corporate event Tag

GREG SHAPIRO ADDED TO NEW TEAM: MODERATING.EU

GREG SHAPIRO ADDED TO NEW TEAM: MODERATING.EU
28 December, 2021

Since the Covid lockdown hit in 2020, I’ve been using the opportunity to branch out. One area that has been calling out to me is right around the corner in Belgium. It’s the EU HQ and the community known as ’The Brussels Bubble.’

A friend of mine in Brussels has been organizing a monthly EU-themed talk show called ‘Brussels Bubbles.’ And what do you know – they even have a website called ModeratingEU.  ModeratingEU is a booking agency dedicated to creating EU-themed events that are NOT BORING. And I offered my help.
https://moderating.eu/

I can now be hired via Moderating.eu to make your event less boring and tedious. Unless you WANT your EU meeting to be boring and tedious, in which case – just keep doing what you’ve been doing.
https://moderating.eu/greg-shapiro/
 
Here are some examples of what you can find on my profile:

GREG SHAPIRO – Using humor to make your message hit home.
For 20 years, I’ve been using my background in comedy and improvisation to take dry subject matter and make it more fun – and more memorable.

– Laser-focus on your Main Message – and how to use humor & interaction to make it stick.

– Native English speaker, but also fluent in ESL ‘English as Second Language.’
– Experienced improviser. Even when your event doesn’t go according to plan, I make it look like part of the plan.

A Gentleman Onstage.
Greg uses humor, but always with a diplomatic touch. Literally. He has performed for the Netherlands Embassy, as well as hosting events for French President François Hollande, and once for King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands. 

An Onstage Veteran.

Greg has experience hosting events where everything goes right – and when it goes wrong. According to Judith de Lange from Dutch Data Center Hub: “Greg provided lots of laughter in an otherwise very serious crowd. And although confronted with some technical difficulties, Greg was well-equipped to improvise and let the show go on. I would definitely recommend Greg as a host! 

A Published Author.
Greg Shapiro is the author of 3 books, such as THE AMERICAN NETHERLANDER: 25 Years of Expat Tales, available internationally. Greg uses his experience with dual nationality to bridge the gap between cultures, between organizations, and between the presenters and the audience.

RECOMMENDATIONS
“Greg’s hosting was sharp, tactful and very, very funny. We did not make things easy for him! He dealt brilliantly with the tailored EPO material.”
– Bert Lockhart, European Patent Office

“Greg made the difference between a pretty-good event and an excellent event. His total understanding of the content, his humour, and his optimistic persona gave the event depth and made it sparkle.”
– Sylvester Lindemulder, Logica Innovation Day

“Greg brought humor to our theme, mixed with a serious note. It gave energy and fun to a serious discussion, which led to more enthusiasm and interaction with our audience.”
– Marike Scholten, Windesheim Univ. Sustainability Event

“We had a lot of fun with Greg as our host for our young professionals event. A great mix between humor and serious interviews onstage. That led to good energy in the audience.”
– Marit van Heugten, Drecht Cities

ABOUT GREG SHAPIRO
Greg Shapiro graduated from Northwestern University in the US and then moved to Amsterdam to work with comedy theater Boom Chicago. He now has 20 years’ experience hosting events for multinational clients such as Philips, Shell and ING. Shapiro has hosted the tv show Comedy Central News in the Netherlands, and he is the voice of the ‘Netherlands Second’ video from 2017. Shapiro has published three books on Dutch culture. He has hosted events for the King of the Netherlands, the French President, and NATO. And he has performed in the Business Class section of a 747 flying to Chicago.

Greg Shapiro Hosts TFG Event at Prinsenhof Delft

Greg Shapiro Hosts TFG Event at Prinsenhof Delft

I was asked to host an annual dinner for an IT trade association at a historic location: the Prinsenhof in Delft. Where Willem van Oranje – the founder of the country – took his last breath in 1584. Even if my event would be a disaster, it couldn’t be worse than that.


The IT association was called The Future Group, which I immediately made fun of: “Good name! Sounds vaguely evil, without hitting it over the head.” I reminded everyone of the famous Google motto: ‘Don’t be evil,’ as opposed to Facebook’s motto: “Be evil enough for Facebook AND Google.” Just before the event, the ’Facebook Papers’ were released – revealing that Facebook knew its product was addictive and refused to change it. “How could Facebook not be addictive? It was created by Mark Zuckerberg! Berg meaning ‘mountain’ & zucker meaning ‘sugar.’ And how did he respond to the accusation? By launching ‘Facebook Meta.’ “The Metaverse. Like Facebook, but worse.” It’s always a risk to try out all-new material in front of a corporate crowd. But luckily this stuff killed.

