Customer Service in san Quentin Jail - this
is Conor's winning Chicago Toastmasters Humorous Speaker of the
Year speech. Please make sure you are in good health as intensive
laughter may be bad for the heart. Click
here>> to hear
If you would like a copy of the audio or video clips
please contact me and I will be happy to send you a CD.
Conor Cunneen is interviewed by Ray T. Sharpe, from
England. Ray is a web marketing specialist with his own
based in the USA.
Q: The first question has to be:- Why
SHEIFGAB is an acronym I developed which outlines the key letters of
Eight Building Blocks to Get and Keep You Motivated.
These Eight Building Blocks are
S – Structure (your life)
H - Help (others)
E – Environment (change it)
I - Improve (yourself)
F- Family (communicate with)
G - Goals (set and achieve)
A – Attitude (determines your success)
B - Boss (Boss here refers to a Bruce Springsteen anecdote. Music fans
will know Springsteen is referred to as “The Boss”)
I work hard to ensure my audience retains ideas from my
If I were to give my audience those eight building blocks without
providing an acronym, many will not remember them. But I also do
something else. To make the word even more memorable, I tell my
audience that in the Irish language, the word SHEIFGAB means “Do It”
or “Make It Happen”. Hence the title for a very well received
"Get out of that Bed and SHEIFGAB the World"
Q. SHEIFGAB does not mean what you initially said it means?
That’s correct. At the end of the presentation, I clarify that
SHEIFGAB does not have any meaning in the Irish language and I tell a
humorous story against myself.
Q. As well as having an unusual name, you are unusual in
that you make a specific Brand Promise?
Yes, and I strongly believe in it. I have a strong marketing
background and believe branding is a critical business tool. As a
speaker, I am The Brand. My Brand Promise is QCHE which means that I
offer Quality, Content, Humor and am Easy to work with.
In addition to that Brand Promise, I have a personal mission for each
event. It is to Get Asked Back. The best way to ensure this happens is
to exceed client expectations, which is not easy to do. However, as I
research, develop and rehearse my presentations I regularly ask myself
“Will this get me a return gig?”
Customer retention in speaking is as critical as in any other
Q.What differentiates you from other speakers?
Tim Malloy of McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd – one of the leading
intellectual property law offices in the country said in a testimonial
letter “ I have never heard a speaker with the double whammy
combination of humor and substance which I heard from you today”.
I research and read, research and read around my clients business and
can craft quality presentations appropriate to each audience which is
what the best speakers in this industry do.
In addition to offering that unique “double whammy combination” which Tim
referred to, I can also be different because I deliver good, well
researched content humorously in my Irish brogue. I do not present
myself in a stage Irish fashion, but Ireland does entrance people.
Thus, I often use images from my homeland which is most definitely a
warm, welcoming, magical, mystical land.
Q. You are an award winning speaker?
Yes, I am current holder of the Chicago Toastmasters Humorous Speaker of
the Year title and have won other awards. I like competition speaking
because it forces you to think through every line, every thought and
how well those thoughts relate to each other. Ultimately it allows me
to develop good content for my speaking career.
Q. What was the speech that won you the Humorous Speaker of the
The speech was on customer service in San Quentin prison which is a
bit of an oxymoron. I titled it Capturing the Guest
and have now developed it into a key note using the speech itself,
while also illustrating companies such as McDonald’s, JetBlue, Dell,
Hyundai and many others.