Dave Mitchell Profile

  • For over 20 years, Mitchell has been a sough-out speaker on communication styles, conflict resolution, and interpersonal relationships.

  • Mitchell's light-hearted science-based programs have helped organizations strengthen their teams, increase sales and client satisfaction, and raise employee engagement and performance.

  • Mitchell is the author of two critically acclaimed communication books, Live and Learn or Die Stupid! and The Power of Understanding People.
  • Dave Mitchell turned over a decade of managerial and leadership experience in the corporate world into a means of helping people better understand others’ needs. Mitchell is the founder and president of the corporate training firm, The Leadership Difference, which has completed more than 2,000 “enter-TRAIN-ment” events, making a lasting impression on 350,000 participants and counting.

    Mitchell launched his professional career in broadcasting, working in radio and later as a reporter and producer for CBS. Eager to share his extensive knowledge of organizational development, he made a career shift to training, and due to his “laugh and learn” delivery style, quickly became an in-demand speaker and seminar leader in the corporate world. He is ranked among Meetings and Conventions Magazine’s “Meeting Planners Favorite Speakers 2015” and his popular seminar “The Power of Understanding People” was named the Meeting Madness award winner at the World Education Congress in Las Vegas. Attendees who have applied Mitchell’s techniques have improved their team dynamics, increased sales and client satisfaction, raised levels of employee engagement and performance, and even strengthened their marriages and friendships.

    Mitchell’s most popular speaking topics and fun tone are captured in the titles of his two critically acclaimed books Live and Learn or Die Stupid! and The Power of Understanding People, the latter of which was an Amazon Editors Choice for Best Business Book and continues to be one of Amazon’s best-sellers within the categories of “Communication” and “Motivational.”

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio
        • Dave graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Illinois University with a degree in mass communications and business administration. Later, he obtained a masters degree in global human resources development from the University of Illinois. He founded the Leadership Difference, Inc. in 1995 and serves as President and primary service provider. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

      Dave began his professional career in broadcasting (starting in radio when he was 17) and upon graduation worked as a television reporter for a CBS network affiliate. He eventually became a producer for CBS and then decided to transfer his skills to a career in organizational development. Spending 11 years in corporate human resources and organizational development, Dave’s next career stop was at Marshall Field’s and Company as their Corporate Manager of Training and Development and later worked at the Buena Vista Hospitality Group in Orlando as Vice President of Human Resources and Quality. His experience with these organizations and frequent requests to speak at professional associations provided a springboard, in 1995, for launching the Leadership Difference.

      Dave’s style is often best described by a term he coined – enter-train-ment. Dave takes great pride in using proven principles in applied performance and cognitive psychology and delivering a high impact training experience that is also incredibly entertaining. The over 40 courses and keynotes created and delivered by Dave are designed to bring laughter, joy and insight, hence the company’s motto, “laugh and learn!” Dave’s clients include AT&T, Allstate Insurance, Chase Manhattan Banks, Citi Group, Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, General Dynamics, Electrolux Appliances, SubZero/Wolf Appliances, Trek Bikes, National Association of Realtors, Hilton Worldwide and the CIA.

      Participants consistently rate Dave’s presentations very highly, with comments such as: “absolutely amazing,” “life-changing” and “best training we’ve ever experienced.” The keynotes, team-building events and training programs that Dave provides focus on leadership, selling skills, customer service and enhancement of individual and team performance.

      In 2006, Dave released his first book “Live and Learn or Die Stupid” about his life experiences and the pursuit of happiness. In the first month of it’s release, it shot to the top of his publisher’s best seller’s list. In December 2013, Dave’s second book was released, “The Power of Understanding People.” Dave is also a Certified Advanced Wine Sommelier as recognized by the International Wine Guild. As a result, Dave can deliver wine-themed team building events like “What is Your Wine Personality” and “Are You America’s Next Top Winemaker.”

      Dave has been on the board of advisors of two Florida colleges, served as a board member for several professional organizations, is recognized for his volunteerism and fundraising, has written numerous articles for professional magazines and newsletters and retired (survived) after three successful years as baseball coach at the Tee Ball level.

