Choose An Audience:

Welcome to High School

We created this video to highlight the challenges facing young people entering high school—and encourage them to take responsibility for their own actions. It encapsulates many of the presentations that Mike has made over the years. The concepts Mike talks about in this video are expanded upon in his keynote of the same name.

Be What You Want to See


Mike works with the hosts of the event to build this experience from the subjects covered in the chapters of his book by the same name.   

A great deal of life’s experiences are simply repetitions of a few basic skills, talents, and processes. While a study of positive thinking provides many a technique for handling the attitude part of life’s challenges and innate talent and hard work often provides abilities to accomplish certain things, when it comes to working with others, it is the understanding of process that has helped move experienced people comfortably through the situations many others have found difficult. The process used to run a Cub Scout meeting is the same to conduct a stockholders meeting. Fundraising for a worthy charity uses the same process as fundraising for a social club.  Directing employees uses the same processes as effectively directing volunteers and so on.Mike helps create your experience based on these processes and includes the appropriate checklists as handouts to help reinforce their presence long after the conference.

Words Matter


The words you choose to say to others and how you say them is important. But the words you choose to say to yourself are the essential building blocks of your future.  Ancient wisdom suggests the path to destiny is a sequence beginning with personal thoughts.  In the 20th century someone declared that the greatest human discovery was the fact that we can each control our personal internal conversation and change our outcomes.  Mike wrote this rhyme to capture those thoughts:

The WORDS I often THINK and use

and they decide that that is ME,
and that is all THEY’LL LET ME BE
so thus is built MY DESTINY. 

Words matter! Choose your thoughts well.

This presentation is explores the words we commonly use when talking to ourselves and others.  It offers alternatives for improving self-image while improving communications skills and enhancing the work environment. It includes support materials to be used to spread the message throughout your organization. Let Mike help you improve the collaborative atmosphere of your organization.

Be What You Want to See

An interactive guide to the challenges and checklists for working collaboratively

For student groups of up to 150. Can last from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on the desired outcome.
This is a great follow-up activity for selected students after the assembly and/or as standalone workshop for exploring the basics of collaboration, management and leadership to help engage the student body in proactive and positive participation. Usually these sessions include a few of the following: Listening Effectively, Group Goal Setting, Working With People, Directing Supportively, Recruiting Skills, Adding Value To Any Activity, Working At An Event, Evaluating Experience and Saying Thank You. These topics are covered in Mike’s book by the same title and handouts including recaps and checklists for each of these sections will be provided.

Living Your Life on Purpose

An adventure exploring what we have in common

This is a large group experience, often an entire student body.
The activity begins with Mike’s introduction and proceeds with him offering the young audience a choice: “Do you want a speech or an experience?” The answer is usually overwhelmingly:  an EXPERIENCE. That triggers his change from speaker to facilitator. It begins with fast talking and a lot of group interaction. Their decision for an experience is the reason they then must explore who they are and what they can do together.   From there they spend time exploring what they have in common—people Mike’s age with people their age and what they know they know and a few things they might not know just yet.  The lessons often explored in this adventure range from the self-talk and choices, how they work, to the role attitude and self-awareness plays in everyone’s life.  Mike can tie in any message or theme the school needs or wants included. It ends up discovering what power each one has to build who they are and who they want to become. Realizing that the presentation is only a small part of capturing the message, the hosts are provided with suggested questions to continue the experience in smaller group interactions.

What Difference Do I Make?


Many candidates for  Leadership positions work to earn the “title”  and benefits—and end up with a “responsibility” they are not be prepared to for. Too often leadership is viewed as a task-oriented opportunity judged by how well an event or collection of activities is executed. The true test of a leader, according to President John F. Kennedy, is to lead people. This presentation focuses on the responsibility leaders have to engage and grow those they lead.

This definition of Leadership is explored, along with the basic tools for helping others get involved. The presentation finally embraces the lead question, “How do I make a difference?”

What Do I Want To See Here (and how do I promote it)?


Today we are redefining our roles in this culture and we need to be looking at them through eyes focused on our responsibilities and working toward a cooperative experience to create the outcomes we want to see. In this presentation, Mike works with the audience to discover their tools of self-actualization—self-talk, habit formation, attitude adjustment and collaboration. From the first action-packed moment to the last “oh, yes!” the audience is engaged and encouraged to work together. The foundation of everyone’s success is accepting responsibility for the collective outcomes. Explore the tools for making that happen.


