Whether it's in the media or on the stage, MacKenzie commands attention. Pointing out that he is not a typical leadership speaker, nor an average “military speaker”, he uses humor and human interest to relate to his audiences. Never using notes, MacKenzie bases his speeches on his core material and tweaks them slightly for each specific crowd. He says that “leadership is timeless,” but adds that it is important to keep the content current and applicable to the diverse groups he speaks to. It is this style of speaking that keeps his talks from being stiff or contrived and makes his presentations natural and engaging.
Before he left, he shared one particular lesson about the importance of patience and overcoming personal challenges. “No one ever bragged about doing something that was easy,” he told us, and then shared a story of perseverance and grit that he taught some of his troops during the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and Russia. The troops were told that they must remain in a tethered line for over a day and were not allowed to make a sound during a training operation on covert tactics.Even when a truck wheeled in a television to broadcast one of the final games in the hockey series, the troops were to remain silent—and they all succeeded in completing the task (MacKenzie joked, “we were probably the only ones in Canada who didn't cheer”). Talk about a great lesson in self-control! It's stories like this that bring his speeches to life and have earned him standing ovations and rave reviews from many of his audiences. As humble as he is knowledgeable, Lewis MacKenzie captivates a crowd like few others can.