Tag Archives: Kelly Swanson

“How Passionate Business Storytelling Makes a Message Unforgettable” by Kelly Swanson

Your StoryI was speaking to a group of hotel managers in a program on how to motivate their employees to provide better customer service. In the opening, I pointed out that according to a 2016 Gallup poll, only 34.1 percent of American workers are engaged in the workplace.

And then I told them a story. It was about a woman I had heard singing as she worked in a hospital, and how I had heard her voice all the way from the parking lot. “Some sweet morning, when this day is over, I’ll fly away.” They were loud, staccato, jubilant notes of a life well lived.

When the automatic glass doors to the building opened, I could see her standing there holding her mop as if it were a beloved dance partner, as if her faded cotton dress were made of the finest silk. I watched her all throughout the day as she touched the lives of many. In the cold antiseptic corners of that hospital I saw pain find healing, watched sorrow meet comfort, and saw hopelessness find hope all wrapped up in a faded cotton dress and comfortable shoes.

That day, a woman full of blessings who smelled of bleach showed me what service looks like—and it didn’t come in a list, but in an attitude. The program continued on, and at the end I asked my audience who among them could remember what I had mentioned earlier about the poll and the percentage of employees it indicated were engaged in the workplace. Two hands went up. Then I asked if anyone could remember the song the woman in my story was singing.

Almost every hand went up. Nobody could remember the fact, but everyone remembered the story. That showed me how facts aren’t tied to emotions—but a story is. It is the greatest tool we have to connect and engage. Are all stories equal? No. I’ve watched speakers tell stories that captivated the entire room, and I watched them tell stories that put everybody to sleep.

Just having a story is not good enough. Apply the following tips to your stories and watch what happens. Understand how and why story works. Once you understand the psychology behind stories and their impact, it gets easier to write the ones that are most effective for you.

It starts with an understanding that listeners don’t take action without first having a visual. Therefore, their thoughts are not stored as words, but as images. For your data to have a lasting impact, it must be wrapped in an image for the listener to truly connect with, store and access later. The story does all the work. The point drives it home. Story trumps data.

Stop looking for a good story!  So many speakers ask, “Is this a good story?” That’s the wrong question. Don’t go looking for a “good” story. Look for one that your audience will connect with. An experience they can relate to. Then work on making it a good story.


kellyswansonKelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, motivational speaker, author, and trainer on the art and business of storytelling in business. She has spent fifteen years entertaining, motivating, and teaching audiences how to harness the power of their story to connect, influence, and get results.  To book Kelly for your next event click here: http://goo.gl/DFvROG

Just Ask! by guest: Kelly Swanson

askI don’t know about you, but I come from a long line of women who hate to ask for help. We’d rather stand proudly in the pool of martyrdom, even if we are drowning – but at least we did it on our own, with good hair, fine china, and a purse that matched our shoes. Asking translated to weakness. Asking meant you weren’t polite. Asking was rude. What we didn’t realize, was that sometimes (and maybe most times) in order to get what we want, we have to ASK for it. Yet many of us, me included, are disappointed at all the things we didn’t get that we never asked for.

Today was a good example for me. I want likes on my Facebook page – not to feel needed, but because it gives me more exposure to clients looking for motivational speakers. And yet every time I open my Facebook page and see that place where it gives me the option to ask my friends to like me – I ignore it. It just feels too needy. What if they say no? What if that makes me promiscuous?

But today I said, “What the heck. I’m always happy to like their pages. And they can always say no. I’ll never know unless I ask.”  So I asked.  And not even an hour later I got 80 likes – make that 81, I just got another while typing this. And I would bet by end of the day that number will be higher.

Lesson to me: ASK.

Lesson to you: ASK.

They can always say no. But your chances are always better than if you said nothing at all.

So now that I’ve climbed out of the pool of martyrdom and into the pool of asking for what I want – does anybody have any diamonds they want to give me?

(P.S.  In case you now want to go find me on Facebook, go to www.facebook.com/funnymotivationalspeaker.  I’ll be the one with all the likes.)


Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson – called one of North Carolina’s funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow – Kelly’s make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience’s imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market. To book motivational speaker Kelly Swanson: see her Speaker page at http://www.simplysuespeaks.com/speaker/17/Kelly_Swanson

Is It Time to “Spring Clean” Your Business?

springcleanFinally it’s that time of year: “Spring Cleaning!”  Seems like Spring took a long time to get here, and we are not quite sure it’s going to last! I remember growing up as the snow melted and the warm weather started moving in, it was time to make things new and fresh after the dullness of winter!

