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Keynote Speaker Michel Neray
Michel Neray
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$7,501 - $15,000

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Michel Neray


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Speech Topics


Summary of Michel Neray

A naturally dynamic, fun and engaging speaker, Michel Neray has held a variety of leadership positions in the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, and has spoken professionally in more than seven countries. He is passionate about helping his audiences discover and communicate what he calls their ‘Essential Message’. That’s the most basic building block that enables individuals and companies to be the best at what they do; to have stronger relationships and better rapport with customers, colleagues, family and friends; to stand out from the crowd and make a difference; to provide exceptional customer service driven by a genuine desire to help; and above all else, to lead a more fulfilled, more effective professional and personal life. Michel co-authored The Great Crossover, which made it to Jack Canfield’s Achiever’s Recommended Reading List. Michel encourages companies to differentiate in a competitive world with his educational, inspiring, and thought provoking presentations.

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Michel Neray knows what it’s like to feel ‘different’. Born to a Jewish mother from France who had survived Auschwitz, and a Jewish father who fled Iran during WWII to join the French Foreign Legion, his parents settled in Montreal to start a new life and raise their family. Michel grew up as a French-speaking Jewish kid in an English Protestant school in a province that was overwhelmingly French Catholic.

Having a girl’s name didn’t help him blend in either.

Rather than hide his differences, he learned to embrace them. Michel credits his early childhood experiences for the foundation of his unique expertise in branding and positioning. Today, Michel is widely considered an expert in helping organizations and individuals discover and communicate their greatest strengths and differentiation, enabling them to succeed both personally and professionally.

“If you want to discover your true difference,” says Michel, “you have to dig deeper than traditional marketing approaches, and use non-linear, counter-intuitive techniques to see what is quite likely right in front of you.”

A naturally dynamic, fun and engaging speaker, Michel is passionate about helping his audiences discover and communicate what he calls their ‘Essential Message’. That’s the most basic building block that enables individuals and companies to be the best at what they do; to have stronger relationships and better rapport with customers, colleagues, family and friends; to stand out from the crowd and make a difference; to provide exceptional customer service driven by a genuine desire to help; and above all else, to lead a more fulfilled, more effective professional and personal life.

For his corporate clients, it’s also the key to stronger brand positioning, sales focus and market messaging. Some of his clients have reported sales increases of 60% as a result of working with Michel.

In 1995 Michel founded Portfolios Online, the world’s first Internet search engine for advertising and creative professionals. Michel co-authored The Great Crossover, which made it to Jack Canfield’s Achiever’s Recommended Reading List. In 2005, his chapter, “Everything Starts With A Conversation” was selected as the lead for the book, ‘Sales Gurus Speak Out’ and then again for ‘Awakening The Workplace Volume 3′. He has an MBA from McGill University, a BSc from the University of Waterloo and is also a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP).

Since 2008, Michel has held leadership positions in the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, and has spoken professionally in more than seven countries. In 2012, he created MoMondays, a entertaining and inspiring monthly event that has since expanded to multiple cities in Canada and the U.S.

He’s married with three children, two dogs, three snowboards, a whitewater canoe and a black belt in Karate.

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Differentiation as a Platform for Brand (and Personal) Leadership

This keynote is fun, engaging, motivating and useful! It begins by showing audience members why an ability to stand out is the single most important challenge in this – or any economy. Then it teaches audience members a simple model for finding the strongest and most differentiating market message for their business, product or service.

A differentiated message and brand position is the common denominator that connects leadership in sales and branding to personal leadership. Especially in these uncertain economic times, companies need both personal and business leadership more than ever. Drawing on his background in advertising, Michel shows the audience some of the funniest television commercials to demonstrate how even the largest companies – including Apple, Honda and Federal Express – leverage this model. Using personal examples and stories, he then shows how the same principles apply for each individual in the room.

With this presentation, audiences walk away with the tools to establish market leadership and the personal motivation to drive it home.

Key Take-Aways and Tools:

  • Simple model for developing a unique message and brand position.
  • Why an ability to stand out and communicate uniqueness is the single most important challenge in any economy.
  • The first steps to discover both personal and corporate differentiation.

Purposeful Storytelling

It is well-established that stories are more memorable and powerful than facts and statistics. Stories are the basis of leadership, sales and team culture.

Combining exercises in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), classic story-telling, stand-up comedy, improv, acting and professional speaking, Purposeful Storytelling™ is an ongoing program that helps participants strategically develop signature and turning-point stories to motivate/inspire/influence team members, customers and audiences in the most engaging and powerful way. Purposeful Storytelling was born from our experience with momondays — a monthly show of personal storytelling created by Michel Neray, that has expanded to over 14 cities in North America.

