Speaking to the World
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Entertainer & Customer Service Expert
6-time Emmy-award winning comedian and writer Ross Shafer grew up in the Pacific Northwest and graduated from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, where he studied business management and played varsity football (linebacker). After college, he took a job as a training manager for a department store (Yard Birds) and was able to save $10,000. He took that money and launched his life as an entrepreneur. His first venture was as the owner/manager of America’s only stereo and pet shop in the small town of Puyallup, Washington (population 5,000 at the time). Read More >
Cleaning pet cages wasn’t as appealing as it sounded to Shafer, so after three years he closed the store and took a job as an advertising manager for the 28-store Squire Shops retail clothing chain in Seattle, Washington. Writing ad copy and concocting campaigns paid the bills, but at night Shafer haunted local comedy clubs in search of a career in joke telling. After years of slogging around the comedy circuit, he won the Seattle International Comedy Competition and immediately became an opening act for performers like Crystal Gayle, Eddie Rabbitt, Nell Carter, Neil Sedaka, and Dionne Warwick.
In 1985, Shafer pitched a TV show idea to the NBC affiliate in Seattle (KING). It was a risky idea to emulate a local Letterman-like comedy talk show. Regardless, Almost Live was born and for the next five seasons Shafer hosted the show while he and his team collected 36 Emmys. They won the Esquire Magazine dubious Achievement Award one year for attempting to change the Washington State song to “Louie, Louie.” During those years Shafer also hosted an afternoon drive radio show on the 50,000 watt KJR-AM.
In 1988, Ross Shafer was wooed by the Fox network to take over The Late Show. The Late Show was a nightly talk show that competed with The Tonight Show and David Letterman. The show lasted a year and Shafer next found himself in New York co-hosting Days End on the ABC network. It was here that he sat beside Matt Lauer and Spencer Christian as they interviewed the movers and shakers of New York and the world. Dick Clark told Shafer, “Always have a backup plan, my boy, TV is terminal,” and predictably Days End was cancelled.
The next stop for Shafer was hosting the revised Match Game on the ABC network. Love Me, Love Me Not followed and numerous TV pilot projects.
By this time, Shafer was headlining all of the leading night clubs and casinos. He produced a highly acclaimed comedy album about the Clinton administration titled Inside the First Family. He also wrote a comedy cookbook that became a bestseller, Cook Like a Stud, which included 38 recipes men can prepare in the garage with their own tools.
By 1994, Shafer heard Bill Gates give a speech where he said, “Someday you will all be watching television on your telephones.” Shafer took that message to heart and he made the decision to leave TV and get back to his corporate training roots. Human nature and the human condition were always fascinating to him because that’s what comedians do. They study the laughter and tears business. To date Shafer has produced 14 human resource training films on customer service, motivation, leadership, and peer pressure. He has authored the business books Nobody Moved Your Cheese, Customer Empathy, The Customer Shouts Back, Are You Relevant?, 12 Reasons Smart Organizations Thrive In ANY Economy, Grab More Market Share: How to Wrangle Business Away from Lazy Competitors and his latest, Absolutely Necessary: Bulletproof Tactics That Will Put You in High Demand.
Today, Ross Shafer is one of the most sought-after keynote speakers and seminar leaders on the subjects of customer empathy, personal motivation and business relevance. Read Less ^
How to Motivate Your Teams
Success is Your Responsibility
Why Has URGENCY Replaced Service?
America's Funniest Leadership Keynote Speaker
Best practices are a moving target. Relevant leaders are able to sustain growth because they can evolve and adapt more quickly than their competition. If you are an organization that is dedicated to ‘making your mark’ on your industry, then developing a culture of ongoing relevance will insure your future. Read More >
Staying Relevant is different from being current. Being “current” is awareness. Relevance is taking action to make sure you matter to your customers, your clients, your members, and your teams. If you don’t matter to your constituents, they can go away and not care if you exist. Ross says, “Our team examines (18) different industries and we cross-pollinate trends, buying habits, and cool, disruptive practices for the purpose of enlightening organizations to the possibilities of extreme relevance.” Read Less ^
The Cure for (creeping) Complacency. Read More >
Has Your Company Felt Complacency Creeping in? When your company first launched, did you shake the world with something new and groundbreaking? Were you the unlikely underdog that unseated the industry leaders? Over time, have you had so much success that you’ve slowly lost your hunger? Do you find you aren’t as reactive as you once were? Maybe you are celebrating yesterday’s profits while your competitors are turning up the heat. Ross Shafer can reinvigorate your organization by sharing case studies of legacy companies who were determined to get their youthful groove back.
What Can We Learn from Startups? In the beginning, startups have very little to lose because they aren’t risking long-term relationships. Marketing and staff budgets are skinny so they have to do a lot…with a little. They don’t have the time or the resources to make things perfect so they frequently launch in Beta Mode and they make on-the-fly adjustments to lock in new business. Startups react with extreme urgency and an eagerness to please. They are also less intimidated by larger companies and will do ‘the unconventional’ to go after your market share. Ross believes legacy companies can reinvigorate their organizations by being nimble, urgent, flexible, reasonably open to risk, and are eager to change tactics when market conditions shift.