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    Dave Mitchell's Speech Descriptions

    Dave Mitchell merges his expertise with your group’s current needs. Whether addressing conflict management or connecting with customers, every presentation is founded in a keen understanding of real human behavior and customized to fit your organization’s culture. Furthermore, Mitchell delivers every presentation with a contagious sense of excitement and passion that will create a lasting impression on your group.

    Participants consistently rate Dave’s presentations very highly, with comments such as: “absolutely amazing,” “life-changing” and “best training we’ve ever experienced.” The keynotes, team-building events and training programs that Dave provides focus on leadership, selling skills, customer service and enhancement of individual and team performance. Some of the specific programs that are sought after by top companies include:

    Live and Learn or Die Stupid explores the characteristics of happy, successful people. Using audience interaction, comedy and introspection, Dave and the audience discover what it takes to achieve self-contentment. Taken from Dave’s popular book of the same name!

    Live and Learn or Die Stupid – The Workshop –
    This expansion on the popular keynote and book includes a series of worksheets, exercises and activities that will provide participants with a plan for meaningful life change. Do you want to be happier, more productive, more motivated, more satisfied…whatever personal improvement goals you may have, this workshop provides the means for achieving them!

    How Great Leaders Think applies the concepts from Live and Learn or Die Stupid to leadership and performance. How do you obtain and sustain your full potential while remaining resilient and balanced in your life? How do you create a high performance culture and successfully obtain exceptional results from work teams?

    The Power of Understanding of People- Hollywood Style provides a better understanding of diverse communication styles. Based on Jungian psychology, it’s the perfect combination of pertinent human dynamics; laugh out loud humor and audience interaction.

    The Heart and Art of Service will make your clients come racing back for more of what you have to offer. Through a series of dynamic, humorous real-life stories Dave will help your team discover how to identify each customer’s “service hot button” and ensure that you exceed their expectations. From building rapport to executing service recovery, this seminar covers the entire customer service dynamic.

    Selling Luxury Items
    There is a big difference between being a sales person and a sales consultant and today’s discerning consumer demands the latter. Learn the unique perspective of luxury consumers and how to take your selling skills to the next level to meet the expectations of this growing and influential demographic.

    Consultative Selling: Expanding Your Market Share
    Participants will learn how to better understand the needs of diverse types of consumers leading to higher closing rates. This course examines the behavioral cues of consumers, how to adjust your rapport building skills to better appeal to the consumer and how to frame your products and services so that they resonate with the customer. Finally, we examine how to effectively handle objections from the consumer. Increase your sales by expanding your market share and increasing your close rate!

    A Call to Action- Persuasive Presentation Skills provides participants a chance to conquer their fear of public speaking and will transform your team into self-assured, persuasive presenters. This multi-day program includes classroom instruction, practice, evaluation, video-taping and follow-up written reviews. This high impact seminar is also a must for trainers, executives and marketing professionals.

    Breakthrough Leadership: How Great Leaders Think will guide your team to a new level of sustained and consistent high performance. Dave will lead the participants through an interactive session of team building, conquering with constant change and shifting from extrinsic to intrinsic needs fulfillment.

    Dialectic Thinking: It’s the Issue, Not the Person focuses exclusively on resolving conflict. Dave uses the “Rules of Engagement” to help attendees adopt a more effective mental approach to conflict, reducing concerns to issues rather than to people. Further, this class focuses on a step-by-step model for approaching, discussing and ultimately resolving issues that divide individuals.

    Becoming Resilient! focuses on the personal characteristics of high performers and how we can develop these attributes within ourselves. Is it possible to excel in all aspects of your life without burning out? This course examines each attendee’s strengths and potential vulnerabilities as they strive to maximize their potential. Life changing!

    What is Your Wine Personality? provides the opportunity to educate new salespeople on the fine art of business entertaining. This program ties valuable wine knowledge to communication styles and can be used as a team building event, teach rapport building techniques or to treat your VIP clients to an evening of fun.

    Are You America’s Next Top Winemaker?
    This team building activity allows participants to learn about wine making and each other while they develop their very own wine. Watch team members bond during the naming of their wine, creating their blend, developing a marketing plan and submitting their creation to a panel of judges. Hugely entertaining!