The full curriculum of the Purposeful Storytelling™ program covers:

  • Story development – identification, story structure and audience journey.
  • Performance – voice and stagecraft plus rehearsal techniques.
  • Humor – comic relief, timing and pacing, the vocabulary of comedy and more.
  • Hooks & Headlines – punctuating points, memorable phrasing and more.
  • Blurbs & Bios – leveraging descriptions as integrated elements of the talk itself, and of your marketing.

This curriculum can be customized to match organizational objectives and duration of the program. It can also include a momondays-style special event to add an entertaining and fun element for everyone in the organization.

Key Take-Aways and Tools:

  • Identification of impactful and differentiating messaging.
  • Communications with more powerful calls-to-action.
  • Stronger rapport with colleagues, team members, customers and audiences.
  • Public speaking, presentation and leadership skills.


You may know the exact, ‘right’ thing your customers or patients should do, but will they gladly accept your recommendations and follow your advice?

It’s a fundamental truth about professional relationships that people don’t care what you know until they know that you care — and that you truly understand them as unique individuals. In neuro-linguistic programming, we talk about ‘establishing rapport’. You may recognize it simply as ’empathy’. This is the essential first step that earns you the right, respect and credibility to have your recommendation embraced and followed by your customers and patients.

Can empathy be taught? Certainly not if there is none to begin with, however, it can be awakened, enhanced and integrated into the professional-patient (or customer) relationship for more successful outcomes.

This interactive keynote or workshop is for healthcare and professional service providers who might have the knowledge and professional skills training they need to be proficient, and now could benefit from the human and relationship awareness to help them be more effective.

Delivered in a fun, interactive style, this workshop uses real-life patient/customer scenarios customized to each profession, making it extremely relevant and practical.

Key Take-Aways and Tools:

  • How to read the ‘little voice’ in the back of the patient’s head.
  • How to establish rapport and demonstrate empathy.
  • How to connect with the patient or customer by connecting through personal experience.

Conversational Networking, Marketing & Selling

This keynote or workshop helps participants develop customer-centric listening skills, and then teaches them how to develop intelligent questions that speak directly to customer interests and needs. This enables participants to ‘ask’ their way through a proposal or sale rather than ‘push’ their way to a decision. The interactive exercises also help participants learn about each other, making this ideal for networking events.

Sales and marketing ‘experts’ are always telling us to focus on benefits. And the higher level the benefit is, the better.

But telling your customers and prospects that you’ll help them – insert any high level benefit, like ‘make more money’, ‘increase productivity’, or ‘be a hero in your company’ – is usually as credible and differentiating as a politician saying he or she supports world peace.

Based on the Essential Message workbook, ‘Everything Starts With A Conversation,’ participants discover how easy it is to engage people in conversations around the work they do – whether on the beach in Mexico or across the boardroom table.

Instead of benefits, participants learn to listen for and communicate Impact Statements, Persuasion Drivers and Provocative Questions.

This presentation is a perfect fit for sales events, national conventions and networking events. It gives people the tools they need to make all their communications – with clients and customers, colleagues, friends and even your family – more powerful than ever!

Fun exercises include the ‘Back-to-Back Fairy Tale’, ‘Listening for Impact’, and ‘Digging for Drivers’.

Key Take-Aways and Tools:

  • Why elevator pitches don’t (and will never) work!
  • What truly interests people about your business, service or proposal.
  • How to engage the other person’s mind in conversation using Impact Statements, Persuasion Drivers and Provocative Questions.

Sales Telepathy

This skill-based keynote or workshop is for everyone in an organization who ‘sells’, including salespeople, proposal writers, managers and leaders. Using principles of change management, neuro-linguistic programming and tried-and-true direct response copywriting techniques, participants learn how to engage listeners/readers in a conversational approach that often feels (to the reader/listener) that you are reading their minds. A template is provided that allows participants to write extremely rapid first drafts of introduction and sales emails/letters.

All of us sell, regardless of the role we have in an organization. Executives, managers and directors sell ideas, recommendations and strategies. Entrepreneurs sell businesses and business concepts. Salespeople and service providers sell specific products and services.

This keynote or workshop brings together the key elements of change management, neuro-linguistic programming, core challenge analysis and tried-and-true direct response copywriting. Participants learn to elicit the needs of the prospect or recipient of the proposal/recommendation, how to clearly identify the rationale for the recommendation and how to communicate it in the clearest, most compelling way.