30 Minutes After School


Mike is often asked to do “something” for and with the faculty after school for only about 30 minutes. Most of them have already seen Mike work with the entire student body in an all-school assembly setting. When that’s the case, Mike takes the time to revisit the reasons most of us decided to engage young people in an educational setting. He quickly reviews the statistics on dropouts and the “unintended consequences” of our desire to give our students an education. Mike prefers more time to make the case, but he has often found these short wrap-ups to be very effective.

One-Hour In-Service


When Mike is talking with teachers and staff and he only has an hour, he wants to connect on several levels—personally, professionally and passionately. He is genuine and shares openly. Mike knows they’re concerned whether he knows anything at all worth sharing, and whether he can communicate with them in an effective enough way for them to grab what they want and share it with others. That is the passion exchange. Education, unlike any other profession, is driven by passion for making a difference in the lives of others. Mike’s presentations to educators are about revisiting those things that inspired them to get involved in education in the first place.

Two-Plus Hours In-Service


When Mike is given two or more hours, he likes to help blend the individuals into a team working toward shared goals. Too often education communities are operating in “survival mode.” Each component of the community works to secure their own area with little or no interaction with the components working around them. On too many campuses, each department or area of responsibility seems to function independent of any interaction with others, thereby missing the opportunity to utilize each other’s strengths to better serve the entire community. By working through icebreakers and team building exercises, everyone develops a more “inclusive” approach to the challenges that face the community. This experience not only improves the relationships of the faculty, staff and involved parents; it also provides those participants a well-rounded review of the process and provides them with tools to use in their educational settings to improve the personal interaction of their students. This is a “win-win-win.”

The Art of Teaching


I believe we cannot give a student an education… but we can help them decide to want one. While science, best case practices, specific goals, and strategies are necessary parts of successful teaching, “human” interaction is vital to achieving success. The Art of Teaching takes the necessary and blends it with the vital to expose the secrets of great teaching we all know but that sometimes get buried. Teaching is a difficult and draining profession and revisiting the self-talk, self-respect, and self-realization of the profession can reinforce the effectiveness of the moments of interaction.  Students need to find in those teachers who invest themselves in the success of their students. “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Caring has specific actions and looks. The results and benefits of caring are immeasurable. Let’s revisit what we know about people and motivation, and find ways to reach even the most difficult students.

The Three P’s of Teaching


Preparation. Performance. Passion. The preparation part of this presentation seems obvious—a credential for teachers and training certificates for certified staff. But the real preparation comes from life and life skills because we are teaching life, and it’s good to reflect on that. The performance takes many forms and is usually not about “performing” as in acting or speaking. No, this performance is usually about using all your knowledge and skills to find what works for each student you face. It is a thankless job done alone because when you perform, it is always done through your students. Finally, passion. Without it, nothing happens. With it, the world changes. Where does it come from? Where does it go? And how do we get it back? Those are the final questions to be answered; Mike and his audience look for the answers them together.

Unintended Consequences


Realizing that words matter, we should never say, “We are going to give our children an education.” That implies that they do not have to do anything.  It robs them of the responsibility for their own education.  We cannot give anyone something they do not want. The good news is that  we cannot keep them from getting the one they do want. Motivation is the key! Mike and his audience review what the actions and process that can help them want to choose to get an education. The most powerful tool available for empowerment is other students. Building a school community in an inclusive atmosphere is the key to engaging even the most reluctant students. By focusing on the words and the individual’s personal responsibility, we can help them choose to succeed.

When X = Student Activities, Performance Follows!


Mike has worked with the Alliance for Student Activities—who created an engaging presentation that pulls together the most current research, dialogue and thinking about the impact of co-curricular activities on student performance. The evidence is overwhelming and quite compelling. Student activities and athletics are the missing variable in too many educational reform equations. Whatever your desired educational, social or emotional outcome, student engagement is the common denominator that drives student performance. Participation in school activities increases students’ standardized test scores, GPAs, graduation rates, college acceptance rates and college success rates. It practically eliminates the likelihood that a student will choose to drop out of high school. Inclusion in activities develop core social and emotional skills while reducing high-risk behavioral problems and long-term public assistance needs. The community needs to understand this. Open houses and family seminars are the key. Mike can help.