Clothes changed, colors brightened up, and we spent a lot time redoing and fixing things in our home inside and out to welcome in the sunshine and new beginnings!

“Spring Cleaning” somehow makes us feel better inside, but did we ever think about addressing our work life, where we really spend the most time?

I am honored to have some professional experts here at “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency that share with me and their audiences how the “Spring Cleaning” should also include our businesses and work areas! Here are some tips of what needs to be on your list!

                                    “Spring Cleaning” Your Business:
1.  Mindset– How are you connecting with those you serve in your business? This is the beginning of the 2nd Quarter- are you working at your highest level and living your plan and purpose?  Kelly Swanson– Award-winning Storyteller, Comedian, Motivational Speaker and Author is showing her audiences how to sell more, lead better, and have more impact and influence in their industry.

2. Physical Issues– Are daily decisions about paper overwhelming? Need to put paper “in its place?” Barbara Hemphill– Award-winning Productivity and Organization Expert shows her audiences how to tackle this area of their business and succeed!

3. Technology Overload– Think you can’t keep up?  Do you work 24/7 and still feel there is not enough time to spend on technology?  AlfredPoor– Internationally recognized Technology Expert is sharing tips of how to manage the marketing of your business in an effective and efficient manner with his audiences. He takes the complex concepts of technology and delivers practical content that can be put to use right away.

4.  Financials Out of Control- How are you handling the risks and challenges of being a business owner?  Debbie Wright, Risk Management Expert is showing her audiences facts and workable game plans that will meet their business challenges and risks they face; and win!

Tackling these 4 areas are key to you having a great rest of your business year! Ready to start your “Spring Cleaning” not only in your home, but also in your business?  We would love to help you!

Sue Falcone

Sue Falcone




The Secrets of Managing Your Time as an Entrepreneur: from the Experts!

wowEntrepreneurs around the world are seeking answers on how to handle a major issue: how to have the time to do what they love; and also have a personal life! I recently was asked this question at a conference I attended, and knew this needed to be addressed in more detail by the experts!

I sought out some of our speakers, trainers, presenters, entertainers, coaches, and authors, that are represented here at “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency. They are successful entrepreneurs and business owners with very different fields of expertise and business models; but I knew they had learned secrets along their journey that hopefully they would be willing to share! And share they did!

We each have the same amount of time: 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week, and normally 8,760 hours a year. In making a choice to have your own business instead of working for someone else, one clear thread ran through all the experts’ comments: you need to have a positive entrepreneurial mindset, and create a plan that allows you the freedom to have a blended and balanced lifestyle. Your success is not based on how many hours you spend at working, but rather having a plan that allows you the freedom to choose what is most important and how you spend the hours to accomplish your plan.

Award-winning Global Entrepreneurship Speaker and Professor Gary Palin shares this:
“Balance is key! Take the time to have a family walk, including your dog, every day.”

Professor Palin speaks and trains all the right ways to operate your business plan for success, but he knows you must intentionally take the time daily to spend with your family and, in his case, the awesome dog- Spirit, a Rhodesian Ridgeback.  He is an ‘in-demand’ global speaker on all areas of Entrepreneurship, and when he travels Spirit misses him I am sure.

Kelly Swanson, motivational speaker, comedian, award-winning storyteller, and the author of “Who Hijacked My Fairy Tale?” shared in her business she has to have:
1.   A clearly defined business plan for the year with areas of top priority and focus.
2.  Be able to turn that plan into daily/weekly/monthly action steps based on priority and deadlines.
3.  Whenever something comes across your desk/email ask yourself: is this a priority and does it have to be done now?
4.  Daily ask yourself: what is best use of my time today? Stick to it.
5.  Learn to say NO to things that distract you from your top priorities.

Kelly is a Wife and Mom of an 11 year old son, and her business is a “family” business. She lives what she shares and has fun doing it all! She is an excellent blogger, and author, and is a sought after keynote speaker for events across the country.

Barbara Hemphill-known as the “Paper Tiger Lady” offers these tips: “I spend the first hour of everyday in quiet time reminding myself of the “why” for my business. What is it that is important enough to accomplish in my life that makes me willing to do the three most important things in my business today to be profitable?”

Barbara is an internationally recognized Organization and Productivity Expert, Speaker and Author. Her recent book Less Clutter More Life is to help people “accomplish their work and enjoy their lives” by not only handling the paper and digital clutter, but also addressing the emotional and spiritual clutter.  She is a sought after speaker who travels across the country sharing a practical message of change.