Don’t Assume You Have Unbreakable Relationships: Legacy companies sometimes assume that they’ve built such strong and lasting client relationships that they don’t have to work as hard. But unless you remain vigilant, a startup can swoop in with a fresh idea and land one of your best clients. Magnusson/Klemencic Structural Engineering is a 93-year-old company that has designed and built some of the world’s most recognizable buildings. Yet, their philosophy is: “We have an active data base of over 5,000 clients. We think of them as our friends. However, when we do a new pitch we send in the A-Team and act like it’s our first time. We may win on our past work but we prefer to win on our enthusiasm.” Ross can show you what it takes to ignite your enthusiasm.
Create the Startup Buzz Again. Startups create an industry “buzz” because they are fearless in their pursuit of credibility and unique offerings. They disrupt the market and all heads turn. In a high velocity recommendation economy, “buzz” is important to your clients and customers. Your clients/customers/members want to know they are partnering with an entity that will get them to the future first. Ross describes what your organization (and teams) must do to compete against the startups that are huddling in the corner secretly plotting to steal your market share. Read Less ^
We all want success in our careers and business…but too often we look for encouragement and validation from other people. Ross will inspire you to take charge of your own destiny when nobody is around to guide you. Ross reminds you that nobody cares more about advancing your career than you do so, you must become the leading expert on…you. Read More >
No Blame. No Excuses. Focus on Excellence. Regardless of your personal trials or professional obstacles, assigning blame or making excuses will not improve your situation. Instead of complaining, refocus your energies on increasing the excellence of your performance. Excellence will bring you respect and job security. Excellence is the fast track to a fulfilling life.
The Side Effects of Excellence: Regardless of your profession, becoming extraordinary defines ‘who you are’ much more than ‘what you do.’ Excellence attracts connections and influence. Excellence increases confidence and achievement to the point that others will offer you incredible opportunities. You just have to manage your fears and reprogram your mind to ignore your self-imposed limitations. Ross will leave you with an entirely new vision of your capacity to succeed.
Ramping Up Your Resilience: In your career, you will be exposed to mergers, acquisitions, changes in leadership, industry shifts…as well as good and bad economies. Ross will teach you how to forge a resilient attitude toward unforeseen circumstances. He will show you how to prevent making poor choices during uncertain times.
Becoming Necessary to your Organization: If you want to become a valuable and necessary member of your organization you must be able to think beyond your job. Organizations honor creative people who can discover new revenue streams, develop ideas to save money, and suggest ways to improve process efficiency. Ross will describe where to look for these innovations and how to execute them.
Getting Yourself Noticed…In a Good Way. You have no doubt noticed that people who can communicate with confidence are the ones who get the best opportunities. Ross will show you how to master the “elevator pitch” and how to handle yourself in meetings. He will describe how to gain the confidence of your peers – and how to get buy-in from the most influential people. Ross will also give you a strategy for overcoming intimidation by people who have something you want. (Sales teams love this part).
Ross Walks the Talk. You’ll hear this serial re-inventor’s ‘personal journey of ascension’ from small town pet store manager – to Emmy® winning network TV host – to best-selling business author. You will recognize his personal obstacles as your own…and learn how to overcome them.
BEYOND ‘CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE MAPPING’ Read More >
Customer Science is the next generation of CRM. Customer Service Management analytics & behaviors evolve as they increasingly interact with e-commerce, smart devices, kiosks, and digital push. We coach organizations on how to design, engineer, and execute a deliberate Emotional Customer Journey enhanced by those technologies.
Next generation organizations should be doing more than offering a historical “dashboard” of customer information. Companies preparing for year 2020 are incorporating Social Listening, Predictive Analysis, Trend Spotting, Automated Marketing, Social Campaigning, Content Management, and Ethno-Analytics. Big Data and Digital Marketing will fuel your revenue and accelerate your virtual sales force.
Learn how to remain innovative, responsible, and encouraging to others. Read More >
This is a professional development program that will inspire your team members and associates to operate at peak performance. Ross Shafer will show your attendees how to remain innovative, responsible, and encouraging to others.
How to Integrate the New “Gig” Workforce. As you know, 53 million Americans are now independent contractors, part timers, at-home workers, freelancers, consultants, or specific talent “gig” workers who bounce from project to project. While this exploding workforce controls labor costs by not offering healthcare, paid vacations, 401k’s or maternity care, the “gig” workforce still has to perform at peak levels and deliver on your brand promise. Ross will clarify the tactics necessary to motivate, establish expectations, and integrate your existing team members with your freelance staffers.
Attitude of Accountability. Even hardworking, eager-to-please team members can get frustrated by factors they believe are out of their control. Leaders have heard, “I could win this business if I had more resources or more time…” Ross insists that blame and excuses have no place in a top tier organization. Rather, team members must learn how to win with the resources they DO have. Ross’s case studies will encourage team members to make the most of what they CAN control – and how an attitude of accountability spreads like wildfire throughout a company culture.
