Barry Carlson is the founder, Co-Owner and CEO of MidAmerica Speakers Bureau (MSB). After eight years of teaching and coaching, Barry entered the financial services business in 1979 where he won nearly every award the company had to offer both in sales and sales management spanning a 34-year career.
In 2010 Barry founded MidAmerica Speakers Bureau which books speakers, presenters and entertainers nationwide. The bureau became so successful in such a short period of time that he sold his insurance/investment firm in 2013 and began managing MSB on a full-time basis. To date, MSB has booked close to a thousand speeches over the past seven years.
Barry himself has been a professional speaker for over 35 years. He has delivered hundreds of presentations and is a favorite at conventions, banquets, high schools and colleges, chambers of commerce, churches, foundations, sales conferences, fundraisers and other non-profit events. He has spoken from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Pasadena, CA, and from Boise, ID to Tampa, FL. Barry’s talks are designed to inspire, motivate, entertain and lift the spirits of his audiences. His presentations focus on various topics such as goals, leadership, business success, and humor.
His mission is to “help change people’s lives for the better by challenging them to change their way of thinking.” As one audience member put it, “I always feel better after listening to one of Barry’s talks! I walk away laughing, crying, thinking and wanting more.”
“Goals Aren’t Important”
In this sarcastic titled speech about the importance of goals, three important questions are asked and answered: Why set goals? Why don’t people set goals? What are the steps to setting and achieving goals? You won’t believe the real life examples in this talk!
“Leaders Who Lead”
How would you define the word “leader?” This talk will help you better define the characteristics of effective leadership, and how to personally become a better leader in your family, your business and your community. Learn how to take inventory of who you are, what you’re capable of and how you can develop the kind of attitude that encourages others to follow your lead.
“The Sixth Sense”
Most people are endowed with five senses, and if lucky, a sixth one…the sense of humor. This entertaining talk includes clean jokes, one-liners and examples of how humor can work in your life and even help you become a healthier individual. A fun, lighthearted after-dinner talk.
“I Love America”
Do you grow weary of negative news on TV and in the newspapers about what’s wrong with America? Have you ever wished you could hear someone “sell” you on all the positive things available in this country? This inspiring talk will leave you believing that we do live in the greatest country in the world, and we should thank God every day for the blessings he has bestowed upon this great nation.
“Four Questions for Success”
Do you believe? Are you sold? Are you committed? Are you having any fun? This power-packed talk will provide answers to these questions and will reveal how these answers will help you rein in life rather than letting life rain on you.
“Business Tips from the Head to the Heart”
This speech reveals insight into what characteristics and attitudes you need to be successful in business. Hear tips from both personal experiences and from some of the best minds in the business community. This talk is beneficial for employers, employees, college and high school students or anyone wanting to get ahead in the business world.
“I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed Barry’s speech on goals and humor. What a great speaker! He kept us all engaged from the beginning to the end. If everyone could hear Barry speak people would be more successful in their chosen field, and we would have a much healthier country where people would enjoy their lives a great deal more. His humor kept everyone so upbeat! We were laughing and smiling and the room was filled with rays of sunshine. God Bless him!”
Rita Erickson, Hayes County Treasurer, Hayes Center, NE
“What an incredible day for all of us! Anyone stating Barry Carlson’s speeches are great is making a huge understatement. Our group, the Nebraska Treasurer’s Association, has never been so attentive as they were listening to Barry’s two speeches, ‘Goals Aren’t Important’ and ‘The Sixth Sense…The Sense of Humor.’ Life lessons plus entertainment all in one package deal…incredible! Thank you, Barry, for making our Continuing Education a huge success!”
Vicki Goodrich, Greeley County Treasurer, Greeley, NE
“As the Regional Coordinator for the Kansas/Nebraska Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society for two-year college students for the past decade, I have hired many speakers for conferences to provide encouragement to our students. Barry Carlson is by far one of the best speakers the students have heard. The students were engaged and enthralled with his message. The day after Barry spoke, the students were still talking about his message on setting goals and focusing on the future. I believe Barry’s impact on the honor society at both the chapter and regional levels will be increased leadership and service by our members. I highly recommend Barry as someone who will spark your students, employees, leadership team or members into planning and completing action towards goals for themselves and for your organization.”
