Brad Holst


Brad has designed and implemented winning communication, training, and coaching solutions for a diverse cross-section of Mandel’s global clients, from start-ups to top names in the Fortune 50. He is the prime creator of the proprietary models and processes now found in Mandel’s powerful suite of communication content-planning tools, including the Mandel Blueprint®. Brad is a result getting consultant, an insightful coach, and a dynamic, engaging speaker, with a rare level of business acumen based on his prior leadership roles with three market-leading companies: The Walt Disney Company, The Clorox Company, and Armor All Products.


Recent Posts
June 15, 2017

I sat captivated, along with the rest of the audience, as General Colin Powell told a story about President Ronald Reagan and the squirrels that live around the Oval Office patio. It culminated in a potent lesson about influencing executive decision makers. It grabbed and held attention with just the right dollops of humor sprinkled throughout. It was told artfully and efficiently, in less than two minutes. Not a word wasted. I was watching a masterful storyteller at work and it was an afternoon I'll never forget. Here are the 3 storytelling lessons I learned from General Powell.

May 18, 2017

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve got a brilliant idea, one you know could deliver huge value. All the data supports it. But when you present it to others...they're just not that interested. Why? It could be that your presentation spoke only to their brains and not to their hearts. Learn how storytelling can help your audience emotionally connect with you and your ideas, making your presentation more memorable and influential. 

April 06, 2017

What do wildly successful business people have in common? Multiple studies confirm they tend to be exceptional communicators—people who excel at moving information and insight into action. What can you learn from these communication superheroes? In all my years’ experience working in the business communication field, I’ve observed that two behaviors set exceptional communicators apart. Read this week's blog to learn what they are.

March 09, 2017
It’s a uniquely satisfying feeling when you end a high-stakes presentation knowing that you “crushed it.” And it's a uniquely depressing one when you don't. In my 15 years of experience as a coach, there's a big gap between what average presenters and great presenters do after their presentations are over. This week, I'll share what that difference is and also talk about why so few "naturally good" presenters ever become great. And if you're interested in becoming a truly GREAT presenter, keep reading until the end to learn what 3 steps you can take right now to get there.
February 09, 2017
In this attention-anemic world, we humans are rapidly losing the ability to listen. One thing we've learned from the thousands of people who attend Mandel workshops every year is that most people have 3 damaging habits that disrupt their ability to express themselves—and also impede their ability to listen to others. This week's blog explores how to break those bad habits and replace them with ones that can help you become a truly great listener.
January 26, 2017

I think most of us would agree that nothing good happens when people stop listening to each other. So, how can you be a better listener? It may sound counterintuitive, but to be a good listener you have to learn how to be heard. This week, I want to talk about how not feeling heard sabotages effective listening and what you can do about it.

June 09, 2016

At the front of the room, the session leaders spoke what must have been profound words for the 200 people gathered that day, as nearly every person sat silently, head bowed. No, this wasn't a religious service — it was a global sales meeting. Professionals had gathered from around the world to learn how to execute their company's new go-to-market strategy. And, no one was paying attention. Sadly, this scene is not uncommon in business today. Fortunately, the root causes that drain the ROI out of meetings and training events like these are not only identifiable, they’re preventable. Here are the top 3 reasons audiences are likely to pay more attention to their smartphones than your content — and what you can do about it.

