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Rory Vaden is a self-discipline strategist, author and business motivational speaker with degrees in business management, leadership, accounting and an MBA. He is the co-founder of Southwestern Consulting, a multi-million dollar international training company, and a two-time world champion of public speaking finalist for Toastmasters International.

Rory has shared his unique insights on Oprah radio, in Businessweek, Publisher’s Weekly and SUCCESS Magazine. His book, Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success, was published in 2012. His speaking clients include Bank of America, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Wells Fargo Advisors, Mary Kay, AFLAC and many more. He also leads an international social movement called the “Take the Stairs World Tour,” which raises money for youth character education programs.

Full Profile

    Rory Vaden is a Self-Discipline Strategist who relates profound truths coupled with humorous anecdotes that empowers professionals to conquer their fears and take immediate action in all aspects of their lives. He is the perfect speaker for increasing employee engagement, overcoming procrastination, raising productivity, growing sales, maintaining better work life balance, managing change, and having more effective time management.

    As an author, and business motivational speaker Rory’s unique insights have been shared on Oprah radio, in Businessweek, Publisher’s Weekly, and in SUCCESS™ Magazine. Rory has degrees in Business Management, Leadership, Accounting and an MBA. As the Co-Founder of the multi-million dollar international training company, Southwestern Consulting®, Rory’s pragmatic advice is grounded in the 150 year old principles and practices of one of the nation’s largest privately held companies, The Southwestern Company. The “Take the Stairs” methodology has stood the test of time and has been field tested by thousands of professionals from all different industries.

    A two time world champion of public speaking finalist for Toastmasters International, Rory has shared his compelling “Take the Stairs” message on the same stage as John Maxwell, David Allen, Keith Ferrazzi and he’s done special programs for both Zig Ziglar, and for Dave Ramsey’s companies.

    His speaking client list includes: Bank of America, Trane, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Shaw Worldwide, The Direct Selling Association, American Income Life, Wells Fargo Advisors, Mary Kay, AFLAC, and others from all over the world. Rory is the author of Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success, published by Penguin in February of 2012.

    Rory is also leading a rapidly growing international social movement called the Take the Stairs World Tour in which he is raising money for youth character education programs by climbing stairs all over the place including the 10 tallest buildings in the world.

    Combining a hilarious and compelling delivery with unprecedented expertise, Rory energizes audiences into action with his signature program: “Take the Stairs – Success Means Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do.”


Rory Vaden Speaker Videos Back to top

Keynote Speech Clips


In these speech clips, Rory begins with an expression that he says his mother always used to say, “Success is all about the choices that we make.” He asks the audience to think about the last time they were in front of a set of stairs and an escalator. “Did you take the stairs?” he asks. “Most people choose the escalator,” he explains. “It’s almost like we are naturally programmed to search for convenience, to look for the easy way.”

Rory concludes that the one thing that is true about success is that “success is not about taking the escalator. Success is about taking the stairs. It’s about doing the things that we know we should be doing, even when we don’t feel like doing them.” He goes on to discuss the “one simple word” that he says success comes down to, “discipline.”

Keynote Speech



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Rory relates profound truths with humorous anecdotes to empower professionals to conquer their fears and take action in all aspects of their lives. His presentations motivate audiences to increase employee engagement, overcome procrastination, raise productivity, grow sales, maintain a better work-life balance, manage change and manage their time more effectively.

Rory’s “Take the Stairs” methodology has been field tested by thousands of professionals from all different industries. In his signature presentation, “Take the Stairs: Success Means Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do,” Rory combines hilarious and compelling delivery with unprecedented expertise to energize his audiences into action.

Take The Stairs
Success means doing things you don’t want to do
[Signature Motivational Speech 45 – 90 minutes]

Success is different for each of us but the path to get there has the same obstacles: fatigue, rejection, failure, distraction, burnout, complacency, and countless others.

And yet there is one common characteristic and one universal trait that virtually every single successful person must have before they add anything else; discipline – the discipline to do the things they don’t want to do. Self-discipline strategist and motivational speaker Rory Vaden shares key insights and erases common misconceptions about how to build lasting self-discipline.