Tammy Fuentez, VP of Student Affairs, Title IX Coordinator Kansas/Nebraska Phi Theta Kappa Regional Coordinator
“It has been a year since I attended Barry Carlson’s speech “Goals Aren’t Important” at the 2018 Kansas/Nebraska Phi Theta Kappa Conference and I can still remember his words. Barry made me want to make a difference and I have even set goals that I was afraid to set for fear of failure. In fact, I actually completed some of those goals two weeks ago! I never would be where I am today if it wasn’t for receiving the motivation from Barry’s speech to take the first step. I believe Barry’s message will help me in every phase of my life going forward. Thank you, Barry, for giving me the chance to feel like I can achieve anything I set my mind to work for!”
Mariah Baker, Student and 2018 Phi Theta Kappa Conference Attendee
“Barry Carlson spoke to the Ravenna Staff after Christmas break and he did a fantastic job! The time flew by quickly because of his entertaining and upbeat style of speaking. I really appreciated the way he made our staff think and reflect. He has an innate ability to gently weave in very profound questions that promote self-reflection by audience members while still keeping the mood light. Barry’s presentation was just what we needed to start the year off right: a great deal of laughter coupled with some strong self-reflection about our purpose in life. After his speech I heard such comments as ‘that is the best speaker we’ve had in a very long time.’ and ‘what a great message…I could have listened to that guy all afternoon!’ We hope to have Barry back again soon!”
Dr. Ken Schroeder, Superintendent of Schools Ravenna, NE
”We recently invited Barry Carlson to deliver his talk, “Goals Aren’t Important” at our annual sales meeting. The overwhelming consensus was that Barry did a fantastic job! In fact, he hit it out of the park! As a company, one of our goals is to help our dealers become more proficient at setting goals, and Barry’s talk really set the stage. It was simple yet spoke volumes! Every single person in the room was impressed and motivated by Barry’s words! In fact, I myself went home that evening and told my kids to write down their goals and to read them twice every day! Thank you, Barry for a wonderful presentation!”
Melanie McManigal, Office Administrator, Sand Creek Post & Beam
”What can I say! I have been in this business for over 50 years, have heard literally hundreds of speakers, and Barry is without a doubt one of the best I’ve ever heard!”
Roger McCarty, CEO, Brokers International
“Barry Carlson gave an outstanding talk entitled ‘The 6th Sense….The Sense of Humor’ at our Atkinson Nebraska Annual Chamber Banquet. Four words to describe his talk are humorous, uplifting, eye opening and rewarding. Probably the best way to describe it is ‘humor with a message!’ The jokes were very funny and extremely clean. Barry’s ‘style’ absolutely captivated the audience, and raised the spirits of everyone in attendance! Sounds strange for a talk centered around humor to be uplifting, but that’s exactly what it was! In fact, several chamber members told me afterwards that if they had known the talk was going to be that good, they would have purchased additional tickets and made it mandatory that their employees attend! Wow! If other organizations are looking for a speaker to ‘lighten up’ their event, yet inspire their attendees, Barry Carlson’s talk is right on!”
Pam Winer, President, Atkinson Chamber of Commerce
“Wow, Barry’s talk entitled The 6th Sense was a HUGE success at our Nebraska Municipal Clerks’ Association Annual Banquet. The responses were extremely positive! Some of them were: “Very entertaining”….“Just the right mix of fun and inspiration”….“We needed an uplifting speech after a long week of meetings”….“Nice to hear good, clean humor!” Again, please thank Barry for us…he did awesome and I was grateful to have been a part of it! I will encourage those in charge of next year’s conference to again use your MidAmerica Speakers Bureau to book our keynote speaker.”
Lanette Doane, Heartland Clerks’ Association and Nebr. Municipal Clerks’ Association
“We invited Barry Carlson to speak as we welcomed our staff back from Christmas vacation for a “January Jump-start”. We also invited all of the medical professionals in our community to attend. The goal was to get everyone off to a great start coming off the holiday season and have our people feeling more positive and more blessed than they did coming back to work that morning. Barry hit a home run with his speech, “The Sixth Sense…The Sense of Humor.” The jubilant sounds of laughter rang out during his presentation! Barry connected with all the caregivers of the community, and our staff is still reminding each other three weeks later to laugh more, it will make the day better! The positive responses we have gotten from staff and the medical community have been overwhelming! Thank you Barry for welcoming us all back on such a positive note….your message was outstanding!”
