Jim Cathcart Profile

One of the most recognized motivational and sales speakers in the world, Jim Cathcart was named one of the “Top Sales Influencers” by Top Sales World Magazine. He has been inducted both into the Speaker Hall of Fame and the Sales and Marketing Hall of Fame in London. His TEDx speech is one of their most viewed videos of the year, ranking in the top 1%. As the author of 16 books including Relationship Selling, Mr. Cathcart has long been a trendsetter in the business community.

Jim wasn’t always so internationally renown, though; as a young man he was an insurance agent and bill collector who repossessed log trucks in the mountains of northern Arkansas. Then one day while listening to motivational speaker and author Earl Nightingale on the radio, Jim had an epiphany regarding his career aspirations; he wanted to be a master of self-improvement.

He began studying psychology rigorously, attending seminars, and earning certifications in various programs. Through years of self-application combined with his previous job experience, Jim went from being a clerk to a manager to a leader, trainer, best-selling author, and professional speaker.

Today Jim has given more than 3,000 presentations worldwide on personal growth, customer service, and sales techniques. He is especially known for originating the behavioral science based “Acorn Principle,” a guide to help us understand the elements that make us who we are and who we want to be.

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    Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE, author, professional speaker and business leader, is the founder and CEO of Cathcart Institute, Inc. (founded in 1977), an organization devoted to helping clients Increase their Success Velocity™. Jim’s thirty nine years of study in applied behavioral science has resulted in The Acorn Principle, a guide to understanding the many elements that make us who we are. This breakthrough work achieved best-seller status online, as well as through traditional hardbound book channels. In fact, it was the nation’s #2 best-selling e-book in the year 2000, second only to Stephen King.

    As the author of 16 books including Relationship Selling, Mr. Cathcart has long been a trendsetter in the business community. He has his own TV show on and has delivered over 3,000 speeches around the world. His next book is titled Success Velocity™: Reduce the Gap, Raise the Angle, Manage the Speed. Among professional speakers, Jim is a world leader: recipient of The Golden Gavel Award from Toastmasters International for 2001, Past President of the National Speakers Association (NSA), winner of the Cavett Award, member of the Speaker Hall of Fame (CPAE), Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), and a 29 year member of the exclusive Speakers Roundtable, 20 of the world′s top speakers.

    Jim sits on numerous boards of directors, including the management school advisory board for California Lutheran University. He’s an Artist in Residence for High Point University and Entrepreneur in Residence at CLU. In 2003, he founded The 101 Leaders Alliance to identify, encourage, develop and learn from the people in the L.A.-Ventura Corridor who are making a difference through personal leadership. If you want to inspire your people to take initiative and make a difference, bring in Jim Cathcart, a man who has done it.

Jim Cathcart Speaking Videos

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Jim Cathcart's Speech Descriptions

Self-made man and global inspiration, Jim Cathcart brings stories and observations that hit the mark. As someone who has been recognized internationally for taking charge of his own destiny, Jim is an excellent choice for anyone in sales, management, customer service, or any type of business looking to stay ahead of the competition. Jim has inspired thousands of audiences worldwide to envision their future and take action to make those visions a reality. His nurturing “Acorn Principle” presentation has been featured in one of TedX Talk’s most viewed videos.


Intelligent Motivation for a Challenging World
Knowledge and Skill will not win the day, but Confident Action can change your world. Learn how to increase your drive, strengthen your discipline, and sustain the action that is needed to succeed. Intelligent Motivation (tm) is determining what is important, identifying what action is needed, and doing what is necessary to generate and sustain that action until your desired outcome is achieved. It is Conscious, Objective, Intentional & Relentless Action on Vision, Focus, Standards, Meaning, Agreements, Measures & Rewards. In this program, Jim will teach you how to inspire vision, take focused action, create firm standards, make your work more meaningful, develop clear agreements, accurate measures, and appealing rewards.