    Dave Mitchell on Speaking

    I am fortunate in that I have many long time and repeat customers, so I get to know the culture and language of the organization. That is so helpful.

    SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How do you prepare for your speaking engagements?

    MITCHELL: Well, there is that ritual I have involving a fifth of Russian vodka and three circus clowns, but I prefer to keep that private.

    Otherwise, I like to speak to my client a few times on the phone to understand the specific outcomes they are hoping for at the meeting overall and my presentation specifically.

    I am fortunate in that I have many long time and repeat customers, so I get to know the culture and language of the organization. That is so helpful.

    Sometimes I have the good fortune to visit my client’s sites and immerse myself in their operation to fully understand their business model. It is also very helpful for me to have context relative to the other presentations and content so I can support the flow and narrative theme of the event.

    The month leading up to the event is very critical in getting myself aligned with the conference goals. And about an hour before my presentation, I call the clowns.

    SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?

    MITCHELL: If you are referring to the pictures on the internet, my lawyer has advised me to not comment. Oh, not that? Sorry, my bad.

    I have been blessed to speak all over the world. In addition to the many amazing cities and venues I have experienced in the United States, I have spoken in Italy, Spain, England, France, Scotland and many other beautiful countries.

    One of my most unusual engagements was teaching sales presentation skills to a group in Rio di Janeiro, Brazil. The city was amazing and the client and the class participants were beyond charming. Unfortunately, they spoke very little English, and I spoke no Portuguese. We spent two days together navigating the transfer of learning without the benefit of speaking each other’s language. While it was certainly challenging at the time, we all came away with so many incredible insights. Their enthusiasm and eagerness was as infectious as any group I have ever worked with. Having said that, I would probably recommend that I be used in situations where the audience understands what I am saying.

    I hesitate to even discuss this other situation for fear of jinxing my 20 year streak of having never missed a speaking engagement. That requires both a commitment to rock solid logistics and personal health as well as some dumb luck. The one time that my streak was in danger was completely my own doing.

    A pilot friend of mine offered to fly me to an event that was about six hours away by car. He assured me that the flight would take about two hours in a small, private plane. Unfortunately, small private planes do not have the same level of priority at airports. They also don’t have air conditioning. Consequently, the two-hour flight in the Florida summer heat became nearly a four-hour flight, and I arrived at my event looking like a drowned rat about 15 minutes before I was scheduled on stage. I lost at least five years of my life expectancy that day.

    The overwhelming majority of my presentations are well organized by my client and involve highly engaged audiences who humble me with their enthusiastic reception of my ideas. I have had many standing ovations, not an easy feat for a person who teaches applied cognitive psychology. Those are the memories that make the 150,000 miles of travel each year worth it.

    The wonderful thing about speaking about applied cognitive psychology is that the topic applies to any organization with people.

    SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?

    MITCHELL: The wonderful thing about speaking about applied cognitive psychology is that the topic applies to any organization with people.

    My most popular program is “The Power of Understanding People,” which at its most basic level is a communications class. What organization doesn’t struggle with communication? Heck, most marriages struggle with communication.

    So, I guess the type of audience that would most benefit from my message is any group that wants to be a more effective communicator, leader, sales professional, service provider, friend, spouse and/or parent. Other than that, no one really.

    SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?

    MITCHELL: Asking a speaker which topic is their favorite is akin to asking a parent which child they love the most. What is more important than the topic is the client’s need.

    I am thrilled to be able to deliver education that addresses critical issues for the members of my audience. In that regard, I think the two programs that are the most universal in their relevance are “The Power of Understanding People” and “Live and Learn or Die Stupid.” Both became popular books for good reason. The former speaks to strengthening our relationships both personally and professionally while the latter turns attention inward to consider how we can become more content and better performers in all aspects of our lives. I think those topics really resonate with audiences.

    As an educator, I love any program that impacts the attendees and facilitates positive life choices going forward.

    I am most proud of the stories I hear from individuals telling me that my seminar has made a positive impact on relationships, their performance, and their life.

    SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the successes you’ve helped clients make?

