Do you need a speaker that can help your audience see what others miss?
For more than a decade, Rohit Bhargava has been inspiring audiences at NASA, Disney, Schwab, Microsoft, SXSW, Coca-Cola and hundreds of other clients with his signature non-obvious keynote presentations. He is a master at weaving recent stories into his talks in a way that helps audiences better understand the world today, while also preparing to lead the future.
Brands Rohit has spoken for...
The World Bank
How to be a Non-Obvious Thinker
(and See What Others Miss)
See What Others Miss and Shift Your Perspective
When every day brings constant disruption, it’s hard to know where to focus. With the right mindset, we can look to the future with informed optimism. In this candid and fast-paced session based on the bestselling book that has inspired more than 1 million readers, trend curator Rohit Bhargava will reveal the five habits of non-obvious thinkers that can help you become a “speed understander” who can see the opportunities others don’t, be more resilient and lead the future.
The Art and Science of Non-Obvious Marketing (In a Skeptical World)
Be more believable, persuasive and trustworthy.
We are living in a time when it is harder to earn trust than ever before. People skip ads, mistrust brands and demand transparency from the companies they buy from or work for. What does it take for any organization to be more believable? In this entertaining and eye-opening talk, renowned marketing expert and bestselling author Rohit Bhargava will reveal the five “non-obvious” secrets of building trust and what it really takes to stand out as real, human, authentic and trustworthy in a skeptical world.
7 Non-Obvious Trends That Matter For Your Industry
What does it take to anticipate the future normal and win the future?
This engaging session based on the upcoming book (March 2023) will spotlight the ideas and instigators that are transforming industries and shaping our future society. Delivered with trademark stories and infused with actionable insight, this talk will give you an exclusive advanced look at some of the biggest trends that matter in a world shaped by the pandemic. If you want an entertaining look at the future with some real insights you can use right away, this session will put it all together. Note – this keynote can also be delivered in a unique interview format with Rohit’s co-author, Henry Coutinho-Mason.
The Non-Obvious Method To Leading Diversity (When It's Not Your Day Job)
How Leaders Can Actually Make Diversity & Inclusion Happen
This keynote offers an approachable introduction to diversity and inclusion for busy leaders. Inspired by the world’s most ambitious gathering of diversity experts at the Beyond Diversity Summit and the WSJ bestselling book Beyond Diversity, this talk is specifically for leaders who don’t spend all day working on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Instead of blaming and shaming or focusing on a long list of “-isms,” this optimistic keynote candidly approaches some of the biggest myths and realities of diversity while offering practical suggestions to actually build a more inclusive and diverse team.
“Rohit should think about marketing himself not just as a 'speaker' but as an 'experience', and a great one at that! He has amazing energy, a great sense of humor, and very relevant and interesting messages to share.
From my years of planning, there are speakers who run in and deliver and leave. There are speakers who say 'customize' and then do little of that. Not only did Rohit deliver, customize, and stayed around to visit with our attendees, but he did so in a way that exceeded our expectations. After his talk, I overheard our attendees say things like; “what a great presenter!”, “I want to be that guy’s best friend.” Bottom line: when speaking with our group it felt like Rohit was a part of the team because he connected so well with everyone.
“Over and above being a fantastic speaker, booking Rohit also means you get a partner.
Most speakers sign the contract and then perform. Rohit went over and above to help customize his virtual talk, connect with attendees remotely and generate opportunities to build off his speaking engagement.”
"I had the pleasure of working with Rohit Bhargava as a keynote speaker for a large international event at the MGM in Las Vegas. Rohit provided an exceptional experience from start to finish – customizing his approach, participating in brainstorming sessions, meeting audience members in advance for context on what would be meaningful to them, and ultimately tailoring his talk to be incredibly relevant to the audience.
Rohit captivated the crowd on stage and he immersed himself off stage by attending the Expo, mingling with the crowd and signing books. No stone unturned, post event, Rohit launched customized landing pages with valuable business tools and a recording of his talk to help keep the momentum going. Overall it was a comprehensive, first-class experience and I hope to have the opportunity to work with Rohit again. A master at his craft and a friendly personality too.”