Can you see from these successful Entrepreneurs some ways that you could change what you are doing now concerning having enough time to do it all? I want to always be a “long-life learner” and I learned some things here that I am beginning right now!

Hope you will come back next week, as we share some more time management tips from the experts who are successful at making it happen! Are you looking for a speaker for your upcoming event? Save time, stress, and money by taking a look at our speakers found here at www.simplysuespeaks.com 

Sue Falcone

Sue Falcone




Is Hope and Humor a Part of Your Business?

funfridayMany say hope and humor are those things that we don’t need to learn more about; and certainly not something you should pay to hear and learn about!

I consider myself a hopeful and fun person, but how did I get that attitude, and how can I keep it going in the world we now live in?  Many are learning that those who have applied hope and humor in their lives: live longer, have better relationships, are healthier, and have better results in their work and companies they own.

What key things do we need to put into our minds and daily living that will keep us hopeful and having fun? Dale Carnegie said: “People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” Oh, “WOW” that means we should have fun at work?  I know someone you will want to have as your next speaker who will help you do just that!

Award-winning Kelly Swanson travels the country bringing a powerful message and is “outrageously” Funny! Businesses and the lives of people are being changed! Some of her topics include: “6 Secrets to Connecting with People-that Help you Sell, Lead, and Impact Better”, “Help You Move from Creating Lists, to Creating Habits and Attitudes, which are More Valuable than Lists”, “Help You from Where You are Stuck, to Where You Want to Be.”  Kelly can also custom design topics you have in mind. To book Kelly for your upcoming event contact us here at www.simplysuespeaks.com/contact or email me at sue@simplysuespeaks.com.

Have a great fun week!


“Simply” Sue Falcone
Owner: “Simply” Sue Speaks! Global Booking Agency




It’s Motivational Monday with Kelly Swanson

Sign Up For My 30 Days To A Happier Ever After


Kelly Swanson’s Wild and Wacky Journey to a Happier Ever After

What’s it all about? Let me tell you…

So How Did It Happen?

Well, like most things in this business of being a motivational speaker, I didn’t go after it, it came after me. I was just out there doing my thing -encouraging the world and making people laugh – and doing everything I can to let people know I’m here.

And I get an email from the founder of Placebo Effect. I’ll explain what that is in a minute.

But the point is that he wanted me to put together a thirty-day program to help people bring happiness back into their lives. And the beautiful thing is that he was going to let me do it MY WAY.  (My two favorite words.)

I was hesitant at first, and Barb (my inner critic) told me I didn’t have time, it probably wouldn’t make me any money, and that perhaps this guy was all fluff.

bulgeswomanBut I had this feeling.

Not in my head – but in my heart.

I had this feeling that even if this didn’t “pay off” – I would be helping people do what I was called to do – find happiness.

And I just don’t believe you can put a price tag on giving people hope.

So I said yes.

It took a tremendous amount of work, fast deadlines, and jumping into a pool that I had never swam in before, and I’m not sure I was wearing the right bathing suit.

But I’m no stranger to change, and I know this is exactly what it feels like when you come out of your comfort zone.

There are no guarantees and no road maps. You just feel your way – one day at a time.

What Is The Placebo Effect? How can Placebos possibly do anything for … me?

When I first heard of it, I said “Placebo Effect” what in the heck is that?  Well, to borrow their words, here is what it is…

Researchers at Harvard and other prestigious universities discovered that people don’t have to be deceived to experience a placebo effect… nor do they need to take little sugar pills. Instead, the placebo effect requires just three ingredients to help people feel happier, focus better, lose more weight, heal faster, and so on.

• Positive Belief
• Social Support
• Daily Rituals

The Placebo Challenge

We’ve worked with researchers at UCSD, Harvard, and top institutes to develop a simple formula for success:

Step 1: Choose a Prescription

We offer four 30-day prescriptions in which to harness the placebo effect:

Happiness, Focus, Life Purpose, or Weight loss.

Step 2: Watch a Daily Placebo

For 30 days, watch daily ONE MINUTE insightful videos that inspire you to achieve your goal- we call them PLACEBOS.

Step 3: Share Your Progress

Each day, after watching a Placebo, share one thing you will do to accomplish your goal.

Your Reward: Scroll to See the Numbers!