I was warned that there would be a special challenge in hosting the evening.
The celebrity chef would be Yuri Verbeek: a creative genius in the kitchen – who had a tendency for overheating onstage. I’d never met him. But I was impressed by his set-up in the pop-up kitchen. 

 

 

 

Yes, Yuri had a whole cookbook he wanted to promote.

Yes, he had a whole new concept for every course. Yes, he had a nervous energy onstage that seemed to freak people out. But as for me, I have a high tolerance for weird energy. I decided on a dual-pronged strategy: let him talk as long as he wanted; and tell the technician to kill the mic if I signaled. Turns out – I didn’t need to kill the mic. Yuri did great!

By the end of the night, people liked the show – but they loved Yuri. “How did you get him not to be so long-winded?” I followed a classic bit of Dutch advice: “Doe normaal.” 

The event hall is the covered atrium of what once was a Catholic cloister. It was inspiring to stand on the stones that Willem van Oranje may have once stood. I’d never visited the Prinsenhof Museum, and it’s a good one.

The star of the show is the staircase, where Willem was gunned down in 1584, at the start of the Dutch Revolution. You can see the bullet holes still in the wall. And – thanks to a clever animation – you can see how the assassin crept up and fired at Willem, before he collapsed on the floor. 

Luckily, the Future Group was a great show. I killed onstage, but no one died.

3 Reasons Why Dutch Honesty Is Better

3 REASONS WHY DUTCH HONESTY IS BETTER
by Greg Shapiro, The American Netherlander

as seen in Speakers Academy Magazine, 2021-22

Dutch people are known for being ‘direct’ – which is an indirect way of saying ‘rude.’ At least that’s how I have experienced Dutch directness as an American expat. But the longer I live in Nederland, the more I appreciate how Dutch folks tell it like it is. Here are 3 ways Dutch Directness is better than the alternative.

SOCIAL

As stereotypes go, Americans have a reputation for being politely indirect. The British have a reputation for being completely indirect. And Dutch people pride themselves on being brutally honest – sometimes at the expense of politeness, or tact, or respect for human dignity. If you go on a diet and lose a couple kilos, most people will say, “Wow, have you lost weight?” Whereas your Dutch colleague will say, “Wow, you used to be so fat!” Yes, Dutch people have a reputation for being tolerant. But they’re also judgmental as hell.

When I introduced my American mother to my Dutch family for the first time, someone told her: “Nice outfit.” But it was my Dutch father-in-law who said, “I don’t think so. You have a nice figure, but in America you can’t get clothes that fit you properly. All the sizes are too big. But that is because most Americans are so fat.” So now my mother never speaks to my in-laws – which honestly makes my life much easier.

POLITICAL

While many world leaders visited the Trump White House being pulled against their will into pop-up arm-wrestling contests, it was Nederland’s Mark Rutte who stood up to the bully. In a joint press conference, Donald Trump said “On trade, we’ll work out something positive. And even if we don’t work something out it’ll also be positive.” But Mark Rutte couldn’t help blurting out “NO!” Rutte laughed in Trump’s face as he continued: “Not positive. We’ll have to work something out.” And if not for Dutch diplomacy, Rutte would have added: “Not positive. And you are too fat. And your tie is too long. And your face makes you look like an angry monkey.”

 

SEXUAL

Attitudes toward sex in the Netherlands can result in culture shock for many people. But if you spend a bit more time here, it becomes what I call Culture Shock Therapy. Yes, it’s different than what you might be accustomed to, but then you realize: “This way is better! ANSWER =

Many cultures advocate a getting-to-know-you phase before engaging in sex. An American colleague of mine was explaining to her Dutch friends that “I’ve been dating this guy for a few weeks. And I think it’s the right time to invite him to bed.” The Dutch women found this idea to be ridiculous: “Why would you spend three weeks on a guy, if he might be bad in bed?”

In America, it’s: “Take me to dinner, then maybe you can take me to bed.” In Nederland, it’s: “Take me to bed, then maybe we can go to dinner.” (“But I’m only going to pay half.”)

 

In closing, I find Dutch Directness better than what I grew up with. The only disadvantage is nowadays when I’m on a Zoom call with my family in the US, and they’re shocked when I say things like “Your country is shit.”

 

[Author Greg Shapiro offers Masterclasses on Dutch identity based on his books such as THE AMERICAN NETHERLANDER. Shapiro has appeared as Event Host and Keynote Speaker for multinational clients such as Philips, Shell and ING. His has hosted events for heads of state, the King of the Netherlands, and once for the Business Class section of a KLM 747 to Chicago.]