Relationship Selling

The Eight Competencies of Sales Excellence
We need to rethink how we connect with our customers and suppliers, before our competition does. When Jim Cathcart wrote the book Relationship Selling it was considered revolutionary. Today it is considered standard practice. This presentation shows you what to listen for, how to be natural in your selling style, and how to connect with the underlying elements in buying psychology that most people never heard of.


Rethinking Ourselves For a New Era
"If you can′t lead yourself, please don′t lead others." The most popular methods of leadership, management, sales and service delivery are already dangerously out of date. New technologies require new ways of thinking. Every day another standard practice becomes obsolete. To continue to grow and thrive we must learn to constantly Rethink: our markets, our systems, our relationships, our strategies and ourselves. This presentation combines stories, visuals, research and audience interaction to dramatically improve the way we think and act.

Helping People Grow

The Acorn Principle
Every person can be very good at certain things, but most people don′t know what those things are. Jim shows people how to find and grow their natural strengths so that they can always be self-motivated. Based on nine years of psychological research into personal effectiveness. A fascinating exploration of what makes us who we are, and how to use it.

Lifetime Customer Loyalty

The Grandma Factor
When you find meaning in what you do, you bring value to what you do. Everyone knows how to provide good service; our challenge is getting them to want to. The real magic in customer service comes from discretionary efforts, when people go beyond their job description. This presentation focuses on the ways systems, strategies, standards and relationships impact service. Jim teaches building your clientele through "Up-Serving."

Jim Cathcart on Speaking

I’m a performer at heart and can’t wait to get in front of a group and bring them some value.

SPEAKING.COM: What do you find most rewarding, speaking or writing books?

CATHCART: Both, but for different reasons. I love writing, thinking, collaborating, researching and publishing. And, I also really love speaking, training and coaching. I’m a performer at heart and can’t wait to get in front of a group and bring them some value. When I reflect on my career of over 3,000 speeches and 16 books I find that both of them give me great satisfaction. I want to help people succeed any way I can reach them.

SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn / take away from your presentations?

CATHCART: I want people to have more admiration for what they do – and why it matters. I want them to feel more confident in their abilities and I want them to feel motivated to become even better every day. I also want them to treasure the connections they have and can have with others.

SPEAKING.COM: How to you prepare for your speaking engagements?

CATHCART: I once tracked every action I took to prepare for a presentation and found that I was spending 28 unique hours of focused attention on each one or two hour speech. Today that is much less because I’ve streamlined many of the steps but I still research every client online and through telephone or in person conversations or site visits.

I always show up early on site and make myself accessible 24/7 while I’m there. I also stay out of the way until it’s my turn to speak. The meeting planner has many more things to focus on without having to worry about their speaker. On the day before and the day of my speech I review ALL of my notes on this engagement. I want it in the front of my mind, not in a file in my memory.

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

CATHCART: I’ve had many! I’ve driven all night in a rainstorm to fulfill a non-paid speech for a friend in need. I’ve spoken to adversarial audiences who were being fired or forced to do something they didn’t want to do. Once I was brought into a meeting in a rodeo arena in a monster truck at full speed and then had to jump down to the stage (in my suit and wingtip shoes). I’ve delivered a speech after dinner and excessive cocktails had overwhelmed the audience. As emcee of an event where Bruce Jenner was speaking I appeared in a cameo role on “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”

I’ve had buildings catch on fire; I’ve led building evacuations; power outages (speaking in the dark); medical emergencies; a drunk staggering in to our meeting and challenging me to a fight; a death notice just before my introduction; loud events next door to our meeting; sound systems that didn’t work; I’ve had to reset a full meeting room myself because a surly houseman got it wrong; I’ve had my time cut from 1 hour to 15 minutes and I’ve filled in for other speakers who couldn’t make it.

I’ve given a speech outdoors by a pool while topless sunbathers lounged nearby (talk about handling distractions!). I’ve been booked for one speech and then scheduled for two in the printed program. I’ve had a cynical client tell me at the event, “We won’t be paying you because we are in financial trouble and so you’ll just have to sue me.” That was before I gave my speech! (I gave the speech anyway and swallowed the fee and expenses.).

