Joel Zeff

Joel Zeff

Leading Expert in Creativity
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Program Descriptions

Watch What Happens When Work Becomes Play
Employees and managers who have fun at their jobs are more loyal, enthusiastic and passionate. They sell more, communicate more effectively, take better care of customers and produce more sustainable results. And fun increases employee retention.

Make the Right Choice: Taking Ownership and Responsibility for your Happiness and Success
In Make the Right Choice, Joel shares his experience and insight on creativity, communication, teamwork, passion, and fun. With wit, a sharp observational eye, and playful irreverence, he discusses the choices we all encounter in our careers. We each have the ability to take initiative and make the right choice to live a more creative, passionate, effective, and productive life.

Make the Right Choice: Leading Teams during Change with Passion and Success
It’s hard to have fun and stay passionate at work during stressful times. Your employees build stress after each media report about economic challenges. Business today means surviving and thriving during a merger, layoff or the all encompassing “restructuring.” How do managers continue to motivate and energize employees during difficult times? Managers must help employees stay in the game; work in the moment; and take ownership of their happiness.

The Tao of Teamwork: Chemistry, Trust, and Risk Taking
It’s hard to explain, but we all know what happens when a partnership or group has chemistry: it’s important in any relationship. When co-workers have fun together, they communicate better and connect on a deeper level. And when they connect, this creates trust, which enables individuals to take greater risks with the knowledge that they have their team behind them. In order for a company to innovate, it must manage risk well, and it can only do so through the prerequisite communication and teamwork. Joel’s interactive exercises train audience members to enjoy their work so they communicate better and ultimately, take more risks.

The Tao of Innovation: Creativity, Risk Tolerance, and Problem Solving
Innovation isn’t a spontaneous occurrence. Innovation is often the result of individual creativity and initiative, as well as a tolerance for the risk that enables such change. Joel’s interactive presentation makes the argument that none of these can occur as effectively without the element of fun that enables risk. When coworkers have fun together, they are more likely to create ideas together, solve problems together and build great success together. Participants learn how to stay in the game, work in the moment, and help each other be successful by asking themselves a very important question: “How may I help the people around me become more successful?”

The Tao of Leadership: Communication, Positivity, and Patience
A leader has to innovate (by tolerating risk and solving problems). A leader needs to know how to prepare for change (by controlling his or her reaction and never quitting). And a leader must communicate well (by creating a 50/50 communication partnership, giving details when necessary, and maintaining a positive and patient attitude). But first and foremost, a leader must set an example by having fun and enjoying one’s own work so that others can do the same. Joel’s interactive presentation will highlight this important lesson through concrete tips and tools.


Biography Read more

Joel Zeff creates energy. He is a dynamic speaker, improvisational humorist and author. His interactive performances invite members of the audience to participate in hilarious improvisational exercises that illustrate Joel's central message: That organizations and individuals should CELEBRATE every day successes to increase collaboration, productivity, passion and innovation.

Since 1997, Joel has inspired audiences from Wells Fargo to Samsung to KPMG and even the IRS. Yes, the IRS. Joel is a masterful public speaker and a nationally renowned motivator, lifelong humorist and improvisational actor.

His career is a search for fun and passion. He quickly realized the importance of both at his first jobs delivering the hometown newspaper and cleaning up trash at a suburban movie theater.

He started his professional career as a newspaper journalist and public relations executive. In 1994, Joel went out on his own as corporate communications specialist. He helped clients with their employee communications, media relations, strategy and customer marketing. Throughout the consulting process, Joel realized his clients – many of them high-level technology and telecommunications firms – needed more than marketing and public relations strategy. Many of his clients’ employees were starving for fun, passion and new perspective on finding success.

At the time, Joel was having fun on the weekends as a comedian. Through friends, he discovered improvisational comedy. One of his clients (a large technology company) knew Joel performed comedy on the weekend. The client asked him to play some improvisational games before dinner for a group of high level executives. He brought a fellow comedian and a corporate speaking career was born.

He connects to his audience with humor that has them laughing so uncontrollably that their mascara runs, their cheeks hurt, and their bellies ache. And he doesn't do it alone. Volunteers from the audience join him on stage and play an integral role in an improvisation game in front of hundreds or thousands of people—something the audience members have never done. He expects nothing less than their success. He expects the volunteers to focus and work together as a team; communicate effectively; positively support each other; and take responsibility.