How to Prevent Complacency & Stay Creative Under Pressure. Ross proves that team members become most valuable when they can manage stress, remain productive, and fend off complacency. Poor stress management can disrupt our ability to consider new ideas. Worse, complacency can cause us to default to what we know; which is likely to be counter-competitive. Ross can show your team how to: (A) Tackle multiple demands with composure, (B) Find innovations in the most unlikely places and, (C) Locate competitors that are hiding in their blind spots.
Consider The R.O.I. of Everything. Ross can coach your team members how to discern between good decisions and bad risks. Every employee or associate will become more valuable when they can innovate a fresh process, a product, or a service that either makes money or reduces costs. By Example: We have all seen football coaches make play-calling decisions based upon known parameters, new circumstances, and predictable outcomes, i.e., “In 3rd and 8 yard situations, on the 9 yard line, we have scored touchdowns 79% of the time with THIS play.” Ross will help inspire your teams to use a “decision discipline” for better R.O.I.
Celebrate Each Other’s Talents. Teams work better together when there is mutual respect and admiration among the members. The attitude of “Championing Others” comes from genuinely caring about team success over individual agendas. By Example: Ross Shafer’s TV production teams earned 36 Emmy® Awards by celebrating each other’s skills. In fact, Ross coined the name, Bill Nye The Science Guy®, and then provided a platform for Bill to exploit his unique talents. The result was a huge career for Bill and higher ratings for Ross’s TV show.
Ross hosts a select number of multi-day events for his high-end clients each year. Because Ross is a trained talk and game show host (having helmed over 1,000 network broadcasts) he is the perfect choice for moderating your executive panel discussions and complex award banquets. Ross will keep the programs lively and on task; drawing on his vast experience and lightening wit to navigate (and rescue) even the most unpredictable situations. Read More >
Ross is adept at handling back-to-back breakout sessions that may feature a myriad of presenters. He has hosted such luminaries as President George Herbert Walker Bush, Jack Welch, Colin Powell, Bob Dole, James Carville, Tom Peters, Marcus Buckingham and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to name a few. Since many high profile presenters are more comfortable being interviewed by a "pro," Ross is able to show the utmost respect from the opening introduction throughout the Q & A - yet he doesn't shy away from the probing questions your people want answered.
Ross is a popular favorite for hosting custom game shows. Not only do these formats lend themselves to imparting important training information about your company (in a fun way), they also encourage participation from the entire audience. Ask us how Ross and his game partners at Game Show America can create a custom "TV" show for you.
"I can’t express enough the positive impact Ross had on the group today. His presentation was outstanding! His unique ability to deliver such a dynamic message in that casual manner it truly unbelievable. Our CEO commented to me that it was the right message for the times we’re in."
"I wanted to thank you for speaking at our event—twice! Your presentation seems to have been quite the memorable highlight, as a sampling of comments from our post-conference survey included: “Ross Shafer was fantastic!”; “Ross Shafer and the Passing Zone were the best guest speakers I’ve ever seen”; “Ross Shafer was a great speaker, very real in his approach”; “Ross Shafer was very inspirational and gave me some ideas for personal improvement toward the customer experience that I will definitely explore.” And really, the comments just went on and on. Thank you for spending time with us and reminding us of the importance of creating memorable experiences for our customers."
"GREAT SPEAKER, GREAT PRESENTER! Could’ve listened to him all day! Really good information on how to communicate with anyone and everyone! He was hysterical. I loved it. He really got some energy going. I thoroughly enjoyed Ross’s unconventional look at customer service. I will definitely use some of his ideas when I get ready to survey departments and end users in my new organization. I’ve already downloaded his books that he offers online and I couldn’t wait to see his 2nd session. I hadn’t planned on going, but after seeing him in the general session, I knew I had to see him again. He was the highlight of the conference, he was fantastic!!"
"Ross is a very entertaining, thought-provoking speaker that captivates your audience from the moment he takes the stage. Every attendee I spoke with had nothing but great comments about his session."
"Ross was great. I took a number of things away with me from his presentation. He was motivational and inspirational without being preachy and canned. Feedback from the attendees has been extremely positive. I will be recommending him to a number of my fellow meeting planners."
"The client was extremely happy working with Ross and that part of the program went flawless. The onstage interaction with Supervisor Paul Biane & Ross was awesome & the audience seemed to connect well with the program. Looking forward to the possibilities and many, many thanks for Ross’ ‘stellar’ involvement working with our client!"
"Your presentation was absolutely superb! As a branding expert, I always encourage my clients and audience members to be authentic in what they do. You exhibited that authenticity throughout your entire presentation. Plus, you had me laughing and learning…the perfect combination."
"I wanted to send a personal thank you for participation in our Distribution Leadership Forum. Your message was outstanding! You integrated everything from the previous day and half so well it was as if you had been attending our meetings for the last couple of years. I really appreciate your attention to detail and involvement in the Forum. In addition, all the feedback I have received from the participants has been extremely positive. I wish you continued success, and I hope to have the opportunity to visit with you again in the future."
"Ross was a complete hit at our conference. I have never heard so many attendees wanting to have a speaker back again and soon. Everyone really enjoyed Ross. We appreciated him coming to our conference and hopefully look forward to seeing him again."
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