy. So imagine how unseasoned travelers might feel when they arrive to the conference? A lack of energy creates a lack of focus and engagement.

Creating an energetic opening doesn’t mean people have to be jumping all over or bouncing off the walls. If you watch or attend a Tony Robbins event, the reason he gets everyone fired up, jumping around and going full on bananas is a strategy. It’s done with a purpose. Tony does this to get people energized because they are going to require a lot of energy to learn, think and grow based on their week long conference agenda.

To get people focused and excited about learning, growing and getting involved, energy will be required. Coffee will help, but it won’t be enough.

Rule #2. Position presentations
and presenters with purpose.

Recently, I attended a conference and the opening was the CEO giving a 55 minute “meat and potatoes” kind of speech about the state of the company, partnered with a less than thrilling power point. All while the audience seemed out of it, tired, unfocused and disengaged. There was no part of that opening that captivated and connected. It was business as usual. Conservative or not, creating a captivating opening should be a huge priority if you value the overall purpose of why you are there having a meeting in the first place.

My suggestion: Position the meat and potato
type sessions for the middle of your event.

I understand a lot of elements have to be squeezed in to a very short time period. However, to be effective with these elements, it’s best to position them where they will have the greatest impact and connect with people verse just doing something to mark it off the checklist. Sandwich the heavy stuff between an awesome opening and a grand finale closing.

If your CEO or someone in leadership wants to do a greeting, that works and I think a warm greeting is always a must- but keep it simple. They should greet people, praise them for being there, maybe share a personal story and why they are looking forward to the conference – be heartfelt and connect. Then follow that with a really great opening presentation that fuels people to go from fatigued to charged up. The goal of a great opening is to get everyone focused, ready to participate, learn, grow and be engaged. This is smart and strategic planning.

You want to be strategic about who and what you position in the opening. It can be fun, creative, entertaining or balance out part of the opening that may entail heavier agenda objectives. What I often suggest to my clients is they don’t have to overhaul everything, but implement some balance.

Sometimes when I speak at an opening, the first half of the opening may be on the heavier side, but my program balances everything out going into a break. Think about it, you probably don’t want to start things off with a social media presentation, a panel session or a sad story kind of presentation. While those may be great segments to have depending on your group and agenda, they are not effectively positioned as strong in the opening.

The reason my clients love opening with my presentation is that it’s not to content heavy, but it’s a session “purposely designed” to get the audience focused and ready for the rest of the meeting. I have done this for every industry you imagine and it works for all of them – healthcare, real estate, employee meetings, insurance industry, banking, education, sales, leadership, sports, plumbing, administration, retail, government, legal, manufacturing, oil, agriculture, food and that list goes on and on.

Often, I am the only non industry speaker at these events, but I am there with a purpose – I am an expert at kick starting a meeting. My clients want that because they more than want the entire event to be a great experience for their employees or members.

There are so many unique and creative ways to open a conference. One of my clients in the banking industry hired a famous drummer to kick start things and he brought the place to their feet. It got so loud, the conference center thought there was an earthquake. That’s awesome!!
I’m not suggesting a drummer for your opening, but it’s an idea.

Now remember, not all openings have to be
over the top, crazy or insane.

It’s about positioning the right presentation that will set the right tone. My personal tools for creating engagement involve using humor in my speeches and performance art that visually communicates a simple message. At the end of the conference, the group that hired me might auction my painting off for a special cause they support. It normally auctions between $2,000 -$29,000! I also give away a free painting to someone in the audience. So I try to make the experience fun, offer take away points that pertain to personal and professional growth, but most importantly set a tone of enthusiasm, focus and energy for the balance of the event.

Positioning is everything when it comes to a great conference opening session.

transform opening session with strategic plan
Rule #3. Have Fun.

The more fun you have, the better your event will be. Even if it’s a lot of training and informational sessions, you can still have some fun.

This last year, a few groups I worked with actually based their conference theme off the title of my book, Be Your Own Real Life Superhero. They decorated everything in a superhero theme and even allowed attendees to dress as their favorite superhero for the evening reception or pick a t-shirt at registration that signified their favorite superhero and inspirational quote. I personally like to make learning fun, and it creates more retention. It creates a memory that people talk about and look forward to again.