BUT, I’ve also had some of the finest experiences a person could dream of: I keynoted the opening ceremonies of the US Special Olympics before 13,500 people; had 1,000 people chanting “We Love Jim!” recently as I entered the convention at another event; I’ve met the president of the United States in the White House; stayed at luxurious hotels and resorts; had helicopter tours of Australia; completed motorcycle adventures in the Alps and the Rockies; had back stage access to celebrities and enjoyed world-class everything!

This is the greatest career I can imagine. I have been blessed so much that I doubt I’d have experienced more if I were a movie star or Olympic champion. Thank you God for this truly blessed life!

Those who relate best to my message are those who wish to take charge of their own success and do what is needed to make it happen. That is usually entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders at all levels plus sales people.

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

CATHCART: People who want to succeed are my best audience; Success-Seekers is what I call them. Those who relate best to my message are those who wish to take charge of their own success and do what is needed to make it happen. That is usually entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders at all levels plus sales people. I can motivate the line workers too but it’s the decision-makers and action-takers who get it best.

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

CATHCART: I only speak on my favorite topics so all of them appeal to me. My belief is that life can be more abundant for everyone; so all of my talks are designed to help people find more reasons to believe in themselves and to see how to take initiative to make their world better and to serve others better.

SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?

CATHCART: When I heard Earl Nightingale on the radio and then on tape back in the 1970s I was inspired and decided that I wanted to learn to do what he was doing: I wanted to help people succeed. But first I needed to become successful, so I followed his advice fanatically for over 5 years and then became a speaker to teach others to do the same.

In 1972 I heard Earl on the radio. In 1974 I was selling his recordings door to door to businesses and in 1984 Earl’s company was selling my recordings. In the first 2 years of publication my first Nightingale product “Relationship Strategies” (coauthored with Dr. Tony Alessandra) sold over $3 ½ million dollars worldwide.

When Earl passed away his widow Diana and I were the only 2 speakers on his memorial program. The audience was hundreds of his fellow speakers and friends, including his son. Think of that! I heard him on the radio when I was a government clerk in 1972 and after his messages helped me transform my life I ended up being invited to be the only outside speaker at this great man’s memorial service. What a privilege and honor.

My main goal is to engage my audience in active consideration of the ideas through interaction, examples, stories, laughter, exercises, visuals and adding entertainment (like guitar) when appropriate.

SPEAKING.COM: How much do case studies, personal stories and/or humor factor into your keynote speech content?

CATHCART: I am a “playful” presenter with a serious message. My style is casual and professional. I interact directly with my audience and become their friend and fellow learner. My talks are filled with personal stories and examples.

My main goal is to engage my audience in active consideration of the ideas through interaction, examples, stories, laughter, exercises, visuals and adding entertainment (like guitar) when appropriate. I’m always appropriate to the nature of the event whether it is formal or casual.

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

CATHCART: My first long-term client was the Tulsa agency of Mass Mutual Life. I worked with them for 6 years and we went from struggling to survive to winning the President’s Trophy twice in 5 years.
My role was sales coach and management advisor.

Another company’s audience member in Chicago took my “Daily Question” idea and became their international sales leader, then went on to become a multi-millionaire business owner.

I’ve led a volunteer team of 75 people to raise $240,000 in one night at the first public event ever held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library’s Air Force One Pavilion (Oct. 2005).

One current client has brought me back 9 times now to inspire their top sales leaders and they are ranked in the top 50 in their field by Training & Development magazine.

Another current client has me on a multi-year contract to grow their leadership team.

My 110 video programs on are highly popular and we are growing a broad base of new subscribers.

In my own industry I led the transformation of the National Speakers Association through the creation of their Professional Competencies system for profession education and certification. I was their national president and served 10 years on the board.