After hearing Rory’s hilarious and compelling speech, your audience will:

  • Disregard their fear and take immediate action.
  • Develop an awareness of their own creative avoidance.
  • Stop making excuses and stop procrastinating.
  • Engage in happier, healthier more productive lifestyles.
  • Quit looking for shortcuts and get back to work.
  • Adopt an overall results-oriented attitude of discipline.
  • Be more disciplined and Take The Stairs more often in the mall, the airport, and in life situations

Rory Vaden has one of the most unique deliveries in the speaking world today. His charismatic presence and slightly irreverent message is gracefully delivered with a natural charm and just the right touch of humor. While he is definitely entertaining, you will see that his focus is moving the audience to action and creating results that long outlast his presentation.

Leaders Take The Stairs
Creating a Culture of Discipline in Your Organization
[Main Stage Speech 45 – 75 minutes]

Companies and organizations that make the leap to greatness have an almost fanatical mindset and mission of making short term sacrifices for a long-term vision.

It drives every part of their business, including accounting, hiring, training, leadership, marketing and so forth. But if you look in MBA curriculums or HR training programs, you won’t find anything that teaches leaders this pivotal skill. Here you will learn practical steps from entrepreneur and motivational speaker Rory Vaden for infusing your organization with a mentality of discipline.

After hearing Rory’s challenging and thought-provoking speech, your leaders will:

  • Develop stronger systems of accountability for measuring activity and results.
  • Critically evaluate every instance of company spending.
  • Have a game plan for popularizing the paradigm of discipline within the organization.
  • Be equipped to clarify the “Pain Paradox” for their team to get buy-in.
  • Enthusiastically adopt and model an attitude of discipline.
  • Be more disciplined and Take The Stairs more often in the mall, the airport, and in life situations.

No Laughs to Know Laughs
How to be Funny to Make More Money
[Breakout Session Workshop 45 minutes - 4 hours]

Work is always more fun if you can laugh along the way but it’s a rare gift to be able to make other people laugh. In fact, most of us think you are either born funny or you′re not, and it′s one of the most disempowering misconceptions of all time. Two-Time Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking Finalist and motivational speaker and humorist Rory Vaden explodes this humor rumor by teaching ordinary people the secrets of how to make people laugh. Believe it or not, humor can be learned as long as you have a little discipline.

After hearing Rory’s pragmatic and delightful program, your audience will:

  • Understand the psychology of what causes a laugh to happen. Have guaranteed formulas for getting laughs tomorrow. Learn how to overcome the fear of trying humor. Realize the benefits of adding laughter to their lives and the lives of those around them. Be disciplined about controlling their activity and their attitudes. Be more disciplined and Take The Stairs more often in the mall, the airport, and in life situations.

Top Producers Take The Stairs
Advanced Sales Training and the Habit of Self-Discipline
[Breakout Session Workshop 45 minutes up to 2 full days]

The number one cause of failure in sales is “creative avoidance”. Salespeople are constantly torn between the support work required to fulfill their service to their customers and with going out and prospecting for new business. Sales training is important to the success of a great salesperson, but what’s more important is cultivating a habit of self-discipline. The real secret to success in sales is being able to do the things you don’t want to do. Executive sales consultant and sales coach Rory Vaden shares a customizable combination of motivation and sales training techniques to help your producers reach the next level.

After hearing Rory’s practical and empowering speech, your salespeople will:

  • Overcome their call reluctance and take immediate prospecting action.
  • Become more focused on their critical success factors.
  • Feel comfortable and confident asking for the sale.
  • Have tools for dealing with gatekeepers, qualifying correctly, and selling on value over price.
  • Be disciplined about controlling their activity and their attitudes.
  • Be more disciplined and Take The Stairs more often in the mall, the airport, and in life situations.

The Audience is NOT in their Underwear
The Discipline of Mastering Presentation Skills
[Breakout Session Workshop 45 minutes - 4 hours]

Whether in front of an audience of 1 or 1000, presenting can be scary. Everybody knows that presentation skills are more important than ever and that there is an unspoken expectation that every presenter should be entertaining and engaging. What most people don’t know is that there are secret presentation techniques that even the best speakers in the world rely on to look better than they are. Applying these universal formulas is certain to not only increase your confidence as a presenter, but your income, as well. Toastmasters World Championship Finalist and professional speech coach Rory Vaden will help you overcome the fear of public speaking and enlighten you with some of the best techniques ever available.