One meeting I spoke at last month was a retail Jeweler, and they did it right. From the start they made energy, focus and engagement a priority. They were impressive to say the least. But the key factor was the leaders and planners worked as a TEAM, worked hard and had an incredible amount of fun in the process. It transferred over to all the attendees. They all had fun!!
Fun is one of my favorite attitudes and a key element to Winning in life and setting the tone to a great conference.

If you found this article useful, please share it with someone in your organization who could benefit from it.

Sam Glenn
Award Winning Motivational Speaker, author and performance artist
Celebrating 20 years of empowering and inspiring conference openings
Booking Inquiries

10 Super Simple Ways to Boost Your Conference Opening and Closing Attendance

By Sam Glenn, the Attitude Guy

Simple Ideas Work

I want to share just a few very simple ideas that I know will help boost your attendance at both your opening and closing.  I am a big believer in simple. Planning an event requires many details that aren’t always simple, but complicating things is a recipe for a mess and more stress.

My simple ideas based on 20 years of opening and closing conferences for more than 2000 audiences and some as large as 75,000 people at stadium events.

Boost Conference Opening and
Closing Attendance:

1) Sometimes my clients will ask me (a presenter) to help promote their event on social media and post little videos to build the buzz for the conference.

    • If you follow The Rock on social media, he is always doing little videos to promote, thank and connect with his audience.
    • The result – it works!  Have people in leadership do this and presenters.
    • These videos don’t need a production crew – just a minute at most to connect and build a buzz for the event.

2) If you want attendees to stay until the very end, the very end should be smoking hot! 

Have you ever noticed that the number of people who stay until the very end of the conference is often times significantly less than those who started the conference?

WHY didn’t they plan to
stay in the first place?

There are a number of reasons people don’t stay until the end of a conference. Mostly it’s because they didn’t plan to stay in the first place.  It’s because:

  • The closing just isn’t worth sticking around for.
  • They don’t feel like they are going to miss out on anything special or valuable to them.

I know that sounds a little harsh, but it’s the ugly truth. People go off of past event experiences. So if past closings were not that great, the assumption and expectation of future closings will be the same as past ones, so I will take the early flight home.

The big question is, how do
you get people from leaving early?

Think of it this way, it’s the 4th of July and everyone gets in the car so you can find a great place to sit and watch the big fireworks display.  When you attend a fireworks display, it’s exciting at the start, but there is an even bigger feeling of excitement and expectation – the grand finale!!!

Have you ever seen crowds of people BOLT before the grand finale? No way!  You just know it’s going to be awesome. You can’t wait!  And yes, you end up sitting in traffic for an hour after it’s all over trying to get home, but it was worth it.

If you want a higher attendance at your closings, then you need to upgrade your closing to a grand finale experience.


One example we can learn from is a group that had me as their closing keynote presenter, had 2000 people registered for the conference, yet only 150 showed up at the closing.

Do you know how weird and awkward that is speaking to 150 people scattered throughout a room that is purposed to fit 2000 people?  It’s not a good site.  There is no energy or in depth connection that captivates you. Most people at this event sat in the back of the conference hall, while exhibitors packed up and were loud and distracting. The lesson is the planning team just didn’t see the closing as “big deal” and when this happens; nobody else will see it as a big deal, so why stick around?

People will stay when it’s a big deal.  Finish strong!
Remember, it’s not how we start a race,
but how we finish that matters.

3)  Get feedback.

Since every group and industry does things differently; I think the best place to start is by asking people point blank, “What type of closing would have to happen in order for you to miss your flight and want to stay until the very end?”

It’s easy to get this in a survey, but have people in leadership roles connect with a personal touch and ask this.  Doing this will give you an idea of what a great closing session can be to your particular group.

4)  Offer extra educational credits.

But, offering extra credits for your industry can definitely increase attendance at the start and finish of your conference.  It doesn’t have an emotional “wow” factor, but it can logically work to motivate people to stay until the very end of the event.

5)  Do Door Prizes Right.
Bigger Prizes Aren’t Always Better

The bigger the door prize doesn’t always mean a bigger attendance at the end.  I just remember at one conference, this one attendee won a huge 65 inch TV. Most people would be excited with such a win, but she was not. Her response was, “How the hell do I get this thing home? Who is going to pay for shipping? I’m not!” She wasn’t happy.

