Sally Hogshead Is A Very Good Keynote Speaker

Last updated: February 21, 2023

Usually I hate keynote presentations via video conference for large groups. It is nearly impossible to connect with the people on the other side, jokes fall flat, and the speaker just can’t read the room.

But today I was supremely impressed at the way that Sally Hogshead made her keynote speech via video to me and my friends in the Less Doing Live 2018 workshop.

If you host webinars or aspire to be a great speaker, keep reading to see the exact tactics I noticed that Sally used. For example, I was impressed with her ability to engage the audience using call and response, custom stories, and excellent pacing.

Sally Hogshead presented to our group via Zoom video conference. Note the Ari Meisel doll, lower left

Engaging Videoconference Notes

  • Sally did an AWESOME job at the start of the video call-in with a HIGH ENERGY greeting
  • From the moment we first saw her on the screen, she was SMILING, HAPPY, and LOUD
  • Right after connecting to our room of 35+ people on the television, Sally was waving her hands and saying “Hello and good morning!! I am so happy to be here, yay!!”
  • Immediately she asked the room to do some call-and-response
  • She complimented the conference host (Ari) and gave a brief history of how she knew him and where they met
  • Unfortunately we experienced wifi problems that caused her video and audio to lag
  • But!! Sally did such an awesome job VAMPING (killing time in an engaging way) and telling stories while the hosts tried to fix the wifi
  • Example: She told a throw-away story about crunchy ice and puppies at the hotel she was staying at, using this story to burn time while the team did troubleshooting on their wifi connection. Everyone in the room knew the story wasn’t essential to her presentation, but we were able to follow along between the wifi breaks.
  • After 5 minutes, we got her video and audio working and we saw her slides and video again on the TV. Because of Sally’s ability to continue talking with a fun story – and NOT just give dead air or awkward silence – the energy level of the audience was maintained in the room.

Sally’s Advice for Keynote Speakers

If a speaker categorizes herself with the word “innovation,” they can charge $5000 more than if they were in the “creativity” category.

Why is this? She asked the audience here, and replied to their answers. I forget the exact answer; I think it was because Innovation has a higher ROI to business than Creativity.

Sally said: “By applying this wording change to my business of speaking, I went from charging $3000 for my keynote presentations to $30,000 within two years. It allowed me to break through this clouded, distracted environment of other speakers.”

Billing For Travel Fees

Sally has a flat travel fee that is non-negotiable.

This saves her time from having to search for receipts and file expense reports afterwards.

Sally’s Interactive and Engaging Webinar Tactics

  • Several times during the video presentation, Sally got us to “give a round of applause” for support staff at the event. We clapped for the IT troubleshooting guy, the admin staff who helped with sending email links, etc. These prompts created energy and activity in the room. It helped break up the flow of us just listening to her as a talking head on the screen.
  • She called on our host Ari once or twice: “Ari, what’s the name of your motto – it has three words in it?” (Answer: Optimize, Automate, Outsource) This was helpful to anchor her to the conference we were at and with the leader in the room.
  • Sally brought her husband onto the webinar for a cameo appearance, which was very spontaneous and felt “real” and “authentic.” It formed a bond with us, the audience, to connect with her as both a person and an authority.

How Sally Quickly Built Authority With Us

Brands Sally Has Worked With: Aflac, Coca Cola, Godiva, Nike, BMW, Mini Cooper, IKEA, Cole Haan, Harry Winston, Capital One.

We learned about those client relationships from a slide in which she unabashedly bragged of her early-career achievements. It did not feel like bragging, and I was inspired to add a slide like this to some of my presentations.

Lessons from Mini Cooper

I like this picture of a Mini Cooper. It wasn’t in her presentation; I’m just sharing it for eye candy

Sally started the formal part of her presentation by telling us some lessons she learned in launching the Mini Cooper. This story at the beginning helped add to her credibility and establish her as an authority speaker.

