Ben and Kelly Decker, president and executive vice president,
Decker Communications, Inc., a communication training and
executive coaching firm
San Francisco, California
Individuals and corporations seeking to create a powerful
When did you know you wanted to be a
professional speaker? Ben: I literally grew
up in the Decker Method. My father, Bert
Decker, founded Decker Communications,
Inc. in 1979. [Editor's note: Bert Decker, CSP,
CPAE, served on NSA's National Board from
1982 to 1985, was cofounder of NSA's Northern California chapter and its president from
1982 to 1983.] The firm’s principles focused
on video feedback and private coaching,
so as a kid, we were always on video—even
for book reports!
During several years in sales across various
industries, I came face-to-face with the
utter tragedy of ineffective communications. I jumped at the opportunity to
relaunch Decker Communications with Bert,
and was equally thrilled to carry on the
legacy with my wife, Kelly. Our mission
remains to transform lives using the spoken
word, not just “public speaking” since
there’s no such thing as private speaking!
Kelly: I came to Decker from management
consulting. You’ve got incredibly talented,
highly-educated people performing complex analyses and developing solutions for
clients. But if you can’t communicate well in
person, and call them to take action to
make a powerful change in their business,
what’s the difference? I love McKinsey
and Co.’s view: “Presentation is the ‘killer
skill’ we take into the real world. It’s
almost an unfair advantage.” We
help people harness theirs. We believe as professionals:
1. We are always communicating to influence.
2. There’s no such thing as
perfection in speaking.
There is always something to improve upon.
Continuous improvement never ends.
Name three speakers who have inspired
you. Bert Decker: We are so blessed to work
with an incredible mentor daily, a true
leader in the field, a wealth of experiential
knowledge, with a great head for business.
Steve Jobs: An incredible model for business leaders everywhere. He puts as much
time into the delivery of his presentations as
he does into the content! And he keeps it
simple! Nido Qubein: Bert has been a fan
for years, and both of us were awestruck
and inspired at the 2006 NSA Conference.
Talk about communicating to influence!
How do the two of you work together?
Who does what? In what ways are you
similar? Different? How does that make it
interesting? People think we’re crazy for
working together. The key is that we’ve got
the right similarities and differences to make
it all work. Communications is the foundation for our relationship; we have the same
life values, beliefs and priorities. Thus, we’re
in line on what matters most. Our differences make it fun. Ben is terrific at relationships, running all business development
efforts. Kelly excels in the details—training,
operations and creating new programs.
Columnist Craig Harrison’s Expressions
of Excellence!™ (www.ExpressionsOf
Excellence.com) provides sales and service solutions through speaking. Contact
Craig directly at