As co-creator of The Professional Speaking Institute I’ve trained scores of other speakers, authors and celebrities in the growth of their careers and refinement of their skills. It is one of my greatest life satisfactions to see how others have used my ideas to transform their own lives and careers. Exclusive Interview with Jim Cathcart
Relationships, Customer Service and Success with Jim Cathcart
In this interview, Jim discusses:

• "UpServing" versus "UpSelling."
• Self-awareness and knowing your nature.
• How to connect with people profitably, not merely persuading them to buy. Read the Full Interview

"I define a relationship as: a direct connection between people in which value is exchanged."
- Jim Cathcart

What People are Saying about Seeing Jim Speak

Rating Entries

I just attended the online APSS master class in Singapore .
Amazing tips on Sales process and best tips on Professional speaking .


“Jim was very accommodating and flexible. He demonstrated a high degree of professionalism with our conference attendees. We were happy to have him, thank you! We will definitely recommend him to others.”
Elm Resources
(Event Booked by Speakers Platform)

“You really did blow me away. You were the rage of our conference. Not only was your style and warmth fantastic, but the quality of the knowledge and material you presented was absolutely incredible!”
Ken Blanchard, author, “The One Minute Manager”

“You were incredible. Your program held the attendees on the edge of their seat. It wasn′t just entertaining, it was useful and can be applied immediately.”
Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc.

“We had high hopes. You exceeded all our expectations….and you were a delight to work with.”
McRae′s Department Stores

“Jim, you are the first professional speaker I have brought into this organization. Our distributors, from all over the U.S., Canada and a dozen foreign countries were absolutely delighted with your comments, observations and humor. The standing ovation they gave you at the end of your presentation is a clear statement of how they felt about you.”
Brian Tracy International

“…you were right on target in your message to our people… obviously did your homework… found the right message to really reach our people and leave a meaningful message and impression. My compliments on a job exceptionally well done!”
Purina Mills, Inc.

“I was overwhelmed with people coming up to me and saying what a great speaker you were!”
National Westminster Bancorp, Inc.

“Personally, I was also impressed with the time you took… to learn more about Melroe Company, our products, and our people. I would like the ability to give each of our field representatives a copy of the video tape of your remarks for use for internal dealership training.”
Melroe Company

“Thanks for being a real person, not a personality … for being prepared, on time and gracious …. for telling stories, not lecturing… for hitting the mark. Our managers walked away inspired.”
Bombay Co.

Partial Client List:

  • ASAE
  • Motorola
  • Mass Mutual
  • Prudential
  • Norwest Bank
  • Becton Dickinson
  • John Deere
  • Levi Strauss
  • U.S. Air Force
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    Books by Jim Cathcart:

    The Eight Competencies of Relationship Selling: How to Reach the Top 1% in Just 15 Extra Minutes a Day (Hardcover)

    If you were to spend just fifteen minutes each day gaining one new sales idea or sharpening a skill, within just a few years you could become an industry leader. THE EIGHT COMPETENCIES gives you the simple essential elements for your self-directed performance improvement. As you grow your knowledge base, you will gain self-mastery. This competency based book involves the incorporation of “emotional intelligence” into your sales career as well as the profit-focused “hard-skills.”

    Jim Cathcart’s sales philosophy is quite simple – Business should be practiced as an act of friendship, rather than merely as a process of negotiation. It is about connecting with people profitably, not merely persuading them to buy.

    Order Here

    The Acorn Principle: Know Yourself, Grow Yourself

    Cathcart, a popular motivational speaker easily as successful as Anthony Robbins or Stephen Covey, condenses his self-discovery module into a self-awareness system based on discovering and learning to work with one′s true nature. He claims that if all adults explore how their values, type of intelligence, velocity (high, medium, low), background, behavior patterns, and thinking/learning styles operate they can find healthier, happier, livelier relationships.

    Once the reader works through the book and discovers his or her “acorn profile,” it becomes a useful tool for self-definition and developing appropriate, complementary relationships at home and at work. Each chapter is peppered with thought-provoking questions and exercises. Recommended for collections requiring more in the motivational psychology/personal success sections.

    Order Here

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