I think the best door prizes for the best responses are gift cards, gift certificates to experiences like travel or the prized favorite- cash!

People love cash – who doesn’t?
Cash is always king when it comes to
door prizes. It just is.

One company I worked for did table cash drawings – it was pretty awesome and expensive.  So, how it worked was they had 100 tables in the room (10 people per table) and during the closing, they would randomly pick a number out of a hat – so if they called table 3, the entire table would go up and get a cash prize.  It gets cooler!  Before they picked the table number, they pulled another number out of a hat and that was the amount everyone at the table would each win.  So some tables won $25 each, $50 and $100.

However, what really got the blood flowing in the room was when they did the cash drawings for $250,$500 and $1000.  So if 10 people are sitting at a table and your number gets called – everyone at that table is going to get $1000 cash! I know that’s insane!  I don’t even work for that company, but I want to go to their closings every year.

Some tables were designated for higher rewards and people could win seats at those tables throughout the conference.  It was like you were on “The Price Is Right”.  This is an expensive way to do a closing, but wow – what a grand finale!  It works! People stay!  In fact, this closing becomes a marketing tool that more people want to sign up early for next year’s conference.  They make it fun, entertaining, rewarding – it’s a grand finale! 

The group I just closed for in North Dakota did something like this, they did a drawing of 50 names and those people walked up and got $100 cash.  The closing had the most attendance they have ever had because they built it up and made it worth the stay.

Even if you have a tight budget,
you can be creative and find ways
to make your opening and closing
segments memorable.

When I hosted a National Leadership Conference in Chicago, we had a shoe string budget, so one thing we did was move our event site from a hotel location to a meeting site that was just a different setting than the norm.  That was a big draw for us.  Our attendees loved it!  Mostly because it wasn’t like every type of conference they have ever been too.  We had to think creative to make it a great event and we did.

6)  Network and find out what others are doing at their closings.

  • You may pick up 2 or 3 really good ideas that will improve your closing attendance and make you look like a rock star.
  • Always be looking for ideas and asking what others are doing.
  • It doesn’t mean you mimic what others are doing, but rather take an idea and tweak it a little.

7)  Wrapping up the conference in the evening, so the next day people can get back home or back to work at a reasonable time.

  • I know this isn’t always possible, but when it is–attendees tend to stay until the last event or function if it goes into the evening.
  • Maybe offer breakfast and do a short wrap at breakfast the next day, so people can get on the road.
  • I personally think it’s a tough wrap to do at lunch.  Many do it and I tip my hat to them, but it makes for a tougher closing. For some reason, a closing lunch seems to draw a lower crowd attendance.

8)  For really strong opening and closings, I suggest to upgrade your speakers and presenters.

Have you ever eaten something with little to no flavor?  It’s not enjoyable is it?  Well, some conference openings and closings have no flavor to them. Nobody is going to line up to taste something that has no flavor.

I often share with event planners, the reason why conference rooms fill up from the back of the room first is people just don’t trust the stage.  Attendees want to separate themselves from potential boredom and the unexpected.

They want a spot where they can play on their phone, easily get up and walk out, blend in or just not be caught drifting off to sleep, doodling or daydreaming.

Remember, positioning of speakers
for your opening and closing
segments is everything!


Most of my clients hire me as a kick off presenter because they know I’m going to set a tone and energy for the rest of the event.  As you research speakers, you want someone that draws people in, has energy, captivates, and is memorable.  I can’t stress that aspect enough – It has to be memorable.

So maybe don’t kick things off with a social media expert or wrap things up with a futurist.  You get the picture. My advice, upgrade the stage experience.  Just because someone is a bestselling author and their demo clips seem good, doesn’t always mean they are a good kick off or closing presenter.  You want them to have the fourth of July Power to their presentation – where people show up early to get a good seat and don’t leave before the grand finale.  Remember, positioning of presentations and presenters is the key.

9.  Have an engaging and proactive theme for your event.

Some groups have a simple theme and build around it.  But a very proactive theme can take your event energy to a new level.

