Speaking & Keynotes

Everyone has a story. We’ll help you learn how to tell yours.

“Michael brings a dynamic understanding of how story is an integral part of everything we do. At Zappos Insights, culture transformation is the name of the game, and his speeches, consulting and workshops have been fantastic. And I give away his book to people all the time. I highly recommend him.”
– Robert Richman, Product Manager, Zappos Insights

Why hire Michael?

With a background in cultural anthropology, I am fascinated by the evolution of business and communications. As the author of Believe Me: a Storytelling Manifesto for Change-Makers and Innovators, I teach 15 storytelling principles that can inspire more meaningful connection.

#140Char Brands Conference
Humanization in Brands

For over a decade (since I was 22), I’ve been invited to speak at hundreds of conferences and organizations throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Caribbean, and South Pacific. This includes keynotes for NASA, Schulich School of Business, NW Health Foundation, and Zappos Culture Bootcamp. I’ve also spoken at conferences and events including BlogWorld, SXSW, #140 Characters, Traffic Geyser Mastermind, and DIYDays (A more extensive list is below).

My topics are the why and how of storytelling — teaching audiences how to inspire, connect, and motivate with the right message. I’m often asked to help reframe the conversation on a challenging topic, issue or cause. My specialty is working with change-makers and innovators, showing how to translate anything new and different into cultural acceptance. I also speak on the topics of tribe-building, content publishing, personal branding, and social media as driving forces of change.

My presentation style is a balance of passion and provocateur, always pushing audiences toward their own self-empowerment and inner-storyteller abilities.

If you’d like to inquire about my speaker rates and availability, contact Jodi Bepler.

Most Popular Topics

Story Blueprint: How to Structure Your Message for True Engagement
In this hands-on session, you’ll learn specific storytelling techniques for engaging true belief

and commitment around your work. You’ll brainstorm with peers and walk away with a Story Blueprint — specific elements to incorporate into your fundraising proposals, website, and social media. In this session, you’ll learn:

Bridge Conference on Fundraising/Direct Marketing
  • Who needs to be the hero of the story (and why this choice matters)
  • How to customize the story based on your specific goals and audience
  • Where to look for story themes and messages (hint: you already have it)
  • How to reframe the conversation around your cause or issue
  • What you need to leverage your story across the web and social media

Storytelling: How To Turn Your Supporters Into True Believers
In this session, you’ll be introduced to storytelling frameworks to fundraise and engage supporters at the deepest levels possible. Storytelling can make a huge difference between polite interest and impassioned involvement. When you tell a story people identify with as their own — the need to convince, persuade, or sell them on anything disappears. Your audience will want to be a part of things because they belong in the story. In this session you’ll learn:

  • What’s missing from most social change storytelling (+ what to do about it)
  • Specific storytelling themes for igniting passion and commitment
  • Why the story begins with you as the messenger (your personal story)
  • How to go beyond one-time engagement to sustained relationship

Social Storytelling: Why Every Blog Needs an About Page
Your “About” Page is one of the first pages people visit on your website. It’s where people go to decide if they like you, trust you, and want to do business with you. It’s also the hardest page to write. There’s a lot at stake. Michael teaches how to tell the story of who you are and what you do – without the need for bragging, boasting or hiding. His storytelling system The New About Me, is a breakthrough approach to personal branding online and how to build your thought leadership platform. You’ll learn a next generation perspective on how to become seen and recognized.

  • Go beyond boring credentials and reveal more of your true self and character
  • Implement key storytelling principles for the relationship economy
  • Develop a superhero origins and explain the seeds of your natural authority
  • Reconcile the different parts of your past into a coherent and memorable storyline
  • Apply the Chocolate Secret – the fastest way to be endearing and approachable
  • Embrace social media and your identity online through a fresh vantage point

Sound interesting? Speaking requests and inquiries should be directed to Jodi Bepler.

Creativity in Biz Conf.
Creativity in Biz Conference


Upcoming and Past Appearances

Upcoming Appearances

  • March 12 – SXSW: South by Southwest
  • March 5 – Maryland Nonprofits (Keynote)
  • February 28 – Points of Light/HandsOn Network
  • January 28 – Reboot Nation
  • January 19/20 – NW Health Foundation (Keynote)
  • December 15 – Points of Light/HandsOn Network
  • December 7 – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Past Appearances

  • #140 BrandsConf
  • #140edu Conference
  • #140Conference Meetup
  • ASAE Conference
  • BlogWorld LA and NY
  • Bridge Conference AFP/DMA (Keynote)
  • Creativity in Business Conference
  • DIYDays NYC
  • Dept of Treasury – Executive Leadership Institute
  • Dream University – Inspiring Speakers Academy
  • Energy BBDO
  • Florida Dietetic Association (Keynote)
  • Future of Marketing Conference
  • Green Entrepreneurs Summit
  • Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofits Conference (Keynote)
  • Instant Celebrity Academy
  • NASA Linking Leaders Conference (Keynote)
  • National Audubon Society
  • National Coop Grocers Association (Keynote)
  • Northwest Health Foundation (Keynote)
  • NYU Stern School of Business
  • PBS Hawaii
  • RISE Austin
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Schulich School of Business (Keynote)
  • Smithsonian Storytelling Weekend
  • The Influencer Project
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Tufts University
  • UN Foundation
  • Youth Mega-Event
  • YWCA
  • Zappos

Speaking requests and inquiries should be directed to Jodi Bepler.

More Testimonials

I loved the half-day workshop on [Storytelling and Corporate Innovation], and am spreading the word. I think you are doing the next important thing in corporate culture. I would love to attend anything that you are teaching.
– Mary Berry, SVP, Corporate Communications/HR, Wells Fargo

I feel that I have just participated in a transformational ‘restarting’ point for our agency. We now have the fundamental tools and motivation to reframe our identity.
– Jill Matro, Program Services Dir, Big Brother Big Sisters of Honolulu

Great new insights for handling the paradigm shift in non-profit business.
– Chuck Remington, Dir. of Field Support, National Audubon Society

Michael is an inventive instructor and a compelling storyteller for the Schulich School of Business. The students he works with are senior executives (VP and above) in the MarCom industry. In his sessions he links a brand narrative framework to business innovation. I recommend Michael highly to any organization looking for a creative approach to telling its brand story.
– Paul Dillon, Mgr. of Learning Strategies, Schulich Executive Centre

Conference Videos

Contact: Jodi Bepler to book Michael for a speaking engagement.