Keynotes & Emcee

Joel's clients include:

  • US Energy Logo
  • Camden Logo
  • Milestone Management Logo
  • Greystar Logo
  • Medtronic Logo
  • Matrix Logo
  • Baylor Logo
  • Ernst Young Logo
  • ADP Logo
  • Centex Logo
  • Frito Lay Logo
  • HR Southwest Logo
  • PPAI Logo
  • FICP Logo
  • Padres Logo
  • Sonic Logo
  • GSK Logo
  • KPMG Logo
  • NTA Logo
  • Allstate Logo
  • ATT Logo
  • Samsung Logo
  • JCPenny Logo
  • InOUT Burger Logo
  • Omni Hotel Logo
  • Aflac Logo
  • US Bank Logo
  • Fijitsu Logo
  • Wells Fargo Logo
  • Walmart Logo
  • Microsoft Logo

The Tao of Ta-Da

Watch What Happens When Work Becomes Play.

We've all witnessed the excitement of a three-year-old child. They celebrate finding a ladybug. They celebrate drawing a flower. They celebrate going to the bathroom in the toilet for the first time.

Somewhere along the way, too many adults lose this sense of excitement about our lives and our work. Our tanks are empty. There is no fuel for collaboration, productivity and innovation. When employees and managers are not having fun and enjoying their work, they become “Bye-Bye” people. “Bye-Bye” people don’t care about taking care of the customer, meeting goals, producing results, or having fun.

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.

In Joel's dynamic and motivational keynote presentation, employees will appreciate the value of fun in the workplace and learn how to make the simple choices to have more fun, and increase their passion and success.

Seven Lessons Learned:

  1. Learn to celebrate work and create a positive environment.
  2. Learn to improve teamwork and help all partners find success.
  3. Learn the three keys to leading change: be prepared; be focused; be open and flexible.
  4. Learn the key to success: staying in the game and keeping your passion.
  5. Learn to promote ownership and accountability.
  6. Learn to encourage innovation by creating opportunity.
  7. Learn to enhance communication.

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.

How do your employees and managers Make the Right Choice? We all must take ownership of our work environment and create a foundation of opportunity and positive support. We can choose to be patient, supportive, and more flexible to change. We can choose to have fun in the workplace and still be productive. Joel teaches us just how easy it is to make these choices.

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, creativity, and success.

Seven Lessons Learned:

  1. Learn to celebrate work and create a positive environment.
  2. Learn to improve teamwork and help all partners find success.
  3. Learn the three keys to leading change: be prepared; be focused; be open and flexible.
  4. Learn the key to success: staying in the game and keeping your passion.
  5. Learn to promote ownership and accountability.
  6. Learn to encourage innovation by creating opportunity.
  7. Learn to enhance communication.

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.

Joel leads the audience through a series of exercises that demonstrates how easy it is to continue working creatively, effectively and productively while dealing with change. This interactive and hilarious presentation will teach managers the importance of creating opportunity and giving positive support to their employees. Just as important, managers must allow employees to create ownership. Ownership and responsibility will allow the employee to care. And once the employee starts to care, the next step is passion.

Joel uses humor and improvisation to teach his audiences how important these simple choices are to success. During this keynote, audience members will laugh, have fun and be motivated, inspired and energized.

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 Change: Flexibility, Reaction, and Persistence

Change happens. We can either be open and flexible to it or let it steamroll us. Too many of our daily problems are not worth getting worked up about, but we react to these small events, and it impacts us negatively. We don’t always have control over our changing circumstances, but we do control our reactions. There’s only one reaction that’s not acceptable: quitting. You can’t quit. You may have to communicate your needs; you may have to try something new. But you can’t give up. Joel’s presentation reinforces this message through his dynamic interactive skits.

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.


Not just an emcee, but a KEYNOTE EMCEE.

Joel is a sought after host and emcee for general sessions, awards night presentations, and other corporate events. Joel brings the same unique and powerful blend of humor, energy and business knowledge from his keynote presentations to his emcee clients.

Joel has presented at more than 1,500 events. Hundreds of clients have hired Joel to emcee their general session or awards program. He has also worked as a television host and commercial spokesperson. Add a couple of thousand comedy nightclub performances, and you can see why clients love Joel as their emcee.