When I wrote the book, Be Your Own Superhero – how to be a real life superhero in leadership, service and life, my clients started using that theme for their events.  People dressed as their favorite superhero. They had contest. They had ice breakers and activities and giveaways customized around this theme.  Having a theme like this makes your event more memorable and engaging.

Trust me – this is awesome.  My superhero theme is a hit.  If you do it, you need to give me credit!  Being an everyday superhero is one of my most requested speeches – and it’s really good.

10.  This is the most important factor and sometimes the hardest – be consistent with your kick off and grand finale.

If you are starting from scratch and making some upgrades, don’t expect 100% buy in from everyone at once.  It takes time to achieve momentum and progress.  That is okay, if you are consistent with your efforts and make your opening and closing awesome, you will notice an increase in attendance at both your openings and closings. The other benefit to this is it becomes a huge selling point that gets people excited about coming back the next year, early registrations, attracts new members and more people wanting to attend.

In closing, planning a conference
or large event isn’t easy.

You are trying to make many different personalities happy and that isn’t always an easy job.  Sometimes that pat on the back isn’t going to be there, but someone complaining about something will be.  My advice is to not complicate what is meant to be kept simple.  But have fun doing it!  When you are having fun, it’s going to turn out so much better for you and others.  My wife always tells me before every speech, “Sam, just have fun. If you have fun, everyone will have fun.”

Sometimes you gotta step out of the comfort zone and try new things or do things different than prior years.  Some things may work and some may not. Just keep learning. Do the best you can and always remember the best pat on the back is the one you give yourself!

Sam Glenn keynote motivational speakerAbout Sam Glenn, The Attitude Guy
For the past 20 years, Sam Glenn has become recognized as a meeting planner’s delight. Sam’s speeches are award winning, his books are top sellers and he also is a talented performance artist.  Sam has been named Speaker of the Year several times by different meeting and event organizations and magazines.  

For more information on booking Sam Glenn, the Attitude Guy for your conference or meeting kick off, visit:  Or email his office:

The Last Great Restaurant

Sam Glenn the attitude guy headshotA few years ago when I was a resident of Naperville IL, there was a small restaurant a few blocks away from my house that I got to know very well. It became my hot spot to go have coffee, think, write, and go out to eat with family. I think they had been in business for over 20 plus years. It wasn’t the most beautiful on the inside, but the food and service are what made it work.

I submitted a proposal to speak at a national conference on food and hospitality, however they didn’t think my speech title was a good fit for people in their industry – Hospitality Starts with Attitude. I was surprised they didn’t see the real value in attitude. Because isn’t it with our attitude that we do our work, service customers, build business, solve problems, make new ideas work, do more with less, etc? It all starts with attitude. 

I remember walking into that restaurant in Naperville and the owners would nod to me and say, “Mr. Glenn, sit where you like.” People would look at me like I was famous. It was really cool. Sometimes when I pulled up, the wait staff would have my beverage of choice waiting for me at a table.

Let me point out, they made it a point to get to know me.

When I took my wife, who I was dating at the time, there for the first time thought I owned the place based on the way they treated me. It was awesome. After my mom would have treatments at the hospital, we would pop in and share a sticky bun and catch up on life.

But, then one day it all changed. The owners were ready to retire and so they sold the restaurant. The new owners painted the walls, got new tables, chairs, menus, everything. It looked like a brand new place inside. It was nice. Once all the changes were made I decided to go up there for breakfast and check everything out and see how the new owners were doing. It was all new people working there and it wasn’t very busy either. I wasn’t greeted with a smile and when I asked about sitting next to the window, was refused because the section was closed off. I sat at a booth and my coffee cup never saw a refill. In fact the new owner was sitting at a table behind me talking to an advertising expert on how to get more people in the door. The prices he was quoting her for flyers, adds in the paper, radio spots was outrageous. And still my coffee cup remained empty, I had become invisible. I wanted to turn around and let the new owner on a tip that would save her a fortune – create a story and an experience that people will share with others and will want to return too. I came back over and over because of attitude. But because of the new owners attitude and lack of service I never returned to that restaurant again. If you want to be successful in the restaurant business and the world of hospitality, then remember it all starts with attitude.