“Our attendee said to me, that's the best speech I’ve seen in the past ten years. Because of that, I got very interested in knowing Rohit.
No matter what he's spoken to with our audience, he's always been one of the top rated people and he's also very accessible to schools. He is always full of great ideas and insights that you can take home.”
“We’ve worked with Rohit many times and love having him speak at our events.
Rohit Bhargava is a master at weaving stories together on stage, taking the audience on a journey, all the while teaching them about real marketing and business tactics.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Good first question! Two things make me different. The first is that I always share non-obvious, non-cliche, and actionable ideas. From attendees, the one piece of feedback I hear all the time after one of my talks is that they are ACTIONABLE. I don’t use canned presentations and always heavily tailor my talk for specific audiences. The second thing is that I REALLY partner with an event team to make their event successful. Everything from helping secure partners to getting more people to register.
At the event itself, I am always approachable off stage and make a point to be part of an event (instead of running to and from the airport). When I commit to an event, I am invested in doing everything I can to help make it successful financially and editorially, and always seek out innovative ways to deliver more value for an audience.
Thanks to the past 15 years working in consulting groups and agencies, I have had some experience in almost every industry you can imagine. I have also been invited to speak in 32 countries to global audiences. Earlier this year, in the span of a month, I presented keynotes to the global marketing team of a large Vodka brand, a large group of industry association executives, 3000+ customers of a large enterprise software company, and the sales team of a national financial services brand. In between, I participated in two keynote panels – one on increasing collaboration between CIOs and CMOs, and another on how to support and foster more women leaders in business.
The point is, I have never been focused on a single industry vertical or topic. As a result, the perspective I bring to your event is based on some industry knowledge of your space, combined with the ability to make relevant parallels to other industries and bring an informed outside perspective to your event.
As you might expect, I do have some prepared stories that I reuse. Honestly, that’s better for everyone – since most event planners don’t want completely untested material. Also, if there is a particular element of a talk that I already did which you watched online and loved – let me know! That way I can make sure to include that in my talk for your audience as well. My aim is always to pair stories which have been tested to resonate with a live audience together with new original content. How much exactly is customized? I’d say most of my presentations have about 20% new and original content tailored specifically for an audience. Of course, we all know that 36% of all statistics are completely made up anyway … 🙂
While scholars have debated this question for many years – as an English major in college I have always believed in the power of stories to change culture. Swords don’t inspire people. Unless of course they are written into stories where they are pulled out of stones by kings.
Yes, he literally wrote a book about diversity! But Rohit has never described himself as a speaker about DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion). Instead, he brings his perspective about diversity (and as a diverse speaker himself) into every presentation. As a result, when you work with Rohit you not only get a non-obvious perspective through how he sees and describes the world, but also an illustration of the power and importance of diversity in building a resilient workplace culture and mindset that will help you win the future.
Rohit has performed on the big stage in front of audiences of 10,000+ Schwab financial planners as well as led a private executive trend briefing for a small room of 8 Latin Music executives right before a private performance by Latin superstar Juanes. He is also a regular at SXSW, where he once followed Elon Musk as a Featured Speaker and has been invited to speak over the past decade at large and small events in 32 countries across the world.
Don’t worry, I’m not offended! The short answer is – my accent is what one event planner described as “Global American.” In other words, I was born in India but moved to America when I was very young and grew up there. Then after graduating I moved to Australia for five years. As a result, I definitely have an American accent, but I tend to speak more clearly (and slower!) than most American speakers and more than once have been rated as the #1 speaker at global conferences because of my ability to use more international English, avoid hard to understand slang, and handle the complexity of live translation.
Ok, chances are you probably don’t. But no matter how long of a time slot you have open – that time is precious and there is nothing worse than a speaker who kills the flow of your schedule by going over time. Unless your schedule is open ended – you can expect I will stick EXACTLY to my time on stage and keep your event running smoothly.