After hearing Rory’s empowering and refreshing program, your audience will:

  • Be equipped to utilize the 4 quadrants of vocal variety to maximize persuasion and influence.
  • Instantly improve their charisma and confidence in front of groups.
  • Know the most effective ways of opening and closing a presentation.
  • Understand the techniques for keeping any audience engaged the entire time.
  • Have a story telling formula that is guaranteed to create emotional connection to any audience.
  • Be more disciplined and Take The Stairs more often in the mall, the airport, and in life situations.

Next Generation Marketing: Making Social Media Work For You In 30 Minutes Per Day
350 million people are on Facebook, 76 million are on Linked In, and the Tweeters are growing at an exponential rate. Social Media is not a fad, but an inevitable medium of future business communication. Yet some people are full of star-gazed cyber myths of becoming overnight millionaires or making their brand an overnight internet phenomenon. Some have the improper expectation that it’s the next “escalator” to success. It’s important to understand the reality of what social media will and won’t do and, most importantly, how to use social media effectively in your business. Social media expert Rory Vaden shares the discipline of managing these new tools to get real results for your business.

After hearing Rory’s entertaining and educational program, your audience will:

  • Understand blogs, Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter and how to use them for business.
  • Know how to grow their personal network to generate warm business leads.
  • Be able to use social media for free marketing, brand building, and effective follow up
  • Create a 30 minute to-do list for how to maximize their daily social media use.
  • Be more disciplined and Take the Stairs more often in the mall, the airport, and in life situations.


Rory Vaden Speaker Testimonials Back to top

    Partial Client List:

    ADT
    AIG
    AFLAC
    American Income Life
    American Marketing Association
    Arbonne
    Avon
    Bank of America
    Bank of the West
    Bankers Life and Casualty
    Chevrolet
    Chrysler
    Clear Channel
    Coldwell Banker
    Colorado State University
    Comdata
    Comerica
    Cox Media
    Crown Council
    DeRoyal
    Direct Selling Association
    ERA Real Estate
    FBLA
    HCA
    Helms Briscoe
    Hilton
    Honda
    Johnson Controls
    Kansas Department of Transportation
    Keller Williams
    Lexus
    Lucas Group
    Mass Mutual
    Mary Kay
    Mercedez Benz
    Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
    NAIFA
    National Speakers Association
    Nissan
    New York Life
    Oce
    Project Management Institute
    Provident Integrity Music
    Raymour & Flanigan
    RSM McGladrey
    The Southwestern Company
    Shaw Worldwide Carpet
    Staubach Commercial Real Estate
    Ticor Title
    Toastmasters International
    Toll Brothers
    Tom James
    Toyota
    Trane
    Transworld Sytems
    Unifirst
    United Healthcare
    United Title
    Wachovia
    Waddell and Reed
    Wells Fargo
    Western Southern Life Insurance
    Wildtree
    World Financial Group
    Yellowbook
    Young President’s Organization

    “Rory was delightfully entertaining and poignantly powerful. He is one of the few speakers I’ve ever heard where I actually remembered his message long after he was gone.”
    George Mora,
    #1 Keller Williams Team Worldwide




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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    Partial Client List:

    ADT
    AIG
    AFLAC
    American Income Life
    American Marketing Association
    Arbonne
    Avon
    Bank of America
    Bank of the West
    Bankers Life and Casualty
    Chevrolet
    Chrysler
    Clear Channel
    Coldwell Banker
    Colorado State University
    Comdata
    Comerica
    Cox Media
    Crown Council
    DeRoyal
    Direct Selling Association
    ERA Real Estate
    FBLA
    HCA
    Helms Briscoe
    Hilton
    Honda
    Johnson Controls
    Kansas Department of Transportation
    Keller Williams
    Lexus
    Lucas Group
    Mass Mutual
    Mary Kay
    Mercedez Benz
    Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
    NAIFA
    National Speakers Association
    Nissan
    New York Life
    Oce
    Project Management Institute
    Provident Integrity Music
    Raymour & Flanigan
    RSM McGladrey
    The Southwestern Company
    Shaw Worldwide Carpet
    Staubach Commercial Real Estate
    Ticor Title
    Toastmasters International
    Toll Brothers
    Tom James
    Toyota
    Trane
    Transworld Sytems
    Unifirst
    United Healthcare
    United Title
    Wachovia
    Waddell and Reed
    Wells Fargo
    Western Southern Life Insurance
    Wildtree
    World Financial Group
    Yellowbook
    Young President’s Organization