My wife and I have a ritual and that is every weekend we go out for breakfast. We change it up. We live in Carmel IN now, and we mix it up a little. There is one restaurant that has amazing food, but the worst service you could imagine. We tend to eat at Cracker Barrel quite a bit. The food is actually so so, but we like the ambiance and atmosphere. And we haven’t had bad service yet. The managers there do a good job. Even though they try to push candy on you when you pay for the bill, we still like going there the most.

Over the past few years, I have had the chance to speak at Purdue University and Iowa University dining services. Great folks and some of the best groups I have ever spoken for. The idea is to let them know that what they do is important and how you serve others is the key to success.

Helpful tips for the hospitality and food industry:

Be aware of your attitude. Is it helping create a positive story or not?

What builds the best business is word of mouth, do such a good job they tell others and want to come back.

Give your best effort. If you see a need, step in and help out. If you have a great idea, share it.

At the end of the day, it really does boil down to one word – Attitude. Leaders who lead with a positive attitude create an example that others can duplicate and to be successful, that is what you want. When you don’t care or portray a mediocre attitude, expect others to mirror that.

As I finish writing this blog, I am sitting in the restaurant of my hotel and not once did I see the bottom of my coffee cup. I love to tip and talk about great experiences, and recognize good work.  So I am going to leave a nice tip for my waitress and thank her for her great service. 

Sam Glenn is an award winning keynote speaker and is often the highest rated speaker at every conference he speaks at.  If you are looking for an uplifting speaker that your audience will absolutely love and gain value from, then contact Sam Glenn’s office about booking him.  –

7 Things Great Companies Do That Make Them Great

They top the lists as great companies to work with and to work for, so what is it that makes them thrive and continue to achieve new levels of success?  It is a question I have been researching for years.  I noticed that a lot of the companies that hired me to speak at their annual leadership meetings, were rated as one of the best in their state or nationwide to work for.  If you ask enough of the right questions, you will find the answers you seek.

I was able to find close to 100 things great companies do that make them great, but here are the top 6 that seemed to be the most universal and the one thing you will notice about them is they are not complex.  They are simple, easy and work.  Great companies who do these 7 things understand it’s apart of what makes them continue to be great.

1. Inter -Company Mentoring

If a manager isn’t scoring well with his staff or duties, chances are they may not need a lecture or a fireside chat, but rather they need some positive mentoring from someone who can communicate how to do things better or more efficiently.   Sometimes, when people are put into leadership roles, they may have the potential to be a great leader, but it doesn’t necessarily qualify them to be an actual leader.  Mentoring is a way to ensure there is no gap in performance and that everything stays on track and improves.  Having someone mentor you for a short time doesn’t diminish your leadership, but rather empowers it.

2. Their Culture is their Brand – it is their Marketing and Fuel for Success.

Imagine asking people randomly  as they are leaving work what they think about their boss, supervisor, manager or company they work for.  What message do you want people communicate?  What things do you do to ensure that when people walk out the door at the end of the day, they communicate a message that is positive?

3. Continued Training and Education

This is about getting better and ensuring people stay sharp and dedicated.  Helping people get better is a component that helps your organization get better.  Training has to be on-going.  Educational opportunities should always an option.   Does your company have a personal development library – physical or online, where people can go and invest in themselves or work on developing new skills that could be of greater value to what they do and the organization?

My evaluation is excellent leaders encourage continued education.  Some will even buy everyone a book.  Has your company gotten every employee a book that would add value to that person’s life and to the organization?  If not, why?  If you say, “We don’t have the budget?”  The question is why not?  Why is there not enough to invest in quality training that improves people and the organization?  Mix it up a little and get everyone a good book or offer a book of the month club and give people the option that if they want a book, they can get one.  A book appears to be something little, but yet has such a big and lasting impact.

4. Low Turnover

If your turnover is relatively high, then it is a strong indication that employees are not connecting well with leadership or have no real sustaining engagement or purpose to what they are doing.   Also, great companies recognize that this is where a good sum of profit and losses happens.  Turnover is expensive.  If turnover is a constant, then the recruiting process needs to be upgraded.  You want to develop an organization that attracts top talent and that top talent actually stays.  They money you save in turnover expenses, you use that to protect your investment by offering more perks like continued education or activities that translate into wellness, loyalty and engagement.