In a typical year – I will usually deliver between 20 and 30 talks at selective events. This is on the lower end for professional speakers – and the reason is because I prefer to balance my speaking with my publishing, teaching and consulting work. I speak at events I have a passion for – but will sometimes decline a speaking opportunity or refer a fellow speaker if it’s not the best fit. Most of all, I do not speak so often that I’m likely to get burn out or force myself to resort to delivering canned uncustomized talks.
I’m glad you asked! Speakers naturally have larger than normal egos, otherwise they wouldn’t thrive on the time they spend on stage. So, yes, I do have an ego — but it is not fragile or demanding. I never expect anyone to treat me like royalty and I always take the time to listen and learn from the people interact with. And above all else, I aim to remain down to earth, approachable, and live up to a fact my business card promises … that I am indeed a nice guy.
Aside from making me easy to work with, it can be a life saver in the stress filled environment of live event production. Need to find five extra minutes because your program is running long? No problem, I can shave a bit of time off my talk to get you back on schedule. Your MC had a last minute flight cancellation? Rohit can jump in to ad lib and fill the spot. Looking for a speaker willing to try your sponsor's small batch tequila right before doing a heading to the stage? Rohit is up for it ... and yes, these are all REAL situations from past events. And the truth is, he might have volunteered for that tequila tasting. The bottom line is, Rohit is ready to partner with your team to do whatever it takes to make your event successful.
Not necessarily! At many of the larger 4000+ person events I speak at, I may not have the same name recognition as a business celebrity like Malcolm Gladwell or one of the judges from the Shark Tank, but I am regularly brought on at huge events as a second or third keynote speaker that can deliver an unexpected point of view for an audience. Not to put too much of a spin on it, but if your audience isn’t familiar with me – I can deliver in a much bigger way for you because you’re the one who “discovered” me.
I pride myself on being flexible, but there are a few things you can expect me to never do. The first is that I’ll never use bullet points or prescripted templates for my talks. I can use a customized cover, but my presentations are highly visual and don’t work on other templates. The second thing I’ll never do is sell or promote any of my books or other efforts from the stage. No one likes that.
Unlike other speakers, I don’t always need all the attention to be on me. I have been moderating keynote panels with celebrity speakers and MCing entire events. For both roles, I understand the combination of providing a dynamic and high energy voice to an event while also being able to stand back and let others take the spotlight. Increasingly, I have been using this skill to provide more value to events beyond just delivering a talk on stage.
Since the pandemic, Rohit has done more than 100 virtual keynotes from his professional home studio. With updated stories (sometimes pulled from that morning’s news!), a charismatic delivery style, unique elements like a “choose your own adventure” format, multiple camera angles, hyperlapse video and audience polling – Rohit’s virtual keynote sessions are highly engaging and guaranteed to be MUCH more than just a traditional keynote talk delivered to video. Best of all, they are delivered in a friendly style that feels more like sharing a coffee with the audience instead of presenting from a stodgy home studio.
I live in the Washington DC area and travel from either DCA or IAD airports. For any events in locations further than 3 hours by flight, I typically request direct business class flights. For shorter than 2 hours, I request direct flights – however economy class tickets are typically fine. Let’s be real … if a flight is less than 2 hours, then business class doesn’t really matter! For international event planners, I am a dual citizen of the United States and Australia.
I completely appreciate that model of event – but the truth is I have been doing less and less of these. The main reason is because speakers who focus on this type of event aim to use their time on stage to drive their own business opportunities. I know this because it’s what I used to do when I had a day job working at a large agency. My only goal now is to make sure your audience gets the most value … and not generating leads for myself. For that reason, with a rare exception, I typically don’t participate in events that are networking only.
I would love to try and make something work and do support nonprofit groups as often as I can with mentoring or presentation at their events. Two causes in particular that I believe in and frequently support are helping to mentor and support more women in business, and encouraging more young people to be entrepreneurs or choose careers in business and marketing. If your event or audience fits either of those categories – you have a better than average chance that I may be able to make something work. Just get in touch and I’ll be happy to see what I can do to support your efforts.