Keynotes and Speaking


Are you tired of boring information downloads or “cotton-candy” motivational speakers who entertain but offer nothing that connects to your real work world? Engage your team in an interactive conversation that’s fun AND offers tools you can take home or to work and use immediately.

Changing how you think … and feel and behave!

Jim speaking-gestures
I promise to challenge your thinking!

I’m Jim Smith, and I’m the speaker you’ve been searching for!  I’m known for sharing life-, career-, and company-changing stories, and engaging audiences in activities that leave participants thinking and behaving in new ways.

In The Before Times (and since 1999), I have spoken with hundreds of enthusiastic audiences on three continents, many times to standing-room-only crowds. Since the Pandemic began I’ve expanded to five  continents via the magic of Zoom. My programs and keynote presentations on Leadership, Mindset, Happiness, and Coaching consistently earn gushing feedback from corporate types, entrepreneurs, and professional association members.

Whether on-ground or online, your participants will thank you for introducing them to Jim.

Review this list of customizable topics. I’m happy to discuss a new idea with you, too!

Scroll down for links to video demos.

Happiness and Positive Emotional Practices

Happiness @TheSpeedofLife: Five Prescriptions for Living and Leading in a VUCA Pandemic World

The idea of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) is decades old, but we’re now immersed in a living VUCA laboratory! This talk will provide you foundational principles for living and leading a happier, more balanced life in a world gone crazy! You will leave with five specific actions you can practice to improve the strength of your “positive emotional muscles” and increase your experience of happiness in life and work.

You will also learn how much control you really have over your attitude, even in the worst of times. Why is this important to you? Hey, happier people make better partners, parents, and friends, as well as better leaders and team members. It starts with you!

Duration: 30 to 75 minutes

Happiness, Stress, and the Quest for Wellness

Whether you are concerned about your personal health or the health of your organization’s bottom line, you need to know what Jim has to share in this important talk.

Most of the headlines about Wellness focus on the physical practices you “should” follow. Yet there is so much more to Wellness. Imagine the power of using your whole self – head, heart, AND body – to create outcomes that are more positive for you and everyone around you.

In this interactive talk, you will learn how to better manage the emotional space you bring to your roles as a leader, co-worker, parent, or partner – through how you use language, body, and breath. You will walk away with tools you can share with everyone in your world.

Participants in this program will:

  • Review the important difference between the Sickness model we use versus the Wellness model to which we aspire
  • Learn the Big Four Drivers of chronic disease and healthcare cost, and how to leverage our Emotional self to cultivate overall Wellness in those four areas
  • Understand and use the mind-body connectionboth for personal change and to change the mood of a conversation or relationship
  • Practice several somatic skills to embody a more positive attitude and actively reduce stress

Duration: 30 to 75 minutes

Change You, Change Your World(view)

The Talmud reminds us that, “we do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.” Depending on where you spend the most time on your personal Web of Emotions, the world is a happy, sad, angry, or scary place. Did you know you have the power to Change that world?

Join Jim Smith, The Executive Happiness Coach®, as he engages our body, mind, and heart in the practice of intentional happiness.Learn how to leverage the power of your Five Centers to shift your own (and others’) mood to help build a more positive world and workplace. You will leave with specific actions you can practice to improve the strength of your “positive emotional muscles,” plus a Somatic tool that is breathtakingly simple – and always transformative!

Duration: 60 to 90 minutes

Building a Positive Culture: Why Happiness Matters

In this interactive program you will learn how to bring the science of Happiness and Positive Psychology into the workplace to help leaders create organizations that respect and engage people while also delivering great results.

In addition to understanding the financial impact of Positive in the workplace and how fostering happiness in your employees can improve your bottom line, you will learn several simple – yet powerful – personal practices to embody positive leadership and change your presence in the workplace.

Note: This talk is popular with accountants and finance professionals, as well as engineers. Why? We make the connection to the bottom line.  

Duration: 50 to 90 minute sessions.

Leadership and Culture

Seven Critical Mistakes That Stop Good Leaders from Becoming Great

So, you’re in an excellent business, and you’re surrounded by a great group of people who get the work done and serve customers well. As the company grows, you take good employees and promote them into management positions. Some of these grow into fabulous leaders, while others… not so much. What keeps good managers from becoming great leaders? Old habits and a lack of awareness of the new skills needed for success in the new role.

Join Jim Smith, The Executive Happiness Coach®, as he shares from his four decades of leadership work some of the biggest mistakes that business leaders make – and how to overcome those so they can better motivate and inspire their employees. Learn what you can do to help yourself and to coach your leadership team to improve communication, build loyalty, and increase trust in your organization so people want to come to work for you – and stay.