5. Great companies offer great perks.

Hey, we can’t all be Google and offer the pie in the sky like subsidized massages throughout the week, free gourmet food, on site laundry, daycare and facilities that make you wonder if it really is Google or is it Heaven? Hmmm…. It is being aware and offering perks that make people feel like you have their best interests at hand.

If you don’t take care for your people, someone else is ready too and you don’t want to lose good people by signing them up for the Jelly of the Month club.

You know what I am talking about.  Maybe one perk is “trust”, letting someone work from home one day of the week.  Another perk maybe a gym membership.   How about monthly movie tickets so the family can get out and enjoy a fun family night out??  Or what about a surprise gift card to somewhere with a note that says, Just Because!  How cool would that be??  Little things make a big difference.

6. Recognition.

Who doesn’t love to know they are contributing to the big picture or making a difference.  We all want to know we are contributing in a way that translates into achieving organizational goals or progress.  Some people will up and quit their job just because they don’t feel valued.   If someone doesn’t feel valued in an organization, what will their message to others be outside the company?

Recognition from leadership is vital, essential, top of the list of things that has to happen.  It can be as simple as remembering someone’s name.  Sounds a little crazy, but I have gotten letters from people who want to look for other work because leadership doesn’t even know their name.  Just a few kind words that acknowledge effort and attitude is all it takes to inspire someone to feel connected to the big picture.

7. Communication.

The number one constant in any organization is change – be it new growth, new software, new people, new regulations, new cut backs, and the list of changes can go on and on. But, great organizations understand that communication is essential.  They don’t sugar coat the hard stuff or beat around a bush until people get a clue, they communicate the message.  Without quality communication from leadership, it leads people to assume and when people assume – their imagination goes wild and take them to a place that disrupts workplace performance and morale.

Communication is not about holding more meetings or sending out more memos, it is about getting down to the message and ensuring people understand, while addressing any concerns or questions.   Quality communication is about being open to feedback or sharing new ideas.  Employees need to feel confident they can share ideas or ways to improve upon something that will help the overall organization.  If they are afraid to communicate, then you will possibly lose that one idea that could be the step to the next level or simply set off a chain of negative consequences.   A lack of qualify communication has big time consequences. Great organizations make open communication a priority.



Sam Glenn is an award winning keynote speaker and is often the highest rated speaker at every conference he speaks at.  If you are looking for an uplifting speaker that your audience will absolutely love and gain value from, then contact Sam Glenn’s office about booking him.  –

Ever Feel Like Flipping the Bird?

The title is exactly what it means.  If you don’t know, you can ask someone and I am sure they will show you exactly what it means and possibly laugh a little as they show you.

So, why would I pick such an edgy subject?

When organizations hire me to kick off or close out their conference, they know that my topic revolves around keeping a positive attitude. But in reality, my message revolves around developing and maintaining emotional management skills.  However, if I marketed my speeches with that title, I don’t think many people would pay attention or get excited about listening.  It just sounds boring from every angle.  So, I dress up the message with titles like, The Gift of Attitude, A Kick in the and RECHARGING Your Attitude For Success.  I take a broad and boring topic and add life and entertainment to deliver the goods or meat and potatoes.

Emotional management is how we manage our behaviors and attitude in the face of pressure, stress and crises. Some of our emotional management is made up from what we learned from our environment growing up.  And when we get out into the real world and on our own, our emotional management is made up by the influences we choose to impact our attitude and behavior.

So, let me share an example.  The other night, I was doing something I love to do – watching a football game.  It was Monday night football, the Cleveland Browns verse the Washington Redskins.  I am not going to mention any names or throw anyone under the bus, but out of frustration, the quarterback who was drafted in the first round and who has had a lot of hype flipped the opposing team the bird.

Why did he do it?
Was it for fun, for kicks and giggles?
Or did he do it because the pressure
and stress got to him?

