Sam Horn, Intrigue Expert

Sam Horn, Founder, and CEO of the INTRIGUE AGENCY helps people create respectful, collaborative, compelling, one-of-a-kind communications and projects that scale their income and positive influence - for good.

Her work has been featured in New York Times, Fast Company, Investors Business Daily, BusinessWeek, Forbes, INC Readers Digest, Foreign Service Journal, Huffington Post and on MSNBC, Bloomberg, Sirius, and NPR.

Her books – including POP! Tongue Fu!®, ConZentrate, What’s Holding You Back? and Washington Post bestseller Got Your Attention? – have been endorsed by dozens of thought leaders including Stephen Covey, Dan Pink, Tony Robbins, Miki Agrawal, Keith Ferrazzi, Ken Blanchard and Marshall Goldsmith.

Her 20+ year track record of results includes speaking for such clients as National Geographic, Cisco, SXSW, Fortune 500 Forum, Intel, American Society of Association Executives, Capital One, NASA, Young Presidents Organization, Boeing, KPMG, Accenture, the U.S .Navy and Four Seasons Resorts.

She was a top-rated speaker at INC 500/5000, along with Seth Godin, Jim Collins, Tom Peters and Tim Ferris and is the Pitch Coach for Springboard Enterprises which has helped entrepreneurs receive $6.6 billion in funding. A partial list of credentials includes:

  • As President of Intrigue Agency, she has spoken to more than a half million people worldwide (e.g. Athens, London, Geneva, Berlin, Dublin, Cancun, Toronto) and Beijing, Seoul. Costa Rica for hundreds of organizations including National Governors Association, American Bankers Association, California Governors Conference for Women, the U.S. Embassy in London and the Asian Leadership Conference in South Korea.
  • As a presentation/pitch coach and media training expert, Sam has helped hundreds of clients prepare for high-stakes communications including TED and TEDx talks, keynotes, fund-raising pitches, commencement speeches, job interviews and appearances on TV and at public events.
  • Being interviewed on network TV (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, MSNBC) and radio shows in every major city (New York to LA). She was featured on Jay Leno’s Tonight’s Show, Diane Rehm’s show on NPR, and is a frequent guest on popular podcasts such as John Lee Dumas’ Entrepreneur on Fire.
  • Pitch Coach for British Airways Face2Face competition, USA Today Perfect Pitch and Springboard Enterprises. Sam’s clients have won millions of funding and contracts (for example, a $250 million deal with Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world) as a result of their work with her.
  • Executive Director and 17-time Emcee of the Maui Writers Conference, hosting top agents/editors/publishers, Hollywood insiders (Ron Howard) and bestselling authors including Mitch Albom, Nicholas Sparks, and James Rollins. The Hhst of the annual Non-fiction retreat.
  • Author of 6 award-winning books from major publishers (translated into 17 languages; Chinese, German, Spanish, French, Hindi, Greek, Korean, Polish, Spanish, Japanese).
  • Being hired by hundreds of corporations, associations, federal agencies , utilities and school districts to deliver keynotes,breakout sessions and  training workshops. Partial list includes National Governors Association, China’s Direct Selling Association, Hawaiian Airlines, American Bankers Association, Ernst Young, Amgen, INFOcomm.
    • Got Your Attention? How to Create Intrigue and Connect with Anyone (Berrett-Koehler) #1 Amazon in Business and Money, Sales&Marketing, Communication Skills. “Whether you’re pitching, presenting, promoting, or persuading… Sam Horn’s smart book will teach you how to get people’s attention – and keep it.” – Daniel Pink
    • POP! (Perigee-Penguin) “One-third of the way through this book, you’ll be begging to hire Sam Horn as your consultant.” – Seth Godin, Tribes and Linchpin “A rocket ship to your success.” – Jeffrey Gitomer, Little Red Book of Selling
    • Tongue Fu!® (St. Martins Press) “A lively, positive guide that can be returned to again and again.” – Library Journal “A gold mine for anyone who deals with the public. She’s added to the legacy of ideas on dealing with people left by Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, and Dale Carnegie” – Executive Summaries
    • ConZentrate (St. Martins Press) “Fascinating, thought-provoking.” – Dr. Stephen Covey “Horn successfully shows readers how to sharpen their minds.” – Publishers Weekly
    • What’s Holding You Back? (St. Martins Press) “A must-read for anyone who wants to be more powerful at work, at home, in social settings, at school and in sports.” Jack Canfield “A fountain of wisdom.” – Rabbi Harold Kushner
    • Take the Bully by the Horns (St. Martins Press) “The perfect guide on how to avoid negative confrontations and face those who intimidate and manipulate you – without sacrificing your integrity.” – Dave Pelzer, A Boy Called It
  • Book coach and adviser who has helped hundreds of clients create quality evergreen books that scale impact and add value for all involved. Clients include Terry Jones (founder of Travelocity), Charlie Pellerin (Project Manager of Hubble Telescope).
  • Host of salons at National Press Club and co-producer of the 2015 Business Book Festival at Gannett headquarters featuring Jack Canfield (Success Principles), Amy Wilkinson (Creators Code), Dorie Clark (Stand Out), David Gelles (Mindful Work)

