Michael Kerr

Innovation, Leadership and Humor and Workplace Culture Expert

Certified Speaking Professional and Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame inductee Michael Kerr is an international business speaker, very funny motivational speaker, workshop trainer, and the author of 8 books including, The Jerk-Free Workplace: How You Can Take The Lead to Create a Happier, More Inspiring Workplace; The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank; and Hire, Inspire, and Fuel Their Fire: How to Recruit, Onboard, and Train New Employees to Live Your Culture Out Loud. Whether virtual or in-person, Michael’s presentations offer relevant, practical ideas delivered with his memorable brand of high-energy, clean humour. “Inspiring,” “hilarious,” “energizing,” “brilliant ideas,” and “relevant and timely content,” are phrases clients repeatedly use to describe his powerful presentations.

Michael Kerr’’s ideas on building inspiring workplaces have been featured in hundreds of publications worldwide, including Forbes, Fast Company and Business Insider, while his Inspiring Workplaces blog has been listed as one of the top-30 workplace blogs in the world. Michael Kerr travels the world researching, writing, and speaking about inspiring workplace cultures, inspiring leaders, and businesses that leverage their humor resources to drive outrageous results for their employees and their customers.

He is known as one of North America’s leading speakers on creating high-performing, service-first cultures. His high energy, hilarious, inspiring, and thought-provoking programs are often rated as having the greatest impact and relevance of any presentation at a conference, which is why Michael has been listed as one of Canada’s most requested business speakers. Michael Kerr has delivered his captivating keynote presentations and training workshops to more than 3,000 audiences, from Texas to Toronto, from Austria to Australia. His presentations offer relevant, practical ideas delivered with his memorable brand of clean humor. “Inspiring,” “hilarious,” “energizing,” “fabulous ideas,” and “incredibly relevant and timely content,” are phrases clients repeatedly use to describe the impact of his presentations.

Topic Presentations

Highly successful organizations understand that humour in the workplace both reflects a strong culture and creates a less stressful, more innovative work environment with higher levels of employee engagement, retention, and morale. As Michael will tell your audience, there is nothing trivial about this topic: humour helps people succeed at an individual, team, and organizational level. Humour is one of the most powerful stress-busters available, and it’s a resource that can boost morale, improve workplace communication, spark creative thinking, enhance customer service, and increase productivity.

Many of Michael’s clients choose this topic because its universal messages and clean humour make it a great kickoff or closing experience. And because it’s different than what many people have seen before, it’s a great way to shake things up at your meeting, energize people, and create a truly memorable event! Michael aims to deliver as much relevant, practical content and inspiring ideas as possible, but in a fun (sometimes even hilariously outrageous) way so the ideas stick! The presentation includes door prizes (usually copies of one of Michael’s books), as well as digital resources and e-books for you to use as you see fit.

Key Messages in Putting Humour to Work for Less Stress and More Success:

  • Attitude rules: The two fundamental attitude choices people
    make every day at work

  • Building a culture that champions the role of attitude in success

  • The humour advantage: How humour can help drive individual,
    team, and organizational success and why there’s nothing trivial
    about humour, fun, and happiness in the workplace

  • The chicken-and-egg relationship between humour and success:
    How humour is both a tool FOR great success AND the product of
    greater success at work

  • Why honoring workplace values such as humour is the key
    to success

  • What humour at work is NOT about: No, it’s not about telling
    jokes, being funny, being unprofessional, or being the offi ce clown

  • What humour at work IS about: Practicing safe, professional
    humour that encourages people to take themselves lightly so they
    can work more effectively than ever

  • Flexing your funny bone: How accidental humour can boost your
    humour sense

  • Three effective Rs of putting humour to work to manage stress,
    change, and confl ict in the workplace

  • Why humour can lower absenteeism rates, promote a safer
    workplace, and be part of a successful workplace wellness program

  • The impact of your workplace culture on employee morale,
    engagement, and teamwork, and how humour can help create a
    culture of recognition and celebration

  • The importance of creating rituals and traditions in the workplace
    to build a strong culture

  • The humour advantage as a customer service tool: How humour
    can help brand your business and wow your clients by helping you
    stand out from the herd

  • Using humour to communicate more effectively: How humour
    helps build trust and relationships at work, helps your messages
    stand out, and turns your meetings into events that people actually
    look forward to!