Greg Shapiro ‘How to Be Dutch’ at NBTC Netherlands Bd of Tourism & Conventions

Greg Shapiro ‘How to Be Dutch’ at NBTC Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions
3 June, 2021

I remember when the NBTC was simply called the NBOT ‘Netherlands Board of Tourism.’ (That’s when I did my first events for them back in the 2000’s.) These days, it’s the ‘Netherlands Board of Tourism AND CONVENTIONS.’ Which is handy, because – during a pandemic – tourism you can’t do easily online. But conventions, yes!

As the Corona rules loosen, it’s time to ask: What is the future of conventions and events? Back to Live and In-Person? More online? A bit of both? Will conventions and events ever be the same? The NBTC organized an online event in early June. As it happened, it was right before Step 3 of Loosening the Dutch Corona restrictions. So, if they had rescheduled by a few days, then they could have had up to 50 people in a live audience. !
The fact they did NOT reschedule perhaps proves their point: the role of online and hybrid events is here to stay.

As it happened, I was glad they went with the online setup. The stage was inspired by the TV show Even Tot Hier, with the audience projected onto an enormous back wall. So yes, I could see the audience on two big monitors under the livestream camera. And also the audience could see themselves behind me. Okay, maybe it’s not a great recipe for laughs – being able to see yourself and get self-conscious every time you laugh. But I got laughs anyway!

I was asked to give a reading from my book The American Netherlander: 25 Years of Expat Tales. It’s a module I like to call ‘Culture Shock Therapy.’ And we had a ‘bubble’ set – everyone on set had to have a negative Covid test. And between the speakers and the crew, there were just enough live bodies to be able to play to audible laughs.

Thanks to Host Sophie Hoytema for recommending me for the gig. Thanks to Producer Paul Gruijthuijsen for making us look great. Thanks to the location CitySense in Utrecht. And thanks to NBTC’s Eric Bakermans for having me – and for making the photos of my performance!


Greg Shapiro Masterclass: CULTURE SHOCK THERAPY

Greg Shapiro Masterclass: CULTURE SHOCK THERAPY

“Hi! My name is Greg Shapiro, or you can call me Gregory. Or – in Dutch – ‘Krek.’ That’s my name in Dutch: Krek Tja-piero.’ Prime example of Culture Shock: When you move to a different country and realize ‘Wow – I’ve been pronouncing my name wrong my whole life.'”
There are plenty examples of Culture Shock in the Netherlands. Like having a Dutchman introduce himself and say “Hello, my name is Freek. I am Freek, and this is my colleague Tjerk.” But if you can keep a sense of humor about it, you experience Culture Shock THERAPY: when you realize that  cultural differences can be hilarious.

“I am a bit of both: a bit LOUD AMERICAN and a bit ‘Doe Normaal‘ Nederlander. And yes I am tweetaliggggg. But I don’t like to speak Dutch, because it makes my mouth feel sad. What is it about Dutch people and their Harde G? It makes you sound like angry, choking zombie people. Like that TV show The Walking Dead. Or – since it’s the Netherlands – it’s more like The BIKING Dead.”
And here’s another example of Culture Shock Therapy. As soon as I started learning Dutch, I realized “Oh, you don’t need to yell the whole time.”

“Other cultures might say things like ‘Wow, you look good! Have you lost weight?’ Dutch people will say ‘Wow, you used to be so fat!'”
Dutch people are known for being DIRECT. Which is an indirect way of saying RUDE. If Americans have a reputation for being politely indirect, and the British have a reputation for being politely indecipherable, Dutch people pride themselves on being brutally honest – sometimes at the expense of politeness, or tact, or respect for human dignity. But at least you know where you stand. And HOW you stand – which is much shorter, once their comments cut you off at the knees.

Greg Shapiro (Zondag Met Lubach, Boom Chicago, Comedy Central) is The American Netherlander. He has performed his masterclass in Dutch Culture Shock Therapy for heads of state, the King of the Netherlands and once for the Business Class section of a KLM 747 to Chicago. 

 

Greg Shapiro Hosts 1st-Ever CitizenM TV Show

Greg Shapiro Hosts First-Ever CitizenM TV Show

Typical 2021: “Will the Covid lockdown end in time for our AGM Annual General Meeting?” In the case of CitizenM Hotels, nope. Every year, these guys have an off-site event for their whole, global team: Someplace exotic; someplace inspiring; something to keep them going for the rest of the year. But in 2021, it was time to face the ugly truth: they were going to have to livestream it.