A report of your progress is always available. If you’re like most people, after thirty days of Placebos, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

What Is Kelly’s Wild And Wacky Journey All About?

You will read more about it when I direct you to the Placebo website. But basically it’s a thirty-day series of two minute videos – created by me – funny and motivating and inspiring – with assignments at the end of each one. Each morning (or whenever you feel like it) you open up the day’s prescription (which was sent to your email) and take your dose.

And when you sign up, you are now part of my happiness community, where you can meet other subscribers and talk with me about your progress.

Sign Up NOW Before The Price Goes UP!

So there you go.  This is the official launch of my 30-day program. And here’s the really cool thing. Listen up close..


Once the offer ends, the price of the program will go up.

What is happiness worth to you?
Isn’t it time to get your life back?

How To Sign UP:

Here’s the link to go sign up. Don’t wait…..people have already started subscribing.  Once you get to the site (www.placeboeffect.com) be sure to find my prescription under “Happiness.”

Just look for this picture or click the link below for all the details:

I’m excited to share this journey with you. You deserve to be happy.


To have Kelly at your next event contact Sue Falcone at 888-766-3155 or email sue@simplysuespeaks.com

It’s Motivational Monday with Kelly Swanson

It’s Not About Who Is The Best Motivational Speaker!


Mirror Mirror On The Wall – Who’s The Best Motivational Speaker Of Them All?

Every once in a while I hear that question posed on Facebook – “Who’s the best speaker out there?” And I always grit my teeth because the question just doesn’t make sense. That’s like asking who is the best singer – or the best actor – or the best guitar player – or the best painter.  Speakers, like artists, are going to appeal to the people they appeal to most.

It’s not about whether you are the best, it’s about whether you are the best fit for that audience.

This will sound like I’m bragging (sorry) but I get standing ovations all the time. I get high evaluations all the time. I get booked all the time and I get asked back all the time.

Does that mean I’m the best? No. Not even close. It means I’m very good at what I do, and I’m in front of the right crowd for me.

That’s not always the case. I did a group of sanitation workers in a small town out west. It was awful. They hated it. From the moment they walked in, I knew I was in trouble. I did my best stuff – stuff that had killed over and over. I gave it everything I had. And they still hated it. “Don’t have her back,” someone put on their evaluation.

Does that mean my ranking on the “Who’s The Best Speaker” list went down? No. It means I was the wrong fit. Period. To them, I wasn’t the best – and was quite possibly the worst. To the group I did last week, I was the best they had ever seen. Different group, different likes, different needs. For them, I fit like a glove.

So stop worrying about whether you’re the best in this business, and focus on being the best fit.

Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by “Our State Magazine” as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.


It’s Motivational Monday with Kelly Swanson

When Hecklers Say You Suck


Funny Motivational Speaker Heads To The Land of Hecklers

I have a love/hate relationship with YouTube. I love the traffic it brings me. And I hate the traffic it brings me. Because some of that traffic is vicious. Yesterday it happened again. I got one of those comments.

It was a comment on my story about the woman with a mop. A comment from Dong Destroyer.

Dong Destroyer said it was a fake story, that I was scamming for Jesus, and then called me a name I’d rather not repeat.

My first thought was, “Mom?”

Last year this comment would have crippled me. Last year I would have carried this comment around in my head for weeks. Last year I would have called all my friends to see if they thought it was true. Last year I would have talked about this nonstop to my husband, waking him up in the middle of the night so he can remind me that I don’t suck.

But that was last year. Today – I laughed. And I actually felt a little sorry for Dong Destroyer and his obvious bitterness over the actions of a stranger.

Today I don’t care what Dong says. Because it’s not a fake story, it is a true story. And even if it had been a fake story, I still wouldn’t mind. I’m a writer. I write fake stories. Get over it. (Except for this one. This one is true. You just can’t make up somebody likeDong Destroyer.)

The story never even brought up Jesus unless Dong thought I was implying that the holy of holies wears a hair net. In fact, I didn’t even know it was about Jesus. And if it was, I would have been even prouder. I’m a big fan of Jesus.

And scamming? What’s that all about? I’m not sure you could call my YouTube video a scam, especially since I wasn’t selling anything. I think scams are when you sell something and don’t deliver on what you promise. Right? This was a YouTube video, so I’m pretty sure it delivered the same thing 1 million other YouTube videos deliver, which, if you’ve seen the big hairy guy skiing naked, isn’t much.

So I did what I do with all of my feedback. I read it. As hard as it is to do, I listen to the feedback. Then I determine whether there is anything valid I can learn from it. Then I consider the source. (A.k.a. Dong Destroyer) And then I let it go.