Participants in this session will:

  • Learn seven critical communication and leadership mistakes, e.g. Living in Constant Crisis, Listening without Hearing, etc.
  • Identify which of the mistakes show up in their own organization, and how to track such behavior to the bottom line via impact on productivity, quality of work, employee/customer satisfaction, and retention
  • Understand the skills-based solutions to these critical mistakes, and study examples of how they can take those skills back into their own organizations to improve outcomes

Duration: Keynote 45-90 minutes

Seven Leadership Essentials: Core Competencies and Learning for Leaders Who Want to Succeed in Tomorrow’s World

What skills do tomorrow’s leaders need?
How should you go about developing those skills?
What are the “secrets” to being successful as a leader?

These are critical questions, especially for organizations trying to develop leaders across the spectrum to be successful in a VUCA-Generalist world.

While many leaders think their organization or industry is “special” and different, the reality is that core skills work equally well across ALL organizations and cultures. The skills are not hard, they are just ignored most of the time! If you want to grow and succeed at the next level, you must give attention to these Seven Universal Leadership Competencies.

Jim Smith has been coaching leaders for over 30 years, across multiple industries, professions, cultures, countries, and levels, in addition to his own executive career across three industries and seven functions. He has distilled his wisdom on leadership learning into this important presentation that you MUST attend if you are serious about growing as a leader.

Participants in this program will:

  • Learn the Seven Universal Leadership Competencies that show up across all industries and professions
  • Understand the importance of balancing technical, general, and interpersonal development, and why you need to focus on developing their leadership skills independent of their functional expertise
  • Pick up a few “leadership hacks” for growing yourself and the people in your downstream
  • Take away tips for personal development in the leadership sphere

Duration: 60-90 minutes

Leadership @TheSpeedofLife: A Hands-on Clinic for Leaders

Leaders have it tough. As drivers of workplace effectiveness they must continually push for change and help others cope with the stress of it; while as human beings they must also deal with the personal stress that change creates. In this fast-paced working session we will examine several tools leaders can adopt to help themselves and their teams operate at peak levels in a turbulent world, including:

  • Creating a personalized Balance Sheet
  • Being “Intolerant”
  • Letting Go
  • Employing the Rules for Effective Conversation, and
  • Using their Power To Choose (Attitude!)

Life’s fast. Be ready for it.

Duration: 45-90 minutes, more with additional exercises


Trust Is A Verb: What you can do, shouldn’t do, and must do to engage the people in your organization

Consider what is on the “issues” list for many leaders: building teams, improving communication, leadership development, diversity, hiring, retention. Every one of these issues succeeds more or less to the degree there is trust – trust in the process, in the people, in the leaders, in the organization. No matter how good the “best practice” you employ to accomplish your goals, your impact will be diminished without a solid foundation of trust. Meanwhile, LACK of trust is a leading factor in turnover and disengagement. Too many leaders dismiss trust as unimportant – ‘it’s an emotion,’ they say; ‘and this is business…’

What is this elusive thing, Trust? In this session we will explore:

  • The four dimensions of Trust
  • Definitions and Types of Trust
  • Why Trust is critical for organizations
  • Trust as an emotion – and as an action
  • Common Practices that destroy Trust
  • Why giving it is more important than receiving it
  • Actions leaders can take to build Trust

Duration: 60 to 90 minutes; – also up to half-day hands-on workshop.

Personal Coaching: What it is. How it works. Why you want it.

Let’s get personal here: have you ever thought about hiring a professional coach for yourself or a key leader in your organization, but hesitated because you didn’t understand the process? We’ll explore how coaching looks and “feels” in real-life, how coaching can serve both the individual and the organization, how to measure effectiveness, how to use coaching within your OD budget, and how to find and select the right coach for the job.

Duration: 45 to 60 minutes

Want to see me in action? A couple of demos

Happiness, Leadership & Coaching, Oh My! This 2022 speaker demo pulls from multiple talks over several years AND includes clips from pandemic-era virtual keynotes using Prezi in Zoom. Enjoy!

Fast & Furious. This second one is older, but I include it for the opportunity for you to see an ENTIRE talk instead of just snippets. I was challenged to deliver a “disruptive” talk in the Pecha Kucha format: 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. It’s insane and irreverent (which was the nature of the event)! You’ll experience my energy as a speaker. (You’ll be taken to the DisruptHR site)

Jim with microphone

14 Reasons You Don’t Need Self-Improvement. Here’s the full content of a short talk at a Bliss event. You’ll take a quiz and think about why change is so hard. The lighting was awful, but the sound quality is great. Go!

Contact me!

I look forward to energizing your business audience.