  • Ha + Ha = AHA! Why humour is considered one of the top
    catalysts for creative thinking


Leadership guru Peter Drucker once said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” And for good reason: Workplace culture drives success, and successful organizations don’t leave their culture to chance. If you want phenomenal results, it starts by being intentional about building a great workplace culture. People don’t just want to be inspired at work, they need to be inspired at work.

Inspiring Workplaces is a fun, high-energy presentation that challenges conventional thinking about the workplace and reminds people of the vital role work plays in our lives. Because the presentation takes a holistic look at the workplace, Michael touches on many different topics, which means that everyone will find something that resonates with them. And because it’s the “40,000-foot view” of the workplace, the program will tie into almost any event theme.

Michael aims to deliver as much relevant, practical content and inspiring ideas on how to build a fun, positive, high-performing culture as possible, and deliver those ideas in a fun (sometimes even hilariously outrageous) way so the ideas stick! The presentation includes door prizes (usually copies of one of Michael’s books), as well as digital resources and e-books for you to use as you see fit. Why choose between content and fun when you can have both? Inspiring Workplaces offers practical, relevant ideas geared towards creating more inspiring, innovative, fun and successful workplaces, delivered in a humorous and memorable style.

You will laugh as you learn:

  • Choosing your workplace attitude before it chooses you

  • Why inspiring workplaces value their values and what it means to truly honour your workplace values

  • Dreaming of a better future: Why a compelling vision matters

  • Why (and how) inspiring workplaces put humour to work for great success

  • Creating an inspiring customer service mindset towards customer and employees

  • Inspiring creativity and innovation at work to manage change and prepare for the future

  • Inspiring communication in the workplace: The difference between efficient communication and truly effective communication

  • Inspiring employees: the top five motivating influences in any workplace

  • Thanks a lot! Creating a culture of celebrating, recognizing and rewarding

  • Guiding lights for creating more inspiring workplaces

Culture drive success. When I ask inspiring leaders from around the world what’s been more important to their success – business strategy or culture, 95% say it’s their culture. But great cultures don’t happen by accident. An inspiring culture requires a dedicated commitment by every leader in an organization. The Human Capital Institute suggests that 70% of a leaders’ time should be focussed on talent development and culture building – culture is just that important. So if you want an inspiring culture, there’s no getting around it – you need to invest in making that happen!

Why Invest in Inspiring Leadership Training?

  • Providing your leaders with the insights, inspiration and tools to focus intentionally on building an inspiring culture will help you:

  • Build a culture that delivers better bottom line business results

  • Foster a culture that will attract more employees who are a better fit for your organization

  • Improve your employee retention rates and reduce employee absenteeism rates

  • Build greater resiliency in the face of unexpected change

  • Build a culture where leaders and employees actively seek out change, challenge assumptions, and become restless with the status quo

  • Build a culture that thrives on ideas and turning ideas into action

  • Build a culture that puts people first and service first

  • Reduce silos and improve teamwork

  • Reduce stress and conflict in the workplace

  • Increase happiness levels of nearly everyone in your workplace (“nearly everyone” because, let’s be honest, no matter what you do, there’s just no pleasing some people)

What Participants Will Learn? With dozens of real-world, relevant examples, participants will learn:

  • Why culture is everything and everything is culture

  • 5 questions to keep asking about your culture

  • Leadership vs. manager-ship: What’s the difference and why does it matter?

  • How your culture connects with your branding

  • Recruiting and hiring: Why finding the right people is critical, hiring for attitude, and hiring for a culture fit

  • The on-boarding process: How to teach your culture to new employees

  • The role of mentoring, training, and coaching in building a strong culture

  • Being on purpose: Why “why” matters now more than ever and why your vision statement might be giving everyone a case of the “blahs”

  • Shifting attitudes: Shifting employees from a job mindset to a calling mindset

  • Valuing your values: How to communicate your values, celebrate your values, and make sure your values actually mean something

  • Motivating the troops: Why money isn’t always honey, what most organizations get dead wrong about this topic, and 5 powerful Ps for more effective motivation

  • Customer service is an inside job: Creating a “service-first” culture where everyone understands that some of their most important customers are sitting right next to them

  • Communication is everything and everything is communication: Shifting from being merely efficient to being truly effective with your communication

  • Getting your meetings right. How daily team huddles can strengthen your culture and why getting your meetings “right” is critical

