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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Motivating Millenials

Bacon derives the material for his talk on Generation Y from his 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!) and teaching them at Northwestern and the University of Michigan, where he had received the highest evaluations on campus E (4.9/5.0) AND only SIX late papers out of 1700 students. Managing them should not be a mystery, and shouldn’t be a headache. They unfairly get a bad rap, when the responsibility to lead them is ours.

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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