This not only empowers managers and directors to link their recommendations to ROI and key corporate strategies, it also makes it easier for other decision-makers to evaluate the proposal for a quicker decision.

Delivered in a fun, interactive style, audiences and groups learn how to get into the head and hearts of their clients ‐ without going out of their minds!

Key Take-Aways and Tools:

  • How to start a conversation to improve your chances of finishing with a nod of agreement.
  • How to elicit the needs and wants of the customer or people you are speaking to so they ‘sell’ themselves!
  • How to create a ‘burning platform’ to motivate your listener to take action now.
  • How to create a powerful introduction letter or email in less than three minutes!

Make Friends with Your Stereotype & Stand Out From the Crowd

How to leverage stereotype perceptions to discover your unique strengths, establish greater trust and earn credibility.

Let’s face it. There are a lot of people who have a lot of negative perceptions about you, your industry and the title that’s written on your business card. And when those people happen to be your customers and other groups you work with, that’s a challenge. It doesn’t just get in the way of your relationships with your customers, employer and the people who report to you, it also saps your personal confidence and undermines the positive perceptions we want to have of ourselves.

Instead of trying to ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist, this session will show you how to make friends with those negative perceptions. Better still, you’ll learn how to leverage those negative perceptions to positively differentiate yourself, your company and the products you represent in the market. This is a highly interactive and fun session that will boost your confidence as much as it boosts your results. Get ready to laugh your way to a whole new perspective of what you do and why you’re needed now more than ever!

By the end of this session, you will:

  • Gain confidence by identifying your personal differentiation and unique value
  • Instantly build trust by establishing rapport with customers
  • Increase credibility and demonstrate profound understanding of the market

The Employee Engagement Workshop

One of the fundamental tenets of positive psychology is that people achieve genuine happiness when they leverage their signature strengths in pursuit of objectives that are larger than themselves. Not coincidentally, that is also one of the fundamental planks of developing an engaged workforce. When employees feel valued for the unique skills and strengths they bring to the table, they are naturally more committed, motivated, resilient and productive.

While assessments and personality profiles can be helpful in assisting both human resources and the employees gain a better understanding of themselves and their signature strengths, they can’t possibly drill down to the core talents and the way those talents are applied on the job.

Using interactive and counter-intuitive exercises, this workshop has been adapted from the Essential Message workbook, What Drives You Crazy Makes You Great!, specifically for the purpose of increasing employee engagement. Employees gain a great appreciation of the unique value that each individual brings to the job — and in the process, they also gain a greater appreciation of the different and unique value that others bring to the job. As a result, not only is engagement enhanced, there is also a corresponding improvement in collaboration, cooperation and positive culture. Plus, the high fun quotient of this workshop makes it just as suitable for team-building

Key Take-Aways and Tools:

  • How to use insights gained from ‘what drives you crazy’ to enhance your understanding of your ‘on-the-job genius’.
  • How to align your natural ‘MO’ with business and job objectives, and to select additional projects that leverage your unique value.
  • How to turn the perception of the negative stereotype that your role represents into an opportunity to positively differentiate yourself and stand out.
  • And much more!

(Better) Testimonials as a Strategic, Competitive Advantage

Many companies already know the value of testimonials in their marketing, but are still missing the real potential of testimonials waiting to be harnessed. In this workshop, participants learn how to solicit and craft intelligent testimonials that not only position the company better, they also help improve customer loyalty and pride of association. This is an excellent workshop for salespeople, front-line staff and the marketing team… to do together!

Third-party references are the best way to sell because… why would anyone believe the seller? That’s why almost all the better marketers use testimonials — but that’s just the beginning of what makes this workshop so valuable to organizations.

In this workshop, we teach participants how to think like a professional advertising copywriter to develop a library of testimonials that align with the strategic positioning of the product or service, and speak directly to the needs, interests and skepticisms that help turn other prospects into sales. Participants also use the process of developing dream testimonials to gain clarity and focus around the organization’s mission, objectives and core value.

Key Take-Aways and Tools:
• How testimonials reflect the true value that’s delivered by the individual or organization.
• What makes a good testimonial, and what makes a great one (hint, it’s not always the ‘positive’ remark!)
• 3 ways to solicit testimonials and even more ways to use unsolicited testimonials.
• 5 copywriting techniques that serve as Believability Enhancers.
• How to use testimonials to answer the question, ‘What do you do/why should we buy from your company?’