    MITCHELL: It sounds a bit self-promoting, but I get emails or tweets or Facebook messages virtually every day from people who have attended my seminars and used the material to enhance work and/or personal relationships in their lives.

    I have helped companies achieve big, hairy goals like the internationally known insurance company who used my training course to help them achieve the highest customer satisfaction scores in their history or the national home builder who invited me to work with their lowest performing division (based on J.D. Power scores). That division went from worst in the company to first in the company in three quarters.

    While those large scale successes are gratifying, I am most proud of the stories I hear from individuals telling me that my seminar has made a positive impact on relationships, their performance, and their life.

    When you travel 200 – 250 days a year and have for 20 years, those stories make it worthwhile. That, and the circus clowns, of course. Exclusive Interview with Dave Mitchell
    Maximizing Happiness and Contentment
    In this interview, Dave discusses:
      • The difference between contentment and happiness.
      • How making a happiness checklist can counterbalance the negativity in one's life.
      • The importance of understanding the intrinsic needs of others.
      • Consultive Selling and how it can expand a company's market share. Read the Full Interview

    "Being content requires that you feel good about yourself, what you have achieved so far and that you have reconciled your potential with your performance, your goals with your situation."
    - Dave Mitchell

    What People are Saying about Seeing Dave Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Investing in Dave Mitchell was the best business decision I have ever made.”

    –Willis Chrans, Founder and Chairman of The Avitus Group

    “Thank you for the difference you made yesterday in my life. Thank you for bringing valuable information, inspiration and passion in an entertaining way that kept our attention. You are a master at your craft and it was an honor to be in your audience.”

    –Chris Story, Alaska Association of REALTORS

    “Of all of the trainings I have attended through SOE, our trade partners, and outside improvement courses I have taken, this was by far the best…It was a very valuable use of time and I thank you for the opportunity. In fact, I would be willing to pay my own money on my own time to attend an advanced session with this trainer… Not only did the program strengthen the natural abilities within me, it very positively pointed out, weaknesses and flaws that I have been blind to…I would have sat in the Hilton for many more hours with no objection. I don’t say this about too many trainings but I was so impressed that I had to let you know just how much of an impact this program can have.”
    – Frank Fromme, Standards of Excellence (Sears)

    “I have managed businesses for the past 15 years and been involved in dozens of sales training seminars. In short Dave’s presentation was the best I’ve ever witnessed. His ability to excite the audience, adapt real life experience to the industry being addressed and instruct an auditorium full of sales persons, managers and business owners on the inner workings of the human psyche was incomparable…In times where closing ratios matter more; Dave showed us how to get it done. I would highly recommend Dave for speaking on any engagement. His ability to interact with the crowd, completely control the room, and fully understand the subject matter at hand was amazing.”

    – Mike Jackson, World of Powersports, Inc.

    “Thank you for “YOUR” amazing high energy (7:30am) presentation….the entire team couldn’t stop talking about it all day -“the best speaker we have ever had” “I didn’t want it to end” “I would come in every day at 7:30am to listen to him” “I learned so much-and had fun during the whole process” “when can we have him back” and the list goes on! You truly are my favorite…Your raving fan, Julie”

    – Julie Benson, Hilton Grand Vacation Club

    “He’s an absolute professional. He promises a lot but delivers more. He more than over delivers- he hits it out of the park.”

    – Roger Bird, TREK Bicycle Corporation

    “I wanted to take a moment and thank you for providing extra value to our business; specifically, your investment in Dave Mitchell. The Program on Seven Lessons is best in class. We have changed our hiring process and implemented CI events. After execution of this program we noticed immediate and profound results.”

    – Steve Levine, Cycling Spoken Here

    “I have been a student of the art of selling my entire life and would rank the presentation as the very best I have ever attended. This statement really means something, I believe, because I have attended literally thousands of meetings to improve my sales skills and facilitated hundreds of others in my 46 year appliance career.”

    – Don Van Eeghen, Airport Home Appliance

    “I had a great time. Jeff mentioned maybe doing another round with you in the summer. If that is the case, I told our President/CEO that we need to shut the office down to attend. Our whole staff needs to laugh and learn like that; you do an excellent job. You’re fabulous!”