  • How to drive more creativity and innovation: Building a culture that challenges assumptions, questions everything, creates a safe space for ideas, and turns passion and ideas into action

  • The humour advantage: Why leaders need to demonstrate a healthy sense of humour and how humour both drives and reflects an inspiring culture

  • Five effective ways to jumpstart a culture shift

Every one of Michael's client tells him they are grappling with unprecedented levels of change in their organization. To which he responds, “Welcome to the club!” Without question the pace of change is accelerating. You have three choices: Innovate and lead the change, adapt to the change that’s happening around you, or... settle for the status quo and eventually put a “FOR SALE” sign up on your business. But here’s the deal: Change isn’t something that happens periodically - you need to build it into your cultural DNA so your leaders and employees understand that change is a welcome, positive and necessary force in your organization. You need to equip them with tools that will help them be more resilient in the face of change. Because ideas are the currency of success that drive change forward it’s essential that you nurture a culture that supports creativity and innovation. You need ideas – both big and small, that will help you lead change and adapt to change. You need ideas that will help you stand out from the herd. And you need ideas that will help you achieve the results you deserve and the results you need!

Whether it’s a thought-provoking keynote or an interactive breakout session or workshop, this presentation is sure to get your participants thinking in new ways and fi red up about the challenges they face. Presentation Goal: To deliver as much relevant, practical content, and inspiring ideas on how to build a culture of creativity that’s more resilient to change, but deliver those ideas in a fun, sometimes hilariously outrageous way, so the ideas stick! The presentation includes door prizes (typically copies of one of Michael’s books), as well as a suite of on-line resources for you to use as you see fit.

Michael aims to deliver as much relevant, practical content, and inspiring ideas on how to build a culture of creativity that’s more resilient to change, but deliver those ideas in a fun, sometimes hilariously outrageous way, so the ideas stick! The presentation includes door prizes (typically copies of one of Michael’s books), as well as a suite of on-line resources for you to use as you see fit.

Key Messages in Inspiring Change at Work:

  • So... what’s new? The unprecedented pace of change and why you should care

  • Three ways you need to change how you look at change

  • Communicating for a change

  • Three reasons why you need to be in the business of ideas

  • Is the workplace really a place where ideas go to die?

  • Creating a culture and mindset that questions the status quo, that challenges assumptions and that drives curiosity

  • Inspiring questions for inspiring workplaces

  • What a great idea! How to get more ideas and better ideas

  • Ha + Ha = AHA! The role humour plays in the creative process

  • Changing perspectives: How creativity can break down walls and build stronger teams

  • Idea-building language and behaviours: What keeps creativity and change fl owing at work?

  • Idea-squashing language and behaviours: What blocks change and creativity at work?

  • Three key ways to turn great ideas into action

  • Five critical motivational triggers that will help employees embrace change and new ideas

  • Creating a “go the extra inch” and a “go the extra mile” mindset to leading change

Based on Michael’s wildly successful book The Humor Advantage, this presentation is geared towards business owners, managers, HR managers, front line customer service employees and any business employees interested in how to brand their business effectively to attract employees and customers, provide outrageously effective customer service and boost sales to new heights. It’s about leveraging your humour advantage to get the results you want... and the results you deserve!

Not only is this presentation wildly entertaining and guaranteed to keep participants awake and laughing, it’s packed full of inspiring business success stories from around the world and jammed to the brim with real-world, relevant results that participants can put to work immediately.

Michael aims to help businesses grow and achieve outrageous results. Michael loves working with business leaders who are passionate about growing their business, who want to exceed their customers’ expectations and who want to build an inspiring business that leaves a lasting legacy. Michael’s goal is to inspire audience members by sharing real world examples and to give audience members the ideas and tools they need to act upon that inspiration.

Key Messages:

  • How to brand your business as a great place to work to attract top talent

  • Hiring with humour and for humour: Why great businesses hire first and foremost for attitude

  • Why customer service is potentially your #1 competitive advantage

  • Customer service is an inside job: How great companies build a service-first culture

  • How to brand your business to stand out from the competition and attract new customers

  • Social media branding: The do’s and don’ts of using humour to stand out with your social media

  • Why pay for advertising when leveraging the humour advantage can attract free publicity?

  • Five keys to effective branding with humour

  • Why you need to STOP providing good customer service!