Jason Alexander, Superintendent, Ord Public Schools
“Barry Carlson recently delivered his talk “The Sixth Sense…The Sense of Humor” to our school staff at Ord, Nebraska. There were also several local health professionals in attendance. I personally thanked him several times for sharing his wonderful, happy, humorous, and, most of all, inspiring message! I LOVED hearing his words & just knowing that someone else believes what I believe made it even more REAL!! Believe me when I say that as a speaker he is very SPECIAL! His presentation certainly made a difference in me, and I’m sure it did in others who attended as well!”
Janet Boettcher, Ord 1st Grade Teacher/Jr. High Coach
“Barry has shared his message as our keynote address speaker with our seniors for many years. His impact is powerful and every year students ask for his contact information following his talk so they can personally thank him for his inspiration. He is truly one of the most impactful speakers I have heard – he speaks from the heart sharing his passion for making a difference. He is absolutely amazing!!”
Maggie Rasmussen, High School Counselor, Aurora High School
“Barry Carlson’s message on ‘Leaders Who Lead’ is timeless and invaluable. It is drawn from his life experiences and built on common-sense core values and guiding principles that are highly transferable to everyone’s personal and professional life. His unique perspective and insights—along with a nice touch of humor—would motivate any individual to feel empowered to make a difference and thus influence others based on their choice to take action. He did a wonderful job of driving home the point that leadership is not a function of title, office, power, position, or money. His stance that anyone can lead from any level within a company or organization is a strong reminder and one of life’s fundamental truths. I would highly recommend Barry Carlson to any business, organization, association, or non-profit organization to share his motivating and inspirational message on leadership by example, and that in today’s society, it is imperative for leaders to act.”
Terry K. Headley, Past President of the National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors
“I’ve known Barry Carlson for many years and have always felt that I benefited when I have spent time with him one-on-one. However, this is the first time I have heard his ‘Goals Aren’t Important’ presentation. I am also a public speaker, and as such, I can be highly critical of other speakers, their delivery and materials. Barry’s entire presentation was outstanding! His body language, eye contact and vocal inflections all captivated the audience to listen intently to his message. Barry provided life lessons that have been honed from years of hard work, (successes and failures), and he humbly, but confidently, provided those lessons in a well delivered dialogue that made me laugh, think and want to take action. I highly recommend Barry Carlson as a presenter to businesses, schools and associations who want someone who will spur them into action versus merely tickling their ears.”
David Dickinson, President/Founder of Banker’s Compliance
“Each year we are fortunate to get a great group of healthcare marketing professionals together from across the state for our continuing education. We asked Barry to come present “Goals Aren’t Important” right smack dab in the middle of it all. We really wanted to liven up the group and empower our fellow marketers to spend some time reflecting on themselves and their personal and professional goals. Barry totally knocked it out of the park…in fact, he rocked it! Everyone was still buzzing at the end of the day about how great of a perspective it was, and how extremely motivating he made it. It’s really the most engaged and ‘zoned in’ I have seen our group in any of the 6 prior years. I would highly recommend Barry to any group, organization or person who wants an engaging, humorous, on-point presentation on goal setting. You absolutely won’t be disappointed!”
Shauna Graham, MBA, SPHR, Director of Professional
“I recently attended Barry Carlson’s speech on goals and it was phenomenal! Barry had everyone’s attention from the start and kept it throughout the entire presentation. There are many phrases from his presentation that I now have hanging in my office on why setting goals is vital to my success. I was so engaged with Barry’s presentation that I went back and set a career goal that I had been afraid to set for a few years. In short, I was afraid to fail. Barry put ‘failure’ in a different light. There were many quotes and philosophies that Barry shared, but one I remember most was from Alice in Wonderland: ‘If you don’t know where you’re going in life, all roads look the same!’ After reflecting on Barry’s presentation, I knew which road I wanted to take, and started to make plans to get there!”
Shauna Graham, Director of Professional Services, Litzenberg Memorial County Hospital
Central City, Nebraska