    “Rory was delightfully entertaining and poignantly powerful. He is one of the few speakers I’ve ever heard where I actually remembered his message long after he was gone.”
    George Mora,
    #1 Keller Williams Team Worldwide


    Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success
    Do you ride the escalator-or take the stairs?

    No matter how you define success, it always requires one thing: self-discipline. But as popular speaker and strategist Rory Vaden explains, we live in an "escalator world"-one that′s filled with shortcuts, quick fixes, and distractions that make it all too easy to slide into procrastination, compromise, and mediocrity. What seems like an easier path is really much harder in the end-and, most important, it won′t take you where you want to go.

    How do successful people stay focused and achieve results? This lively and insightful guide presents a simple program for taking the stairs-that is, for overcoming the temptations of quick fixes and procrastination, conquering creative avoidance, and transcending personal setbacks in order to tackle the work that leads to real success.

    Whatever your goals are, Rory Vaden′s proven approach will get you there-one stair at a time.
    Order Here





Take The Stairs
Success means doing things you don’t want to do
[Signature Motivational Speech 45 – 90 minutes]

Success is different for each of us but the path to get there has the same obstacles: fatigue, rejection, failure, distraction, burnout, complacency, and countless others.

And yet there is one common characteristic and one universal trait that virtually every single successful person must have before they add anything else; discipline – the discipline to do the things they don’t want to do. Self-discipline strategist and motivational speaker Rory Vaden shares key insights and erases common misconceptions about how to build lasting self-discipline.

After hearing Rory’s hilarious and compelling speech, your audience will:

  • Disregard their fear and take immediate action.
  • Develop an awareness of their own creative avoidance.
  • Stop making excuses and stop procrastinating.
  • Engage in happier, healthier more productive lifestyles.
  • Quit looking for shortcuts and get back to work.
  • Adopt an overall results-oriented attitude of discipline.
  • Be more disciplined and Take The Stairs more often in the mall, the airport, and in life situations

Rory Vaden has one of the most unique deliveries in the speaking world today. His charismatic presence and slightly irreverent message is gracefully delivered with a natural charm and just the right touch of humor. While he is definitely entertaining, you will see that his focus is moving the audience to action and creating results that long outlast his presentation.

Leaders Take The Stairs
Creating a Culture of Discipline in Your Organization
[Main Stage Speech 45 – 75 minutes]

Companies and organizations that make the leap to greatness have an almost fanatical mindset and mission of making short term sacrifices for a long-term vision.

It drives every part of their business, including accounting, hiring, training, leadership, marketing and so forth. But if you look in MBA curriculums or HR training programs, you won’t find anything that teaches leaders this pivotal skill. Here you will learn practical steps from entrepreneur and motivational speaker Rory Vaden for infusing your organization with a mentality of discipline.

After hearing Rory’s challenging and thought-provoking speech, your leaders will:

  • Develop stronger systems of accountability for measuring activity and results.
  • Critically evaluate every instance of company spending.
  • Have a game plan for popularizing the paradigm of discipline within the organization.
  • Be equipped to clarify the “Pain Paradox” for their team to get buy-in.
  • Enthusiastically adopt and model an attitude of discipline.
  • Be more disciplined and Take The Stairs more often in the mall, the airport, and in life situations.

No Laughs to Know Laughs
How to be Funny to Make More Money
[Breakout Session Workshop 45 minutes - 4 hours]

Work is always more fun if you can laugh along the way but it’s a rare gift to be able to make other people laugh. In fact, most of us think you are either born funny or you′re not, and it′s one of the most disempowering misconceptions of all time. Two-Time Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking Finalist and motivational speaker and humorist Rory Vaden explodes this humor rumor by teaching ordinary people the secrets of how to make people laugh. Believe it or not, humor can be learned as long as you have a little discipline.