    – Alex Tyson, Vice President – Billings Chamber of Commerce

    “At the beginning of last year, Avitus Group management began developing new ways to help our employees be more productive. We also decided to roll out a new compensation plan that would award increased productivity, ongoing professional development, and innovation/creativity. One of the key areas we have struggled in is communication and I knew if we didn’t provide the employees some training in this area the positive moves we were making could backfire. Enter Dave Mitchell. Before my huge crowd of skeptics, particularly upper level management, Dave began his training. Within minutes the entire room was captivated. It was amazing. They laughed until they cried. Of course I naturally got complaints afterwards: “Why didn’t you have Dave longer? We want more.

    The most important thing is that everyone still remembers and applies the methods and tactics we learned. I get asked every other week, “When’s Dave coming back?” When you can get people begging for additional training and create a desire for personal and professional growth, there has definitely been an impact. By the way, Avitus Group is wrapping up our best year in the history of the company (in a down economy). I not only highly recommend Dave Mitchell and The Leadership Difference, I plan on Avitus Group having a long-term relationship. For us, his training means growth and superior performance for Avitus Group.”

    – Jeff Thomas, Director of Marketing – Avitus Group

    “Your sessions were fantastic, the best I have been to in several years of coming to this conference (NAR Association Executive Institute).”

    – Tessa Hultz, RCE, ePRO, Chief Executive Officer, Wichita Area Association of REALTORS, Inc.

    “Thank you again for a great morning – wow what a great session – learned so much and laughed until my side hurt.”

    – DaVina Lara, Association Executive, HSJAOR

    “I can’t tell you how much the Association Executives enjoyed your program and the book! I have never received such glowing reviews from any speaker we have had in the past… and trust me, we have had a lot!! You were just great and just what they needed. I will absolutely look at future programs and get you back. Thanks so much!”

    – Lottie Elam, California Association of REALTORS

    “I wanted to send you a quick note to thank you, Nancy and everyone else at the HBA who brought Dave Mitchell to us in Portland! His talk was absolutely amazing. I learned so many things about myself, about my family and about the people that we work with in the HBA. I can’t remember the last time I laughed as much as I did yesterday morning. The tools he gave us are going to be invaluable as we move forward with our business and will certainly shine light on some of those people we have a hard time connecting with. If ever there was a way to bring him back for another session, I would make sure I was among the first to sign up! I would also recommend it to everyone I know – his information is a great fit for anyone.”

    – Abigail Adams, Classic Electric, LLC

    “The speaker, Dave Mitchell was intelligent and probably one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard. I was actually disappointed when it ended because I think I could have listened to him all day.”

    – Nancy Long, Sisu Painting, Inc.

      Partial Client List:

      Allstate Insurance
      Chase Manhattan Banks
      Citi Group
      Universal Studios
      Walt Disney World
      General Dynamics
      Electrolux Appliances
      SubZero/Wolf Appliances
      Trek Bikes
      National Association of Realtors
      Hilton Worldwide
      The CIA

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    Books by Dave Mitchell:

      Live and Learn or Die Stupid!: The Struggle for Happiness

      Dave Mitchell has spoken to over 200,000 people since he founded this corporate training firm, the Leadership Difference, in 1995. Over that time his seminar – Live and Learn or Die Stupid! – has been among his most popular programs. During his presentation, Dave would share stories of his own struggle to achieve a healthy balance between professional and personal excellence. Is it possible to realize your full potential at work and still be an exemplary spouse, parent and friend? Is it possible to achieve true contentedness?

      Over time, Dave assembled several critical personal characteristics that seemed essential to this pursuit of contentedness. Culled from his work with other professionals, his conversations with colleagues and from personal introspection; these attributes formed what Dave called, “a checklist for maximizing happiness.” Thousands of exuberant comments from attendees at his seminars – words like “life changing,” “the most important seminar I have ever experienced,” and simply, “Incredible,” indicated that Dave had touched a nerve.

      Finally, with the release of the book Live and Learn…or Die Stupid!, you can experience the content of Dave Mitchell’s popular “enter-train-ment” seminar.

      Order Here

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