The Better-Than-Branding Workshop

Competitive advantage. Client value. Differentiation. Whether you are the CEO of a major corporation, a salaried employee, or an independent professional like a financial advisor, consultant or coach… these are some of the biggest opportunities to create a sustainable, profitable business or career. Unfortunately, most marketing and branding workshops don’t solve the problem…

In fact, most marketing and branding workshops make three fundamental mistakes that actually hinder us from identifying the true differentiators which have the potential of catapulting our businesses and careers:

  • They look for ‘big’ differentiators – but in this game, it’s the little differences that often have the biggest impact.
  • They are so externally focused on the market, they miss the single most important differentiating ‘lever’ – you!
  • They ask the usual and expected questions, and your brain naturally returns the usual and expected answers – which defeats the entire process.

Traditional branding and marketing workshops may be fine for traditional businesses, but when the individual who created the business is also the one driving it forward, or is on the career fast track, you’ve got to dig deeper. That’s why this workshop is unlike anything you’ve ever participated in. This is a hands-on session that will have you mining the inner recesses of your mind to discover the fundamental differentiators that not only make you different, they make you better.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking this workshop is just another primer on marketing and branding. Adapted from the Essential Message workbook, What Drives You Crazy Makes You Great!, this workshop is for professionals who want to showcase the unique approach, techniques and thought-leadership they bring to the table.

Key Take-Aways and Tools:

  • What it is about what you do that drives every aspect of your business or career, and how that makes what you do unlike (and better than) anyone in your field!
  • How to make your competitive advantage the centerpiece of your market position, where you have greatest leverage to attract and retain business.
  • A simple way to define your differentiation based on people’s stereotype perceptions of your topic or industry.
  • And much more!

Discovering Your Personal Brand by Digging Through the Five Layers of Differentiation

This workshop helps participants explore the often hidden personal motivations behind their success in their lives, business and/or careers. For leaders and staff, it supports personal development and peak performance, and enables participants to actively develop their careers along a ‘best fit’ strategy. For entrepreneurs and business owners, it supports a deliberate brand strategy based on authentic competitive advantage.

“My Name Is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”

How many of us are as clear about our mission as Inigo, one of the main characters of the classic movie, The Princess Bride? He knew exactly what he was doing, how he was doing it, and why he was so driven to do it. That clarity of life mission is one of the reasons why so many people say his character stood out from the entire cast of great characters in the movie. (It was also the foundation of his perseverance, motivation, resilience and ultimate success!)

As a business owner or senior manager, the way you run your business or manage your people reflects your unique and personal strengths and values. That’s why a proper exploration of competitive advantage must include an exploration of who you are as an individual.

In this session, participants explore the problems and challenges they are uniquely qualified – and personally driven – to solve. The result is a deeper awareness of their life ‘purpose’; a stronger personal brand and competitive advantage; and a higher value positioning in the market for their business or career development.

Key Take-Aways and Tools:

  • A crucial understanding of the difference between category challenges and differentiating challenges, providing a simple way to evaluate compelling and effective marketing messages.
  • Greater clarity of ‘life purpose’ and how it is expressed through your business or management style.
  • Awareness of the 5 layers of differentiation – the deepest layer is where the participant’s competitive advantage in business or in their career aligns with the unique challenge they are ‘driven’ to solve.

Creating Logical Frameworks for Clear, Compelling Communications

This workshop is for all employees, at all levels of the organization, who must communicate effectively. Participants learn a communications technique that not only helps them create more compelling and persuasive presentations and proposals, it also helps them develop critical and creative thinking skills. It is presented in a fun, interactive format that enhances teamwork and collaboration.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The Five Temptations of a CEO. Six Thinking Hats. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. The Four Love Languages.

You’ve seen hundreds of examples of this ‘framing’ technique, but have you ever thought about how you can take advantage of it to bring clarity and power to all your presentations, proposals and strategic discussions?

Distilling your arguments to a manageable set of key points is the foundation of clearer communications, more compelling presentations and proposals, and more productive conversations and discussions. What’s more, it’s a thinking habit that everyone can learn.

In this keynote/workshop, participants learn The Essential Message ‘Bananas’ technique – a 5-step process to help them create a logical framework around any subject. Participants brainstorm and improvise with sample topics, and then practice with a real opportunity to help you improve results in your organization.

This workshop is fun, highly interactive and most importantly, it helps raise the productivity of everyone on your team!

Key Take-Aways and Tools:

  • The 5 categories that can be used to frame all topics.
  • A methodology to help you simplify complex recommendations and proposals.
  • Reverse Benefit Analysis™ as a brainstorming tool to discover fresher and more compelling key points.

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