Interview with Jim Key

(photo from

Jim Key

2003 World Champion of Public Speaking

1) Why did you choose to become a keynote speaker and what do you love most about what you do?

Many years ago, I saw a couple of other well known keynote speakers who had a very strong, positive impact on the audience.  I don’t just mean during the time that they were speaking; I was able to see how the attendees were continually implementing the principles they’d heard from those speakers.  It was at that point, that I knew I wanted to be a keynote speaker.  The think I love most about it is being able to have a positive, lasting, and meaningful impact in the lives of my audience members.
2) Your 2003 winning speech’s key message is that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. What are some of the dreams you are currently pursuing? Have there been dreams that you’ve had to abandon by choice or circumstance?

Have there been dreams I’ve had to abandon?  Hasn’t everyone?  There is one that readily comes to mind from my childhood, when I dreamed of being a professional basketball player in the NBA.  I only lacked one thing: sufficient ability. :)  Seriously, I did play during high school, but I had to work full time jobs while attending university.  Because of that, was not able to continue playing.  Aside from that particular dream, I’ve had some other dreams that I’ve not been able to realize.  Those were painful and personal, and will remain private.

As to what dreams I’m currently pursuing, some are business related, and some are personal.  My personal ones involve seeing my children continuing to mature as adults, and to one day becoming a grandfather.  I’m really looking forward to the day those dreams are realized!  Regarding my business dreams, I am working towards building a global speaking and consulting business, and to helping people world-wide reach higher levels of personal and professional excellence.
3) What is your mission in Life?

This may sound a bit cliche, but my two missions are; 1) to be a good husband and father, and love my family without restraint, and 2) to leave the world a better place than it currently is.
4) What are some of the key messages that you have included in your speeches time and again?

When I give speeches, I have the opportunity to expound more on these key messages, but I’d have to say that the three key messages that I frequently include in my speeches are these:

1.  Excellence doesn’t happen by accident; it must be specifically targeted and worked towards.
2.  If you want to achieve anything of significance, you must be willing to work and sacrifice.  But…it’s worth it!
3.  The best (and proper) use of our authority as speakers and leaders can be summarized in one word:  serve.

5) You identify yourself as an optimist, besides being a husband, a father, and the 2003 World Champion of Public Speaking. How do you stay optimistic in trying times?

We are definitely living in trying times.  I would say that there are two things that help me stay optimistic.  First, I recognize that today’s trying times are based on today’s circumstances.  I have to continually remind myself that those may not be tomorrow’s circumstances.  If we look at history, we can see some very dark periods of time, but those dark times did not last forever.  People changed the circumstances of their day, and thereby created a better tomorrow for themselves.  I look for ways to change my circumstances for the better.  If I can do that, I can create a better tomorrow for myself.  That constant understanding helps me to be optimistic.

Secondly, and just as importantly, is that I am a person of faith.  My sense of happiness and optimism have its deepest roots there.

Grace says: I got to know more about Jim only via Facebook and have not heard him speak before. I really like his winning speech, though, and you can read it here:

A big “Thank You!” to Jim for so graciously agreeing to this interview.