I recently had the opportunity to listen to speaker Laurie Guest.  Not only is she an amazing person, she is also one of my absolute favorite speakers.  Laurie is super bright, funny and insightful.  She posted a blog entitled:  What I Learned by Watching 15 Speakers in 2015.  Laurie was kind enough to include a review of my National Speakers Association July keynote in her blog, #NSA Influence 2015. Nice Bike, Laurie! — Mark

What I Learned by Watching 15 Speakers in 2015
Mark Scharenbroich: A Perfect 13th Donut

By Laurie Guest, CSP

I included Mark Scharenbroich’s presentation as a bonus item because he did not technically meet the criteria of my project  (Watching 15 Professionals Speakers in 2015). My parameters said the speech had to be in front of a fee-based, non-NSA audience. However, when I saw his speech at the NSA Convention in D.C., I knew I had to include him in this article. He is here because I honestly do not believe a keynote can be done any better than the one he delivered.

For anyone reading this who is not familiar with Mark Scharenbroich, his signature phrase of “nice bike” is a compliment, a bonding statement between two people. From the very first time I heard a segment of his key note speech several years ago, I wanted to hear Mark say “nice bike” to me after one of my speeches. I wasn’t exactly sure how I could make that happen since we don’t run into each other on the road. Maybe I would have to figure out some “six degrees of separation” thing. Then it happened. After my short spot on the main stage at the NSA Convention this year, I saw him in the hotel foyer. Because I’d never spoken to him before, I felt awkward with the idea of just walking up and introducing myself. Was I ever surprised when he stepped over to me, said a couple of very complimentary things about my work, gave me that wicked grin of his, and then said, “Nice bike!” BOOM! Cross it off the life list!

But it is Mark who got the resounding “nice bike!” from every person I encountered after the convention. Hands down, it was one of the most impressive speeches I have ever witnessed. There were so many positive qualities. From the intricate weaving of stories, to the voices he used, to the characters who came to life, to the flawless delivery, it was all fantastic. His speech was so good in fact, the association sent a DVD to every member as a gift, a bonus item, which is a perfect example of a 13th donut, the little extra that you didn’t pay for and comes as a surprise.

I’ve watched the video several more times as a training tool and I have been thinking a lot about how I can offer a 13th donut to my audiences.

In December of 2015, Mark Scharenbroich and Eric Chester hosted a Keynote training event, and I was fortunate to attend with 25 exceptional speakers all there to learn. My takeaways from those three days are enough for another article! I went with an open mind ready to soak up what everyone shared. I think that that is the key to our growing our careers. We must be sponges, willing to learn by watching others, rather than criticizing what they do. We’ve heard many times that even as accomplished as Cavett Robert was at speaking, he was always in the front row listening to other speakers and taking notes. Cavett knew he could learn something from everyone. What is your bonus offer for clients? How are you learning from others?

By | 2017-05-18T21:06:37+00:00 February 26th, 2016|Categories: Keynote Speaking|3 Comments


  1. Joe Grossi March 1, 2016 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    Well said, and I couldn’t agree with you any more. Mark has changed my life, my business and has made me aware of those that I interact with each and every day. I look to “nice bike” others randomly with intention every moment I can. #NiceBike

  2. Stewart Force July 27, 2016 at 3:17 am - Reply

    About 35 years ago the principal at my High school gave me some Mark Sharenbroich tapes as a resource for the student council leadership class I was teaching. These tapes challenged my students to set goals for their success and gave them a process. My students required that I participate too so, as a lark, I said I would compete in team dance roller skating. I honored the plan and five years later my partner and I placed second in the nation. I retired at 55 and my wife and I live aboard and cruise our sailboat. My recent goal setting plans have allowed me to become proficient with a musical instrument. Health, love, adventure, fulfillment, …. I learned a structured plan to achieve. I just “googled Mark Sharenbroich and found this site. I have not been following him,- Hah!,- he looks older like me! ,,, but, yes, he has changed my life,- Thanks Mark!

  3. Dr Nick Miller September 20, 2016 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    After 30 years as a high school principal and now 10 years as a professor preparing the next generation of principal I still reference Mark’s unique and special view of leadership. We talk about culture, climate and relationships. I also have my students do a physical audit of their school to closely observe and document the message that is being sent to students, parents and staff. They have never thought of the impact before. Following an article in which I referenced Mark’s comments about being offered a cup of coffee by one of ten principals I always smile when I visit a school and the principal offers me a cup of coffee. Yes, they read my article. I first met Mark in 1986 and I still feel the effects of his strong message. His philosophy is the cornerstone of my beliefs about leadership. He has had a profound impact on the practices of leadership. Principals don’t get fired because of budget, law and curriculum issues. They get fired because they can’t build a solid culture built on trust and courage. Mark’s message is profound.

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