Joel makes his audience laugh so hard that they forget about the corporate nonsense of conference calls, "strategic deliverables," PowerPoint presentations with upside-down triangles, or "paradigm shifts in a cross-functional organization." Make the Right Choice is conversational, funny, and very informative. Yes, Joel will make you laugh, but he'll also make you think. This presentation delivers a combination of inspiration, essential business knowledge, and significant ideas to help audience members reconnect with their own passion and success.

As discussed in his book, Make the Right Choice, Joel believes that we all encounter choices in our careers. We always have the opportunity to make the right choice to live a more creative, passionate, and productive life. How do you “make the right choice”? You can choose to provide opportunity. You can choose to provide positive support. And along the way, you can choose to have fun. It’s really that simple. Joel teaches us just how easy it is to make these choices.

When he is not speaking, Joel expresses his creativity as an actor, writer and comedian. He started performing professionally in 1992. In Dallas, he was co-host of The Movie Zone on UPN 21. He has appeared in dozens of commercials for numerous clients, including the Dallas Cowboys, Harrah's Casino,, Time Warner Cable, Pizza Hut, McDonald's, Eagle Country Markets, and Extraco Bank. He has appeared in hundreds of corporate videos and has appeared on shows from CNBC’s The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch to the Fox Network’s Fox and Friends Weekend. His articles have been featured in The Dallas Morning News, The Houston Chronicle, The Kansas City Star, among many other mainstream media outlets.

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"Joel was great to work with and the attendees really enjoyed his presentation. Thank you for all of your help!"
--LaQuinta Hotels

"Your keynote session was exceptionally relevant to the central themes of our meeting, and you managed to energize our participants around these topics through your dynamic delivery. Thank you for a fantastic session that sent our attendees back into their workplaces with fresh perspective and renewed passion."
--Capital One

"We are beginning some debriefs with stakeholders on the gala and the comments about your work have been very, very positive. Words like "high-energy", "humorous", "entertaining" have all been used with the underlying theme from everyone that this year's program was one of the best because of what you brought to the stage and the classy way you worked with the presenters."
--Tech Titans Gala

"I just had to again thank YOU for making our humble, I mean Humble Convocations truly the BEST we ever had in my 15 years here! You absolutely hit a grand slam not only from and energizing standpoint, but from a message standpoint. You simply nailed the kind of culture I have envisioned from the day I joined our district in 2001! Know that you have an admittedly not very humble #1 fan in Humble USA! You significantly made a huge difference for our family!"
--Humble ISD

"We hired Joel for a women's conference - 400 women at a leadership conference. Joel was our closing keynote speaker and we could not have asked for anything better. He was absolutely hysterical and extremely engaging, all the while, driving home the leadership messages. As someone who hired Joel, he was very easy to work with. Additionally, I told him that he was sponsored by one of our companies - he mentioned them many times throughout his presentation and the sponsor loved every minute of it! We already hired Joel again for another conference and can't wait to see him again! Standing ovation!!"
--Midwest Energy Association

"Joel, Thank you for an amazing session with our group. I have heard nothing but AMAZING feedback and we will be sending out a feedback survey that I will share the results with you. My most favorite and consistent feedback was we cannot remember laughing like that in years. It felt good and we needed that. They also feel like all the barriers were broken and everyone is now seen as an equal member in the sales family. Thank you for helping us along on our journey of healing and kicking off the year! I look forward to seeing you again. Thank you again!"
--MARS Petcare

"I apologize for the delay, but I have been on the road the past 2 weeks. I wanted to personally reach out and thank you for the amazing presentation. I have had many people tell me how much they enjoyed your presentation. My manager said "I think he is the best speaker we have ever had". So, thank you! The energy your presentation evoked with our teams permeated the remainder of the event. I am so thrilled we found you and you could join us."

"We all agreed that you are the best motivational/leadership speaker we have had at our events."

"I can’t tell you how many people I spoke with throughout the conference that said we “just hit a home run” with both our keynote speakers this year. People went on about how fun, hysterically funny, entertaining and thought-provoking your keynote was. What a delight to have you there. We’ll certainly be keeping your materials, and if we (or any of our other respective organizations) have any opportunities to use your services (or recommend you to others) again, we will. Thank you again so much for your wonderful contribution to CETPA this year."
--California Educational Technology Professionals Association