  • Five reasons phenomenal customer service matters more than ever

  • The difference between long-term customers and truly loyal customers

  • The two things every business needs to do consistently to stand out from the herd with its service to create passionate, loyal customers

  • Would you like a pet frog with that? How humour helps boosts sales

  • Adding humour to every point of customer contact

  • The importance of going the extra inch and going the extra mile with your customers

You cannot create a rocking, innovative, service-first culture without getting your hiring, onboarding, and training right! As the old mantra warns: “If you hire wrong, you can do no right, but if you hire right, you can do no wrong!” So this is an essential topic for leaders who understand the significant costs associated with a bad hire and, conversely, the enormous benefit of finding top talent who are a perfect fit for their organization. Participants will love Michael’s unique take on this highly in-demand topic and appreciate the many insights and innovative ideas based on Michael’s extensive interviews with CEOs, senior managers, and HR professionals from around the world.

Reenergized, inspired participants will walk away with innovative insights and ideas they can immediately apply to their workplace. They’ll gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to create a truly inspiring workplace culture, how to reenergize their recruitment practices to attract employees who are a better fi t, and they’ll learn how to bring more fun, creativity, and passion into their workplace! Whether it’s a high-octane keynote, interactive workshop, or an idea-filled breakout session, this presentation will leave participants rethinking their entire approach to workplace culture. Participants will also love the bundle of follow-up e-resources packed with relevant takeaways and they’ll appreciate the chance to win copies of Michael’s book, Hire, Inspire, and Fuel Their Fire!”

This idea-packed presentation, delivered with Michael’s legendary dynamic, humour-filled fl air, is designed to challenge participants’ perspectives, inspire them to take immediate action, and refuel their passion for their workplace culture.

  • Inspiring hiring and creative culture lessons from some of the most dynamic, successful companies around the world.

  • What’s the future look like? The hottest trends in recruitment and onboarding.

  • Why workplace culture is your #1 competitive advantage – especially during challenging times!

  • Great cultures are no accident! How to be more intentional about building an inspiring culture.

  • Are employee raving ambassadors for your company? Six culture questions to help you rate and define your workplace culture.

  • Less “Blah, blah, blah” and more “Rah, rah, rah”: 11 creative ways to promote your culture.

  • Why hiring for a culture fi t isn’t always the best approach.

  • Why hiring for attitude and hiring for humour is a must.

  • You had me at hello! How to connect with new hires and teach your culture before they even step through your front door.

  • Outrageously fun and effective ways to welcome new employees to your team.

  • The top 10 ways to immerse new employees in your culture so they live your values and live your culture out loud.

  • How to keep your culture messages alive and continuously foster an inspiring, innovative, service-first culture that drives outrageous results!

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The Humor Advantage

The Humor Advantage is packed with hundreds of ideas on how you, your team and your entire organization can put humor to work effectively in any business or organization to get the results you need. But it’s not just about fun. The Humor Advantage is a serious business book that describes how dozens of inspiring companies from around the world have built healthier, more innovative and more service-driven cultures. From customer service to creativity, from motivating employees to managing stress, The Humor Advantage covers a wide range of work-related topics, while taking readers on a journey through inspiring workplaces around the globe. It’s all about the way work OUGHT to be!

Inspiring Workplaces

Looking for a little inspiration in your workplace? Inspiring Workplaces is packed full of ideas on how to create a healthier, more productive, more creative, more fun and truly inspiring workplace environment. Because your work is too important to be turned into a Dilbert cartoon. Inspiring Workplaces offers more than just inspiration – the book offers practical ideas on how to bring about real change in any workplace. Each chapter ends with an “Inspiring Action” checklist of ideas on how to implement each chapter’s recommendations. And of course, Michael Kerr’s unique style and sense of humour is reflected throughout the book.

Inspiring Questions for Inspiring Workplaces

365 inspiring and provocative questions that will help you break the ice at your next meeting, build your team, generate lively discussion, and brainstorm creative ideas to help you build your business, improve your workplace culture, improve employee motivation and morale, enhance communication, engage employees and spark more creativity at work. The introduction also delves into the art of asking questions, including why, when, who and how to ask questions in the workplace. The questions are divided into 9 subject areas, including the significance of work, workplace culture, workplace values, workplace communication, customer service, employee motivation and fun in the workplace, creativity in the workplace, questions and questions designed to help each other to get to know each other better. 60 pages long, 365 questions, with a list of ideas on how you can make effective use of the book to help you build a stronger, more inspiring workplace.

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