Martin Perelmuter – Be Comfortable Being Yourself

Creating a Culture of Inclusion

Martin Perelmuter is an unapologetic idealist. He is passionate about people and ideas and, after nearly 30 years in the speaking industry, believes more than ever that a great speech can provide the impetus for action and be a catalyst for change.

Prior to co-founding Speakers Spotlight, Martin was a corporate lawyer at a prestigious international law firm. While he realized early on in his career that he needed to do something more entrepreneurial, he learned some incredibly valuable best practices while in law that have shaped his approach to client service and business management.

Martin’s views on the speaking industry have been reported in various television and print media, and have been published in over 60 countries. He has been a guest lecturer at several colleges and universities, and was a keynote speaker at the Public Words Speaker Forum at The Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School in Cambridge.

Martin is the current President and serves on the Board of Governors of the International Association of Speakers Bureaus, whose membership is made up of speakers bureaus, lecture agencies and speaker management companies located around the world, including the US, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, the UK, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Turkey, Cyprus, South Africa, Australia, South Korea and India.

Martin is a graduate of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Western Ontario, and the Faculty of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.

He lives in Toronto with his wife and business partner Farah, and their children Jade and Cole. He is an avid reader and music lover

In this episode: 

  • Humor can be a powerful tool for building a strong and inclusive work culture.
  • Leaders should feel comfortable using humor to connect with their teams and create a positive work environment.
  • Self-deprecating humor can be particularly effective in breaking down barriers and fostering a sense of camaraderie.


Embracing Humor in the Workplace

Humor has always played a significant role in Martin Perelmuter’s life. As the co-founder of Speaker Spotlight, a prominent speaker bureau, he understands the power of laughter in connecting with both clients and speakers. However, more importantly, he recognizes how humor can create an environment of inclusion within the workplace.

Perelmuter  believes that everyone has a sense of humor, and it is this ability to find the funny in everyday situations that can break down barriers and foster a strong work culture. By encouraging his team to be themselves and share moments of levity, he creates an atmosphere where people feel comfortable and valued.

The Importance of Authenticity

Perelmuter  emphasizes the importance of authenticity in leadership. He believes that leaders should be able to bring their true selves to work and not feel the need to put on a facade. By being genuine and approachable, leaders can create an environment where humor can thrive.

He shares the story of Bryce, a long-time member of his team, who highlighted the importance of being able to be oneself at work. Bryce noted that when he first joined Speaker Spotlight, he felt like he had to be a different person at work. However, he quickly realized that there should be no distinction between work Bryce and personal Bryce. This realization allowed him to feel more comfortable and authentic in his role.

Using Humor to Build Connections

Perelmuter  understands the power of humor in building connections with clients and speakers. He believes that laughter can help break down barriers and create a sense of camaraderie. Whether it’s sharing a funny story or finding humor in everyday situations, Perelmuter  encourages his team to use humor as a tool for connection.

He also recognizes the importance of team-building activities in fostering a strong work culture. Speaker Spotlight organizes regular team-building events, such as trivia nights and cooking classes, to provide opportunities for laughter and connection. These activities allow team members to relax and get to know each other on a personal level, further strengthening their bond.

The Role of Humor in Leadership

As the president of the International Association of Speakers Bureaus, Perelmuter  understands the importance of humor in leadership. While he acknowledges the need to be mindful of cultural differences, he believes that humor can be a universal language that brings people together.

In his role as president, Perelmuter  aims to create a fun and engaging environment for the association’s members. He believes that laughter can make meetings more enjoyable and productive, as it helps to break the ice and foster engagement. By incorporating humor into meetings, he creates a space where members feel comfortable and valued.

The Power of Self-Deprecating Humor

Perelmuter  believes that self-deprecating humor can be particularly effective in building connections and creating an inclusive work culture. By poking fun at oneself, leaders can show vulnerability and authenticity, which can help to break down barriers and foster a sense of camaraderie.

He shares the story of a comedian he worked with who had a reputation for being a bit out of it on stage. However, behind the scenes, the comedian took his craft very seriously and meticulously prepared for his performances. This contrast between the on-stage persona and the behind-the-scenes preparation highlights the power of self-deprecating humor in building connections and creating a positive work environment.


Humor can be a powerful tool for building a strong and inclusive work culture. By encouraging authenticity, embracing self-deprecating humor, and creating opportunities for laughter and connection, leaders can foster an environment where people feel comfortable and valued. As Martin Perelmuter has demonstrated, humor can be a catalyst for change and a driving force in creating a positive and engaging workplace.

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