Think of Joel as a Keynote Emcee. As an emcee, Joel uses his message, humor, and improvisation exercises (you can view those in the speaker demo) as mini-keynotes. Think of it as splitting up a powerful keynote into small modules spread out during the event. Some of the modules can be short (5 minutes) or a little longer (10+ minutes). Each module can include a short business message, but nothing too extensive.

Don’t have time for the interactive games? Joel can act as a traditional emcee using his humor, wit and strong business knowledge to energize any corporate event with fun and laughter.

Joel brings a different perspective on the emcee experience. Using his messages and improvisation exercises, Joel delivers more in the same amount of time. Joel knows the emcee can engage, entertain, motivate, inspire and deliver powerful messages. So, the ROI increases tremendously. Yes, Joel can do all of the typical emcee duties. And frankly, that is quite easy. Joel brings more. The ability to add message, engage the audience with interactive experiences, and partner with the client to create a memorable event.

Everything Joel does is based on his foundation tools of humor and improvisation. Joel believes in the power of fun. To Joel, the improvisation games are the perfect form of comedic entertainment for a corporate environment. Comedy is a shared experience. Joel does not rely on stand-up comedy bits that may or may not work. The improvisation games are successful 100% of the time because the humor is based on three levels: the uniqueness of the game; watching your peers play the game; and Joel’s ability and interaction with the audience and volunteers.

Award Presentations

For awards presentations, there are two goals: recognize and reward the award recipients and entertain/motivate the rest of the audience. During award programs, Joel’s humor comes from the moment, audience, surroundings, and everything that is happening. Joel customizes each emcee award experience with the client. Some clients ask Joel to emcee the entire event. Others want Joel to share duties with the CEO or other executive. Joel works with clients to determine how best to use his skills. Joel’s job is to do the heavy lifting and create a fun, energetic and memorable awards evening.

Years ago, Joel wrote an article for Convene Magazine (for the Professional Convention Management Association) on the state of award programs.

Click to view article.

Joel connects to every audience. He understands how to set the tone for a memorable awards program or general session. He has a passion for business and the shared experience of fun. Simply put, Joel will help you create a memorable and powerful event.



See Joel In Action

Joel Zeff Video Thumbnail

Joel Zeff 2014 Keynote on Leadership

Compilation Speaker Demo

Joel Zeff Video Thumbnail

See Joel's skills as a dynamic speaker

Make the Right Choice

Make The Right Choice Book Cover

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View the Book's Website


I just wanted to take a moment to personally thank you for an AWESOME ending to our conference.

I have received nothing but OUTSTANDING reviews on your performance.

Most importantly I was THRILLED to see the maintenance/construction team so involved on stage.

Again, many thanks — you were a perfect ending to a great conference.

– Laramar Group

The team truly enjoyed your keynote. The feedback sheets tallied…Very Bueno which is the best rating possible. So I would love the opportunity to work together again for our 2007 conference. I’ll keep you informed.

Once again, thanks for the phenomenal keynote presentation.

– Taco Bueno


Joel Emcee Thumbnail
Joel Emcee Thumbnail
Joel at Podium
Joel at Podium


Congratulations again for your success in delivering an impactful message in a memorable and entertaining way. You and your message were a hit with the Restaurant Managers, Regional Trainers and Consultants and USTL&D Leadership. Once we have our debrief meeting, I am hoping to find out if McDonald’s has a database for highly recommended presenters and vendors. If it does, we will be sure to add your name and contact information to it along with the positive feedback that we have received.

Thank you again for your professionalism, wisdom and humor.

– McDonald's Corporation

Thank you so much for a great presentation and memorable close for the conference. You exceeded all of my expectations! And, the feedback that I received from attendees was outstanding.

Finally, you can be certain that we will look for ways that we may be able to use you in the future for other company meetings/ events. Again, thank you!

– SunGard Higher Education (Users Group)

Thank you so much for joining us this year. You were quite a hit and you certainly added the fun and energy we were looking for. Thank you so much.

– Kaiser Permanente


I wanted to let you know that the feedback from everyone was overwhelmingly positive. I would say that in my 20 year sales career it was perhaps the most enjoyable (and appropriate) presentation I’ve been a part of in a sales meeting. Your competition for that top spot is John Cleese, so you’re in very good company.

– Convergys