”You can either have the biggest budget. Or you can be the most fascinating.”

Sally told us some stories about how she helped to launch the Mini Cooper during an ultra-competitive time against the VW Bug which had at least a 10x marketing budget.

I found this example of innovative marketing that Mini did online. Smart!

Different is Better Than Better

The more crowded and competitive and commoditized = the harder it is to compete on being “better.”

Example of a Sally blockquote, with what we saw on the Zoom presentation

Her quote around “Different is Better Than Better” seems to be a core marketing phrase to what she believes.

Presentation Notes and Speaker Tips

Call and Response: Jagermeister

As a presenter who wants to increase audience engagement, I enjoyed seeing Sally do Call and Response in her storytelling about the lessons they learned from working with Jagermeister.

  • Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a shot of Jagermeister. Many hands go up
  • Raise your hand if you enjoy the taste of Jagermeister. Few or no hands go up

Sally said: What’s the lesson here? Jagermeister is the most popular brand of alcohol that nobody likes.

Using funny client stories to engage with the audience worked well during this webinar-like presentation

Then she told a story that got a lot of laughs: Getting a Jagermeister virgin to take a shot during her keynote speech, then hi-fiving everyone around her. She used this story to tell about how she gave a great speech and being fascinating going immediately after Seth Godin, winning the audience’s attention against an uphill battle of attention.

Business lesson – Jagermeister had a problem: “Our American consumers are aging out of the brand before they reach legal drinking age.”

The less you like the taste of Jagermeister, the more likely you are to drink it. The reason consumers drink it is not because of the taste. It is for the toxic experience. It is a signal to say, “OK: this is going to be one of THOSE nights.”

Another Call-and-Response Example

RE: Recession: “Does anyone remember what happened in the economy between 2008 and 2010? What happened to the economy, did it go up or go down?” The audience says, “It went down” or “Down”

Tony Robbins also does a lot of call-and-response as a presenter / see my review of that here.

More Random Take-Aways

It’s good to be better, but it’s better to be different.

Pull-quote from Sally’s presentation: “Don’t change who you are. Become more of who you are.”

Fascination is an intense state of focus.

When your brain is fascinated by someone or something, it has the same chemical signatures as an orgasm.

Ancient Latin definition of Fascinare: to bewitch or hold captive so people are powerless to resist.

The Salem witch trials were a trial of fascination; people were put on trial for behaviors.

Everything changed at the beginning of the 19th century when Marketing was invented.

DATA IS SEXY slide from Sally Hogshead presentation // images copyright Sally Hogshead and How to Fascinate

Pro tip: If you can summarize in one word exactly what makes a brand different, it makes it really easy to summarize in the marketplace.

If you try to fascinate everyone, you will end up fascinating no one.

How High-Performers Add Value

  • They are admired for noteworthy ability to contribute a specific benefit, such as attention to detail or big-picture ideas.
  • They over-deliver in this ONE specialty.

What Top Performers Do Differently

They focus exclusively on their highest advantage.

The Personal Brand Archetypes

Handout that we received. It was also projected on the screen as one of Sally’s slides. Images copyright Sally Hogshead and How to Fascinate

The attendees at the Less Doing Live workshop (conference?) are especially strong in Power, and less strong in follow-through.

Nick’s note: My personal brand archetype is The Ringleader: Motivating, Spirited, Compelling

Anthem Express Worksheet

Handout from Sally Hogshead. We didn’t do this activity but the workshop passed it out. Worksheet is copyright Sally Hogshead and How to Fascinate


Sally has a lot to offer regarding her Personal Brand Archetypes, which is a competitor / compliment / similar to the Kolbe Index that I’ve come to love. I’m interested to explore that more and learn more about it. She’s a great speaker and I would definitely want to see her present at a conference and learn more of her advice.

This post is part of my notes from attending the Less Doing Live 2018 Miami workshop hosted by Ari Meisel.



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