My Public Speaking Horror Story

Originally posted in The Atlanta 100

After my latest keynote to a Fortune 500, a male executive ran up and kissed me on the cheek. My speaking career did not start nearly this well.

Vanderbilt University, 2012. I’m nominated to compete in a sorority’s “Alpha Male” competition and to somehow dazzle 200 women. Other guys play acoustic guitar or twerk shirtless to showcase their abs. Fueled by the misplaced confidence of youth, I tell five minutes of jokes. I bomb, eliminating 200 beautiful, confused faces from my potential dating pool.

Have a fear of speaking? Know that even professional speakers have completely tanked along the way.

Enjoy this 300-Word Intro to My New Book

What do you think of the intro to These Damn Millennials?

“These damn Millennials…” the executive grumbled as he rubbed his forehead.

It was a peculiar thing to say directly in the face of two Millennials; our waiter, who hadn’t finished taking down our order, and me, who he’d just hired as a business coach.

Still, I responded with a nod and a grin. It wasn’t an appeasement or apology; I smiled back because I genuinely agreed with him. My generation of Millennials, born 1982-2000, is a pain in the ass to work with… until you understand us.

Working with Millennials is like driving a manual transmission. To start, there’s a lot of lurching and cursing, but once it “clicks,” everything makes sense and you’re zipping past the competition.

Like my newest client before me, most business leaders are still in the “lurching and cursing” phase. I help them reach the “click” point.

As my newest client relayed common and valid complaints about the Millennial workforce (they quit after 6 months, they want a promotion every full moon), I shifted in excitement, anxious to assuage his anguish. I felt like a kid in class who knew the answer, but the teacher hadn’t called on yet. The more grievances he brought up about my generation, the more quick victories I saw for him.

Once he’d soothed his nerves with the help of Johnnie Walker, we discussed concrete ways he could solve his “Millennial Problem” at the office in the next couple of days. I didn’t ask him to do anything that cost a dime.

A month after our conversation, his operations were running smoother, hiring and retention were up, productivity peaked. He even reported sleeping better at night, no longer losing sleep over which Millennial will quit next?

I wrote this book because I also want you to reach the “click point” with Millennials. If you can optimize your workplace in a way that naturally attracts top talent from the world’s largest working generation, you can go to work happy, and my friends can go to work happy.

Announcing My New Book Project

These Damn Millennials: 8 Ways to Maximize Millennial Recruitment, Retention, and Productivity in 8 Days

After The Millennial’s Guide to Making Happiness came out, I noticed something strange. For every copy I sold to a Millennial, I sold about 5 to Baby Boomers. Why would the Woodstock Generation be reading my book about happiness for Under-30s?

“It’s like Millennials for Dummies,” one told me. One executive stole her daughter’s copy off of her nightstand. “I deal with Millennials at home and at work, and this book demistifies them.”

Inspired by their feedback, I shifting my research focus to happiness in the workplace. I soon discovered that a significant percentage of my fellow Millennials feel unhappy at work. This creates issues for their Baby Boomer managers, like low productivity and staggering turnover.

Meanwhile, the media propogates Boomer vs. Millennial friction by targeting those affected with desperate clickbait like this CNBC article, which, using a 1000-person Bank of America survey as evidence, concludes that Millennials have “bad hygiene” and are thus “unhirable.”

Futher propogating the issue is the recent tidal wave of “Millennial Workplace Experts.” With a handful of exceptions, most vend vague advice, diluted over five, even six-figure engagements lasting up to a year. Most are profiteers; they don’t offer guaranteed results because they don’t deliver them.

So if you’re a business owner trying to attract Millennials, you’re torn between sensationalized media rhetoric and overpriced, ineffectual advice. It’s a mess.

To help both the Millennials and the Boomers in the workplace, I set out on this project with two goals:

  1. Leveraging my network of 1000+ Millennial “spies” in hundreds of Fortune 500s and other businesses, identify which best practices already work with Millennials and why.
  2. Identify ways for business owners to immediately implement these best practices for free-or-nearly-free.

The desired outcome for the reader is that they can build a workplace, for no out-of-pocket cost, that naturally attracts, retains, and maximizes Millennials, so everyone goes to work happier.

The book is tentatively titled These Damn Millennials: 8 Ways to Maximize Millennial Recruitment, Retention, and Productivity in 8 Days. I’m drafting it as we speak, and have begun discussions with publishers with a targeted Q4 2018 release.

To be the first to read preview chapters, please subscribe to my email list in the top right.



Disengagement in the workplace and classroom is at an all-time high. Depression is on the rise.

A former depressed student and then corporate workaholic, Chris decided to dedicate his career to studying positive psychology: the science of happiness, well-being, and mental health.

He now writes and speaks worldwide, helping students and employees reach peak mental performance and build happier lives.

Through his unique programming, Chris delivers the following results:

  • For Businesses:
    • Increased retention, especially among Millennial and Gen Z employees
    • Increased sales
    • Increased productivity, with a decrease in stress and anxiety
    • Improved employee confidence
    • Improved work relationships
  • For Schools:
    • Decreased absences
    • Improved student-teacher relations
    • Improved focus
    • Improved confidence
    • Improved academic performance

Don’t you want to make a positive shape the future of your organization and make a lasting impact?

Be the hero who found Chris Butsch at your organization and contact Kerry at to learn if Chris is available for your upcoming event.