How do you know if a really brings the they claim to?

I was along through clear turquoise water over a pure white sand bottom. A jagged line of green Bahamas pine forests divided the blue sky from the dancing waves. Skimming along in my little sailboat with a fair breeze pushing me toward my next port, the experience couldn't have been more sublime, inspiring, and perfect…


Then I felt a bump!


Moments later, my journey came to an abrupt halt.

I'd run aground…

And I had done so at full-moon high-tide. 

Now that's not the only I've run aground but what are the odds of getting stuck at the exact peak of one of the two highest tides of the month?

I waited through the night while the tide slowly went out. My boat leaned over like a stranded fish and I tried to get a few hours of uncomfortable sleep on a cushion wedged into the side of the cockpit while my poor vessel flopped and floundered on her side.

Six hours later, the tide started to come back in. I waited again while the waters rose and the boat slowly righted herself.

Finally, six hours after that, I was able to get unstuck with help from the sails and the motor and a lot of pulling on anchor lines, and resume my journey.

Years later, I was exchanging sea stories with a group of fellow sailors and some condescending little snot declared, “Well, I've never run aground!” As if that was something that only happened to amateurs.

But anyone who's spent serious time sailing has had their run-ins with the sea bottom and had to endure being called “Captain Crunch” by their friends.

It's no different with speakers. When I was first starting out, a wise mentor shared a tough reality.


“No matter how good
you are, sooner or later,
you're going to bomb!”


“You might not know it but half the people in your audience may have just found out they'll soon be out of a job.”

“If you're the Sunday morning opening speaker, you could be addressing a whole room full of hung-over people who just aren't in the mood to be motivated.”

My bomb eventually dropped and fortunately it happened in front of a small group of entrepreneurs. I know experienced, powerful speakers who've run aground in front of whole stadiums full of people!

It wasn't fun but I saw it as a step on my speaker's journey—as a rite of passage. And though I can't be 100% certain why my boat hit the bottom—it could have been because I spoke at 8AM on a Monday morning after spending two hours on the highway. 

It might have been because my millennial audience found my paper flip charts to be old-fashioned. 

There's a lesson to be learned from every failure so I created a set of beautiful and that talk's been nothing but easy sailing ever since.

So here's one more way to qualify a speaker:


Ask them to tell you about a time when they bombed!


If they assure you that's never happened to them, place the success of your event in the hands of a more experienced keynoter.

But if they laugh, share a disaster story, and tell you what they learned from the experience, you'll know you're dealing with a professional who knows how to keep your event afloat.

I'm Dave Bricker, the storytelling keynoter. I invite you to set up a virtual coffee to talk about how a few exciting sailing stories and a collection of powerful business communication tips will engage your audience and offer practical strategies your audience will remember and rely on long after your event is over.


We've all sat through boring presentations and rolled our eyes at lackluster leaders. Usually, we're lucky enough not to be that person, but at one time or another, haven't we all struggled to communicate important ideas to decision-makers?

That kind of way-too-common business communication leads to uninspired teams, lost sales, dissatisfied customers, annoying marketing messages, and a LOT of wasted time—all stressful and expensive problems, wouldn't you agree?

The solution is business storytelling—the art and science of what to say and how to say it!

Engaging presentations, professional development workshops, and executive coaching reveal the powerful strategies that have raised competitors to the final round (top 8 of 30,000 contestants) of the World Championship of Public Speaking, helped leaders connect (even in times of crisis), boosted the confidence and morale of sales teams (especially those who think “sales” is a dirty word), taken the “cuss” out of customer service, and helped corporations earn over $4 billion in profits.

Is storytelling a worthwhile point of focus for your event attendees, teams, or executives? Set up a sales-pitch-free chat. I promise to lead by listening.

Or just send an email and we'll get you set up the good old-fashioned way.

Not ready to select an event speaker yet? Still planning your professional development calendar? Many people schedule meetings months ahead. Let's talk when the time is best for you.