This fits right into my theory that life isn’t about what happens to you, but about the story you write with what happened to you.  Feedback happens. I can’t control whatDong says.  That is the part that happened to me. But in the moment following, I get to write the story of how this feedback will affect me. How much control will I give this heckler?

I can write a story that says I suck. I can write a story that says everybody feels likeDong does. I can write a story that says if somebody doesn’t like what I do then I should quit. I can write a story that says I am sad, disappointed, and rejected all over again. I can write a story that says I am stupid.

Or, I can write a different story. And today I did.  I wrote a story that says this is just one person’s opinion. I wrote a story that says I still love the woman with a mop and I’m going to keep telling it whenever I can. I wrote a story that says Dong is an idiot.  (Well, that story pretty much wrote itself.) I wrote a story that says I don’t need to get him back. He’s not worth it. Let it go.

Today, I laugh in the face of criticism. I laugh in the face of my heckler.

When you can laugh at your heckler, you take away his power over you.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Take that Dong Destroyer.

What about you? Are you carrying around a story that needs to be rewritten?

(PS. To paraphrase my buddy JC – to some we will be a foul stench, and to others a sweet rose.)

Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by “Our State Magazine” as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.

It’s Motivation Monday with Kelly Swanson

They Aren’t The Reason You Are Miserable

grouchyBeing a motivational speaker feels a lot like being a therapist, only without the degree, knowledge, or credibility. But still I meet people in their places of brokenness. I hear their issues and concerns. And I try to motivate them to see their problems/issues from a different perspective. And one of the consistent things I find in people, is the belief that their problem is someone else.

My boss is  jerk.

They didn’t value my opinion.

He didn’t call.

She’s always running her mouth about something.

He drives me crazy.

She thinks I don’t have anything else to do but wait on her.

They didn’t pay me what I’m worth.

He’s an ungrateful teenager and I’m sick of it.

She thinks she’s better than everybody else.

They didn’t give me my money’s worth.

She just has it out for me.

Nobody will cut me any slack.

Sound familiar?

We all find ourselves victim to this sort of thinking. We don’t live in a bubble. Our lives are filled with people, and many of them are difficult to deal with.  And while we are often valid in our assessment of these people, it doesn’t change the truth – that we can’t fix them, change them, or find perfect people who act exactly as we want.

And they aren’t the problem.

We are.

Yes, I said it. And you’re probably mad. But it’s true.

They aren’t the reason you are miserable.

YOU are.

Life is filled with things circling us that are beyond our control – things happening to us – around us. Things that involve us directly, indirectly, or not really at all.  So much of what is circling around us can’t be controlled. Sure, some of it can be, and we should definitely work to control what we can in our lives. But the only thing you can control in EVERY situation, is how YOU will react to it.

YOU control your reaction.

YOU control your feelings. Well, maybe at first you  can’t control your initial reaction. But after you calm down, you can.

YOU decide what story you are going to write with this data you have been given, even if you are standing in the middle of the colossal mess. YOU still control whether you will allow it to make you miserable.

Unless you have a chemical imbalance, or issues bigger than you (in which case, this does not really apply to you, except that it is YOUR responsibility to get help for it and not use it as an excuse) you can control your reactions, your emotions, and your happiness. Yes, it’s a choice.

YOU are the one who turns one bad moment into a bad hour, and then a bad day, and a bad week, and a bad life. You are the one who instead of letting it go, carries it around with you like a comfort blanket – finding more people to share your issue with – making it the focus of all your time, energy, and conversations.

So, unless you want to stay miserable (which apparently some people do – and actually thrive on it) that’s your choice. Just acknowledge that it’s your fault, not theirs. They aren’t the reason you are miserable. You are.

You can choose happiness. And if you do it enough, one day you’ll wake up, and it just is.

If we let others make us miserable, we always will be.

Kelly SwansonKELLY SWANSON is an award-winning storyteller, comedian, author, motivational speaker. She has been described by “Our State Magazine” as one of North Carolina’s funniest women. She uses hilarious comedy, powerful stories, and a wacky cast of southern characters to make people laugh, remind them of their value, and show them how to stand up and stick out in their lives, businesses, and communities. Her shows have delighted audiences from coast to coast, from board rooms to cruise ships. To invite Kelly to your 2014 event, contact Sue Falcone at sue@simplysuespeaks.com or call 1-888-766-3155.