A partial list of clients (creating one-of-a-kind presentations, pitches, books, brands and business) includes:

  • Kim Malek, (founder of Salt and Straw, Oprah’s favorite ice cream, featured in Gourmet and on Travel Channel)
  • Betsy Myers, (COO of President Obama’s campaign, White House Office for Women)
  • Sean Keener, (founder of BootsnAll, #1 website for independent travel, originator of Indie)
  • Dr. Joan Fallon (founder of CureMark, developers of treatment for autism)
  • Larry Lynch, (former Executive Director of the Disney Institute)
  • Gail Sheehy (author, Passages, LOC’s 10 Most Important Books of Our Times)
  • Joel Manby (President of Herschend Entertainment and on Undercover Boss)
  • Jeanne Sullivan, (one of Forbes “Top 5 Women Changing the World of VC’s )
  • JC Chamberlain (won a $250 million contract with Carlos Slim)
  • Jill Nelson (founder of Ruby Receptionists, U.S. #1 small business to work for)
  • Susan Sarfati (former President of American Society of Association Executives)
  • Ivan Misner (founder of BNI, largest business networking organization in world)
  • Sandra Joseph, (10 years as the lead “Christine” in Broadways’ Phantom of the Opera)
  • Member of TLC – Transformation Leadership Council – an invitation-only group of thought leaders in the personal/professional development world. Members include John Gray, Jack Canfield, Don Miguel Ruiz, Lynne Twist, Steve Farber, Jim Kwik etc.

Our Mission

Our mission here at INTRIGUE AGENCY is to help people create intriguing, insightful, useful communications and projects that add value for all involved. With that in mind, our goal is for you to find this website intriguing, insightful and useful.

In a world where many businesses focus on sell, sell, sell .. our focus is to serve, serve, serve.

From the beginning, back, when I launched Action Seminars in the 1980’s, the precursor to Intrigue Agency, our premise, is: “If we’re going to ask people for their valuable time, mind and dime; it is our responsibility to make it worthwhile.”

That’s based on something my dad, Warren Reed, taught me the very first time I gave a public speech. It was my 8th-grade graduation from New Cuyama Elementary School, and I had been selected as the valedictorian. This may not seem like a big deal, but it was an honor in our small town and I took the responsibility seriously.

I spent weeks preparing and asked Dad if he’d give me his honest feedback. As Director of Vocational Agriculture Education for California, Dad oversaw the Future Farmers of America public speaking competitions for the state, so he knew what he was talking about. Furthermore, his dad, George Reed, my grandfather, had been International President of Toastmasters the year I was born, so public speaking ran in our family … so to speak.

Dad was quiet after listening to my little speech with its homily about the “bird leaving the nest.” I asked him what he thought. He hesitated but knew I wanted the truth, so he gave it to me straight up. “It’s an okay speech, Sam. But you didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.”

“But Dad,” I protested. “There’s nothing new under the sun.”

“Sure there is. Do you know what the definition of ‘original’ is? If we haven’t heard it before; it’s original.”

Thanks to his input, I was able to come up with original insights that would pleasantly surprise the audience, earn their attention, and add valuable insight. I went back to the drawing board and did my best to come up with original insights that weren’t so obvious.

Dad’s wise input has informed my life and business ever since.

Actress Bernadette Peters says, “You gotta be original. If you’re like everyone else, what do they need you for?”

Exactly. A core belief and value of the INTRIGUE AGENCY is that if we’re going to ask people to listen to us, watch us, read us, fund us, follow us, recommend us, respect us and act of our requests and recommendations … it is our responsibility to be original.

If we’re not original, we’re a one-of-many commodity. We’ll get lost in the crowd. We don’t want to get lost in the crowd. If we want what we care about to succeed – whether that’s a business, book, TEDx talk, or nonprofit – it needs to stand out from the crowd. The good news is, there are specific steps to creating respectful, collaborative, original communications and projects that make you and what you care about one-of-a-kind. We share those steps in our programs, products and services. Some of these steps are shared throughout this website. You might want to watch my TEDx talk, visit our CREED and check out our ATTENTION QUOTES.

They are also shared throughout this website. You might want to check out my TEDx talk to find out why NEVER to give an elevator speech – and what to do instead. Subscribe to our DAILY INSPIRATION quotes to receive – free – insights that can help you and your colleagues focus on pro-active ways to focus on what matters and create a quality life. Visit our ATTENTION creed to access other values and principles we feel are important.

We hope you enjoy the articles on our site with their stories and original insights on how to EARN busy people’s attention and support for your idea, issue, cause campaign or company. Our goal is to serve up quality content that can help you and the people you care about create winning relationships in our ATTENTION ECONOMY.

If you have suggestions on how we can do a better job serving you, please let us know. We welcome your input.


Client Testimonials