He lacked the emotional management skills to be classy, stay poised and keep his game face on.  Instead, he showed how he responds under pressure.   At this point, I am glad the Vikings went with another QB in the first round.  Why you ask?  Because that would be embarrassing.  It does not make the team look good.  It’s a bad reflection on the coaching staff.  It doesn’t give the fans a positive expectation.  Do you get the picture?

Let’s take it to the workplace now.  What if a cashier got frustrated with a customer, and lacked those emotional management skills to deal with the situation properly?  What if they just did the first thing that came to mind, flip em the bird?  Let’s be real, we all have had moments we have felt like flipping the bird to someone.  Even my grandma who is the kindest lady you could ever meet, who loves God, goes to church, pays all her bills on time and buys girl scout cookies gets the urge to flip people the bird.

Let’s be honest about it.  Hey, I do!  But just because I feel like doing it doesn’t mean I follow through.  And as far as my grandma, I can’t answer for her, but I know one time at church she gave me the bird and I thought that was odd.  I am just kidding – she never did.  But, let’s be real about it, we have all been in a situation where someone pushed our buttons and we just wanted to give them the worst piece of our mind. Am I right?  Yeah I am.

Emotional management is responding in a way
that works best for you and the situation.

It does not mean you don’t want to unload a bucket full of not so happy thoughts and gestures, it just means you have the skills to calm your mind and respond with behaviors and attitudes that are not fueled with a boiling pot of water.

Equipping people with emotional management skills is the core of all my talks.  I want to empower people to make choices that benefit them and their organization.  It’s a fact that we are all going to have bad days, rough moments, negative people or that unexpected flat tire that rolls over our last nerve.  That is a given, but taking the time to develop your emotional management skills will save you a lot of regret, stress and negative consequences.

We have to learn from the moments that we didn’t handle things so well.  For example, have you ever had a conversation with someone and then without really thinking it through, just sat down at the computer and fired off a not so well thought out email. And the cherry on top is you took to your social media and posted the most ridiculous and crazy rants.

We have all been there, but the key to strengthening your emotional management skills, is to learn from what did not work for you.

Learn from others.  Anyone remember the Jet Blue flight attendant that got so frustrated with passengers, he grabbed a few cold beers, chugged them, got on the intercom and started yelling at everyone.  And his grand finale was pulling the emergency slide and going for a 2 second joy ride that would ultimately become national news and cost him his job, employment opportunities and land him in anger management and handful of other legal challenges.   Did he have the emotional management skills to handle the pressure that day?  No.  It doesn’t mean he wasn’t a good person, it just means his emotional management skills needed some refining.

Sometimes, I will see adults respond to situations like a 4 year old child and I often think, “How is that going to make things better for them or others?    How is that going to make their organization look good or resolve anything with effectiveness?”

The answer, it’s not.  So, even thought it sounds boring, working on emotional management skills is worth a little time and attention.  So, remember, the next time you hear me speak at a conference, you now know the undercover meaning or the real meat and potatoes to my stuff.   And you have to ask yourself, is emotional management a good thing for you?  Yes.   Is it a good thing for your organization?  Yes.  Life is always requiring us to make choices and respond, so why not work a little and practice implementing the right emotional responses that reward you.

50 Shades of Negative

By Sam Glenn, The Attitude Guy

Motivational Speaker, Author and Entrepreneur

It is 4 minutes to 9 am and I need to run into a retail store to grab a few items.  I know exactly what I want.  I have the cash, credit or check – however the retailer wants to be paid.  I walk up to the door of the store and it is locked.  Well, I am a few minutes early, but wait here comes somebody walking towards me from the back.  It seems that they are going to let me in just a little early because they know I am a customer with cask, credit or check – however they want to be paid.  The store associates name was Patty.  I could see that on her name tag.  She proceeded to unlock the doors, opened the door a crack, stuck her head out and said with gruffness, “We don’t open for another four minutes, come back then!”

Then she closed and locked the door, turned her back and walked away.

Let me examine this with some witty, yet truthful common sense.  You see, by the time Patty informed me to come back, bolted the door and walked away without a care of who wanting to give her some cash, it was 3 minutes till opening.   So, I had 180 seconds to reflect on how I was treated and examine how Patty got infected with 50 Shakes of Negative.  Because only someone who is negative and clueless would do such a ridiculous thing.   For real, “Who does that?”

