Speeches and Client Events


Bacon delivers speeches to corporations, universities and other groups nationally and abroad. In 2011, the Michigan Chapter of Meeting Planners International (MMPI) named him “Speaker of the Year.”

Each booking includes a planning meeting or call, a presentation tailored to your needs, time for Q&A, and a book signing afterward, if you want, for as long as you like.

Presentation Topics


The needs of our clients are paramount, so you will not receive a canned speech, but rather a tailor-made presentation based on your needs. After taking the time to learn about your company and culture, John will craft a program that combines principle themes, his unique stories (from a library of hundreds), and a practical application to your situation.

Subject matter is applicable across a wide range of vocations and accessible to a broad audience. The following is a brief list of the most requested presentation topics. Themes and stories are often mixed and matched to create the best program for your group.

Let Them Lead

Based on Bacon’s experience leading the Ann Arbor Huron hockey team from the school’s worst to best in three years (despite being the worst player in school history – and he can prove that!), all captured in his book, Let Them Lead: Unexpected Lessons in Leadership from America’s Worst High School Hockey Team. This is a fun presentation, and surprisingly moving, full of practical lessons that leaders of all kinds can use the next day, and deeper philosophies they can employ the rest of their careers to motivate their teams to work harder, work together, and take responsibility for their own success.

Hire Better, Fire Less

In this popular presentation, John describes how the best companies – from Zingerman’s famed deli to the Michigan football team to Walgreens – spend a lot more time, effort and thought hiring their people, and much less dealing with mediocre performers, and firing them. John lays out a practical guide – supported by fascinating stories – for searching, interviewing, “auditioning,” and ultimately hiring the right people.

Diversity for Fun and Profit

In this frank and refreshing discussion, John challenges us to face our fears, shines a spotlight on what we need to understand about each other, and makes it clear why expanding opportunities to more people makes us stronger. John’s ideas on diversity come from his research and writing about sports, from Jackie Robinson to Title IX to the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires all teams to interview at least one minority candidate for any head coaching vacancy. His speech is surprisingly, but appropriately, funny – often at his own expense. The bottom line is simple, however: we don’t seek to diversify to be charitable, but to be more successful.

The Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership

John draws lessons from a variety of sources,his own experiences, and his best-selling book, Bo’s Lasting Lessons: The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership, which Warren Buffett himself endorsed. John tells stories to underscore how great leaders listen, communicate, and make decisions. In this fast-moving and fun speech, John gives specific, direct advice leaders can use the next day. Bo Schembechler impersonation guaranteed.

How to Create Creativity – and Manage It

Every company today must innovate to stay ahead of the pack. But how do you open the floodgates for creativity – and still make sure the trains run on time? John explains how some of our best organizations do it, and conducts several fun, fast-moving exercises of his own creation to make lasting points – points the participants can put to use immediately to be more creative, without losing the discipline necessary to be effective.

Storytelling For Leaders

A unique storytelling workshop designed to help you navigate the challenges of leading today through the power of storytelling. Storytelling for Leaders presents a repeatable framework to help you communicate the perfect message in person, via Zoom, or in any group format. In the workshop, we explore how to choose the right message, how to get your structure down and how to deliver that in the perfect message. (Best for groups of 20 or fewer)

Client List 

Book Bacon for your next event

Bacon delivers tailor-made speeches to corporations, universities, and other organizations, drawing on themes and stories from three decades of writing, teaching, and coaching.

What People Are Saying 

“Thanks again for being a part of our annual Branch Team Conference for Region 14. I wanted to provide you a few comments from one of our associates: ‘John U. Bacon was superb! I can’t fully express in words how much his speech resonated with me. I wish I could have him talk to my kids and their coaches and teachers. More people need to hear his stories.'”

Robert E. Heisler AAMS

Principal, Edward Jones

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