March 03, 2016
Over many years of attending, speaking at, and preparing speakers for user conferences, I've learned there are three all-too-common deadly failures that conference speakers make. Learn what those 3 killer fails are, so you can avoid them.
September 03, 2015
You may not need to be a presentation rock star. But, in order to be successful in your career, you do need to be credible. Here are three things that every credible presenter does well.
August 20, 2015
Innovation can be challenging, because organizations — and the people in them — are almost hard-wired to resist change. If you want your ideas to get adopted, here are three things you should know before presenting them.
February 26, 2015
I’ll be the first to admit that the proper use of acronyms can benefit listeners. First and foremost among the benefits is increased memorability. But, overusing acronyms unconsciously can be damaging and abusive to listeners. Here are 3 keys to using acronyms effectively in your communications. And, don't miss the fun and illuminating Mental Floss video on what many of our most-loved acronyms and initials really stand for.
February 06, 2015
Presenting on-camera can be a nerve-wracking experience. Just walking onto the video set at Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) raised my anxiety. Here are three suggestions I learned from my own experience that may help you better manage anxiety when it’s your turn to record a video.
February 02, 2015
I've seen too many people, whom I know to be engaging communicators and experts in their field, come across as stiff and unnatural on video, ultimately damaging their credibility. The secret to effectively presenting on camera lies in practicing. But...you have to practice right. Apply these three principles and your odds of credibly connecting with your viewing audience will dramatically improve.
January 23, 2015
While thrilled to record for Harvard ManageMentor®, I was equally stressed over how to make it happen. I lost a lot of sleep pondering, “How do I create content for a 3-minute video that’s both compelling and useful?” From those sleepless nights, I developed these three guidelines you can use to take the anxiety out of creating and recording short, high-quality video content.
January 09, 2015
While organizations are increasingly using video to educate, entertain, and train employees and customers, many people are still uncomfortable presenting on camera. Fear not, because anyone can learn how to effectively communicate on video — and develop a level of comfort doing so. Over the next few weeks, I'll use my own experience recording videos for Harvard Business Publishing to highlight important ways you can prepare for and improve your presentations on-screen and off.
December 11, 2014
If you think delivering the same presentation over and over again can get boring and monotonous, you’re right...it can, IF you let it. The bottom line? If you sound bored giving your presentation, you can bet your audience is bored, too. Here's how to keep it fresh...it's another lesson from Disneyland's Jungle Cruise.
December 04, 2014
Want to ensure your next virtual presentation won’t sink under the weight of text overload? Here are three actionable tips you can implement immediately to help you grab ahold of and keep your audience's attention.
November 20, 2014
When you present to senior executives, you expect scrutiny. You know they'll be evaluating whether what you have to say is of value to them. But, there's something else they're looking for from you.... And, it's further proof that when the stakes are high, both what you say AND how you say it can make all the difference.
November 06, 2014
Many people feel like they're being sent into the proverbial lion’s den when they have to present to senior executives. While there's reason to be wary, take a lesson from Androcles: Find the thorn and pull it out. Here's how to turn scary lions into career-building advocates.
October 23, 2014
Success or failure happens in just the first two minutes of any presentation. When you're laying your most innovative ideas on the line, here's how to stand out and win the attention and respect of your audience.
October 09, 2014
When it comes to creating PowerPoint® slides, less is more. Why, then, are so many presentations too long? Because presenters make the same mistake I once did. This week, I'll tell you about my experience and give you a simple recipe for creating short slide decks that help you get your message heard.
September 11, 2014
By necessity, entrepreneurs understand something that other professionals can take a lifetime to learn. Learn this lesson early, and it could make the difference between career success and failure.
August 07, 2014
Is your presentation falling flat and you can't figure out why? If your slides are dynamic and engaging, the content is spot-on, and you've prepared well, then why is your audience feeling disconnected and confused? It may be a commonly overlooked problem: slide transitions. Here's how to fix it.
June 19, 2014
Do your slides make you seem outdated? I can’t remember the last time I gave a presentation using the old 4:3 aspect ratio. When your slides are in the 16:9 aspect ratio, your audience is likely to perceive higher production values and a more modern presentation, which all reflects back positively on you—the presenter. Here's why the 16:9 ratio is just plain better.
May 29, 2014
By asking better questions, your sales team can engage in stimulating and productive customer conversations. A recent book demonstrated how a lesson from the elementary classroom applies to Fortune 1000 sales executives.
May 15, 2014
Search the internet for pipeline mortality and you’ll only get a handful of hits and not one of them will have anything to do with the sales process. But my colleague David Mears, Mandel’s Chief Sales Officer, loves to use this term. The meaning is fairly obvious – it describes the potential deals put into the sales pipeline that never close, either lost to competitors or inaction. And David believes that many sales leaders are willing to accept pipeline mortality rates that are needlessly high and costly.
May 01, 2014
I recently had a conversation with a former client that reminded me of how small changes in how you communicate can effect big results. Something as simple as mastering how to pause can influence how you're perceived by others and what you're able to achieve. Here's what she told me.
April 24, 2014
Employee-contributed innovation happens at every level of your organization. Are the best ideas being heard within your organization?
March 27, 2014
I'm proud to say that I was a Disneyland Jungle Cruise skipper. I wore the hat, shot the gun, and made “the backside of water” water joke more times than I can count. For me, it was the ultimate part-time college job. The pay was good, the work itself was crazy fun, and it turned out I learned lessons about effective presentations skills that stick with me today. Here are three that anyone can use to be a better presenter.
February 27, 2014
In a recent NPR podcast called Framing the Story, Pixar's Andrew Stanton—writer of iconic films like Toy Story, Monsters Inc., WALL-E, and Finding Nemo—shared what he believes makes a good story. Here are three insights you can use right now to improve your ability to influence, educate, and motivate others through storytelling.
January 02, 2014
Do presentation skills really matter today? Much more than you think. Your ability to present well could mean the difference between status quo and success.
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Mandel Communications is a global consulting and training services firm that has helped 100,000+ professionals from more than 500 companies in 55 countries develop Moment of Truth Communication and Selling Skills.
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