After hearing Rory’s pragmatic and delightful program, your audience will:

  • Understand the psychology of what causes a laugh to happen. Have guaranteed formulas for getting laughs tomorrow. Learn how to overcome the fear of trying humor. Realize the benefits of adding laughter to their lives and the lives of those around them. Be disciplined about controlling their activity and their attitudes. Be more disciplined and Take The Stairs more often in the mall, the airport, and in life situations.

Top Producers Take The Stairs
Advanced Sales Training and the Habit of Self-Discipline
[Breakout Session Workshop 45 minutes up to 2 full days]

The number one cause of failure in sales is “creative avoidance”. Salespeople are constantly torn between the support work required to fulfill their service to their customers and with going out and prospecting for new business. Sales training is important to the success of a great salesperson, but what’s more important is cultivating a habit of self-discipline. The real secret to success in sales is being able to do the things you don’t want to do. Executive sales consultant and sales coach Rory Vaden shares a customizable combination of motivation and sales training techniques to help your producers reach the next level.

After hearing Rory’s practical and empowering speech, your salespeople will:

  • Overcome their call reluctance and take immediate prospecting action.
  • Become more focused on their critical success factors.
  • Feel comfortable and confident asking for the sale.
  • Have tools for dealing with gatekeepers, qualifying correctly, and selling on value over price.
  • Be disciplined about controlling their activity and their attitudes.
  • Be more disciplined and Take The Stairs more often in the mall, the airport, and in life situations.

The Audience is NOT in their Underwear
The Discipline of Mastering Presentation Skills
[Breakout Session Workshop 45 minutes - 4 hours]

Whether in front of an audience of 1 or 1000, presenting can be scary. Everybody knows that presentation skills are more important than ever and that there is an unspoken expectation that every presenter should be entertaining and engaging. What most people don’t know is that there are secret presentation techniques that even the best speakers in the world rely on to look better than they are. Applying these universal formulas is certain to not only increase your confidence as a presenter, but your income, as well. Toastmasters World Championship Finalist and professional speech coach Rory Vaden will help you overcome the fear of public speaking and enlighten you with some of the best techniques ever available.

After hearing Rory’s empowering and refreshing program, your audience will:

  • Be equipped to utilize the 4 quadrants of vocal variety to maximize persuasion and influence.
  • Instantly improve their charisma and confidence in front of groups.
  • Know the most effective ways of opening and closing a presentation.
  • Understand the techniques for keeping any audience engaged the entire time.
  • Have a story telling formula that is guaranteed to create emotional connection to any audience.
  • Be more disciplined and Take The Stairs more often in the mall, the airport, and in life situations.

Next Generation Marketing: Making Social Media Work For You In 30 Minutes Per Day
350 million people are on Facebook, 76 million are on Linked In, and the Tweeters are growing at an exponential rate. Social Media is not a fad, but an inevitable medium of future business communication. Yet some people are full of star-gazed cyber myths of becoming overnight millionaires or making their brand an overnight internet phenomenon. Some have the improper expectation that it’s the next “escalator” to success. It’s important to understand the reality of what social media will and won’t do and, most importantly, how to use social media effectively in your business. Social media expert Rory Vaden shares the discipline of managing these new tools to get real results for your business.

After hearing Rory’s entertaining and educational program, your audience will:

  • Understand blogs, Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter and how to use them for business.
  • Know how to grow their personal network to generate warm business leads.
  • Be able to use social media for free marketing, brand building, and effective follow up
  • Create a 30 minute to-do list for how to maximize their daily social media use.
  • Be more disciplined and Take the Stairs more often in the mall, the airport, and in life situations.


Keynote Speech Clips


In these speech clips, Rory begins with an expression that he says his mother always used to say, “Success is all about the choices that we make.” He asks the audience to think about the last time they were in front of a set of stairs and an escalator. “Did you take the stairs?” he asks. “Most people choose the escalator,” he explains. “It’s almost like we are naturally programmed to search for convenience, to look for the easy way.”

Rory concludes that the one thing that is true about success is that “success is not about taking the escalator. Success is about taking the stairs. It’s about doing the things that we know we should be doing, even when we don’t feel like doing them.” He goes on to discuss the “one simple word” that he says success comes down to, “discipline.”

Keynote Speech