Who turns away a paying customer
at the door with 180 seconds till opening?

Who paints a negative picture of their company in the eyes of the customer?

Who doesn’t care enough about customers and sales that they let 180 seconds gets in the way of customer loyalty and revenue or commissions?

It’ s PATTY!

Do you know a Patty?   Not by name of course, but someone like Patty who subscribes to negative outlook that makes her clueless to what real success is all about.

Let me ask you this, if you were a business owner, would you hire someone like Patty?

Would you say Patty doesn’t have a clue?

Why did Patty need 180 seconds?  Did Patty have to finish a text message to a girlfriend?  Did she have to water her cactus plant?  Where could I go for 180 seconds and then come back to buy from Patty and reward her 50 shades of negative attitude?

Who is really to blame for a bad attitude like Patty?  Did the corporate office not train her properly?  Was she sick on how to make sales and win customers training day?

Maybe she ate a bran muffin and had a few cups of coffee before work and needed 180 seconds to have some human time.  Sure that seems rough of me to think, but I got turned away for business and have 180 seconds to think about things and this thought came to mind.

Did her regional or district manager tell her, “If you see a customer at the door ready to pay cash, credit or by check and there is 180 seconds till opening, you rudely open the door and inform that customer with an attitude of how dare you come to our store before we open and ask them to come back at the correct time.  Then you turn your back to them and walk away.”

Someone is responsible for Patty’s 50 shades of negativity. 

If you are in leadership and success is your goal, you do not tolerate this.Because what you permit is what you promote.

Patty is also responsible for her attitude and actions.  If you don’t know how to use them when the goal is revenue for the company, then you need to get a clue and learn the rules for success.  Otherwise you are defeating yourself and the company’s objectives.

I can honestly say that if I saw an employee do this, I would invite them into the boardroom and in less than 180 seconds give them a Donald Trump style, “You’re fired!”

I am serious.  I would not tolerate this from any employee.  Who turns away a ready to pay customer and sale with 180 seconds till opening?  Not only would I not tolerate it as a business owner, but I don’t tolerate the treatment as a customer.   What Patty doesn’t realize is that she did get fired that day.  Not by her company, but by the customer.  That is the power of a customer.  They can fire a company of any size by not buying from them.   Well, Patty is making her way back to the door to open the store.  I wonder if I should let her know that it’s been 210 seconds and she should have opened the door 30 seconds ago?  I mean considering she was so adamant with communicating to me to come back in 180 seconds till they officially open.  I think I will just walk away and find another store that wants to help me and likes to make sales.

Does it sound like I am a little upset as a customer?  I am as upset as I am disappointed.  You might argue that Patty was following rules or needed to finish up a few things before opening, but you don’t take the time to walk as far as what she walked, unbolt the door, not great me with a smile, welcome or reason for the 180 seconds of time needed, but just an unhappy face and a rude tone informing me, “We are not open yet, come back when we are.”, then walks away.

No…no…no.  That is not good business.
That is someone who has 50 Shades of Negative and
needs a clue to what makes success possible.


This information is compiled, researched and written by Sam Glenn, The Attitude Guy.   Sam Glenn is a sought after keynote motivational speaker by companies and organizations that want to re-charge attitude’s for positive action to achieve positive results.  Sam Glenn’s Speeches and Motivational Books offer strategies that combat stress and negativity in the workplace and ideas that ramp up teamwork, communication and a positive culture where people will thrive.  Sam Glenn is a great kick off speaker or closing to any event.  Sam Glenn’s Official Website: (

“Bad News… We Are Broke”

It is easy to use this terminology when things are stretched as tight as possible. Companies are feeling the pinch everywhere. Some are robbing Peter to pay Paul. An employee of an organization reached out to me recently about getting some of my motivational materials to generate some positive energy in the workplace – ‘cause I am good at it. J However, the company vice president said, “We have zero training budget for that.  It’s bad news; we are broke in that department. We don’t have any funds to invest in personal development.”

The employee’s response was simple, yet dynamite! “How does an organization expect to get better and have better results when it is not investing in making their people better?”

Things that make you go “HMMMMM…”

Sam’s 5 Rules For Going from Broke to Positive

Read More →


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