Luckily, CitizenM HQ hired Dutch production company GRNDPA to make the livestream something special. And they hired me to host the ‘First-Ever CitizenM TV Show.’ Luckily, I have some history with the CitizenM folks. I was at one of their 2018 off-sites, to perform my ‘Dutch Culture Shock Therapy’ masterclass. It was a good show! I liked these guys.

PRO-TIP: Your Livestream doesn’t need to be Live! We had 3 days of production, with plenty of time for me to meet the C-level execs and reassure everyone. We pre-recorded the transitions, and I spoke in the voiceovers. The priority on-set was to keep the vibe of a normal offsite event, as much as possible. And yes, the top management were way too dry in the first take. But with a couple of retakes – and me more actively engaging them – the managers managed to loosen up and feel like they were talking to their team, in person.

I really appreciated hearing it back in the comments, like “You made us feel comfortable Greg, it was a joy. Many thanks!”

Was everyone nervous? Of course. But not me. Which is why I also appreciated hearing “Your years of experience shine through, seeing how smooth it went.”

 

HOW DID IT GO? See for yourself:

 

BACKSTORY
Do you know CitizenM? It’s a Dutch start-up, launched in 2008 with the slogan ‘Affordable luxury for the people.’ They were most notable for the things they didn’t provide, like bellhops. They provided automated check-in, so you could skip the check-in chat and just go straight to your room. They basically designed their dream hotel, based on the years they’d spent traveling for fashion brand Mexx. And by ‘they,’ I mean Mr. Rattan Cheddha and family. I’d performed for them at corporate events with Boom Chicago for years.

[In fact, I think it was 1997 when Seth Meyers and I performed a birthday show at the Cheddhas’ house. That was the time we did an improv scene, where Seth had to guess the word ‘Mallorca’ – a place he had not heard of, at that point. Have you ever seen an improv guessing game performed so brilliantly that you wonder if it’s all pre-planned? Well, this was one of those times we proved conclusively it was definitely improvised. To this day, Seth will still grind his teeth anytime someone brings up the Mediterranean Island of Mallorca.]

1 Year of ‘HOW NOT TO ZOOM: a Videoconference Mini-Show

1 Year of ‘HOW NOT TO ZOOM: a Comedy Roast for Your Awful Online Meeting, April 2021

It was April, 2020 when I got a phone call: “Could you do 10 minutes of comedy about video conferencing for our weekly video conference?” I said YES. And it was such a hit, I developed a new videoconference mini-show called HOW NOT TO ZOOM, aka “Sharing WORST Practice.”

It’s been a year now, and still you haven’t learned anything about basic Framing, Lighting, Background. It’s hilarious! You need a Comedy Roast. Either to kick off your meeting, or to end it.

More often, I’m being asked to do longer sets of 30-45 minutes – including a tailored powerpoint show. No problem! By now, I’ve performed HOW NOT TO ZOOM for small Management Teams, for entire Business Units, and for AGM Annual General Meetings with thousands of online viewers. And wow, I’ve learned a lot. For example: DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME. If at all possible, I try to be on location in a pop-up studio at your office. Then, when the livestream – inevitably – freezes up, instead of wondering “Is it my wifi?” I can say “call Kevin from IT!”

I did a series of HOW NOT TO ZOOM shows to ‘celebrate’ One Year of Working from Home. Here’s some feedback from Ingenico in Hoofddorp:
“Het was super leuk! We hebben erg gelachen en Greg heeft erg z’n best gedaan om het op maat voor ons te maken. In de toekomst zouden we een eventuele nieuwe show van hem graag weer boeken. Bedankt!”
“It was super fun! We laughed a lot, and Greg did his best to tailor the show to our office. In the future, we’d love to hire Greg for his new show. Thanks!”

‘NEW SHOW’ -? Well, okay then…
Coming soon: from the makers of HOW NOT TO ZOOM – it’s the ZOOM IMPROV WORKSHOP. Again, based on someone asking “Could you do that improv training you do, but for a videoconference?” And again, the answer was YES.
Or more specifically, YES AND.

WATCH: HOW NOT TO ZOOM 60-second teaser

GREG SHAPIRO: FATBOY FOR A DAY

GREG SHAPIRO: FATBOY FOR A DAY

I love Fatboy stuff! Did you know they’re based in Den Bosch, Netherlands? I found out when I got the call: they needed a host for their annual retailer event – this time via Livestream.
Well, the show went great. And the livestream only froze up twice (!)
The event was written & produced by Henk Jan van Harten at Broadcast Your Business. Highly Recommended.
Some reactions from the retailers watching from home:
– ‘Nice mix of humor with serious stuff.’
– ’What a lot of positive energy in a bizarre time.’
– ’I just wanted to keep watching!’
Have a look:
https://youtu.be/oGBR1zzWJWA