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Interview with Ed Brodow

Learn more about Ed Brodow who talks about his use of humor, optimism and his negotiation skills. Read more below.

What is the message you hope people take away from your presentations?

My Life Balance keynotes reassure the audience that they can enjoy their own personal version of success, which is no small accomplishment in our complex world. And I emphasize the word “enjoy” because that ought to be the goal of success, as opposed to reaching for external goals such as wealth, fame, or power. Success is really an inner state of mind and will be different for each of us. My Optimism keynotes inspire the audience to create a positive state of being in which all things are possible. My Negotiation keynotes, however, are not about hope. They are about empowering the audience to get their needs met in business and in life. People need permission to say “This is what I need” from this job, this contract, this relationship.


How are your keynotes unique?

I bring together the three crucial elements of a powerful keynote. First is content. My keynotes are loaded with important information that can help people to survive on this planet. Second is platform skills. In this area I am unique because of my background as a film and theater actor, which enables me to engage my audiences with urgency and intimacy. Third is relevance. Each of my presentations is thoroughly customized to address the needs of the audience.


Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?

My hero is the late Joseph Campbell, a philosopher whose ideas about how to live are closely in sync with my own. He spoke about “finding your bliss,” a magnificent concept that has guided my career and life. Campbell, an expert on comparative mythology, also inspired me as a writer of fiction. He understood the generic concepts of story. George Lucas borrowed Campbell’s concept of the “hero” in the Star Wars movies.


Are negotiation skills in any way more important during this time of crisis?

They are more important than ever before. Of particular urgency is making good use of what we now call “win-win” negotiation, a simple concept that can take us from confrontation to collaboration. In the past, if you and I disagreed about something we argued and fought over it. A better approach is to treat each other as partners and work together to find a mutually acceptable solution.


Why do you stress optimism as a crucial factor for success?

Experience has impressed upon me that in order to succeed at anything, you have to approach the task at hand with optimism. When you expect to succeed, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The opposite is also true. If you expect failure, that is what you will get. Yet this simple philosophy is often ignored to people’s detriment. I stress the five pillars of optimism: aiming high, maintaining Negotiation Consciousness, exuding the Confidence Mystique, carrying on an affectionate inner dialogue, and being willing to walk away if you don’t get what you want.


How does humor play a part in your keynote presentations?

I have always been a strong proponent of humor, regardless of the gravity of the situation. Humor allows us to step back and reevaluate ourselves. In a keynote, I enjoy keeping my audience slightly off-balance and one way I accomplish that is by injecting humor at unexpected times. The audience will always take away more from my presentation when they participate in the humorous aspects of my subject.


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