Dennis Snow is a customer service keynote speaker, consultant, and author of the book Unleashing Excellence: The Complete Guide to Ultimate Customer Service. His customer service abilities were honed over 20 years with the Walt Disney World organization. Snow is now the CEO of Snow & Associates, a company that focuses on helping clients achieve “walk-through-fire” customer loyalty.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in Burlington, Vermont, and had a wonderful childhood with supportive parents. One of the events that shaped my life was being the master of ceremonies for my high school’s annual talent night. I realized then that I loved being in front of an audience. Little did I know that public speaking was to be my profession later in life.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

That it’s okay to take a chance and fail. Failing at something is typically not fatal and can provide wonderful learnings. There were times I avoided certain risks because of the chance of failure. Those are the times I regret most.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

That there is one best way to be successful in the speaking business. There is no one best way; there are as many paths to success as there are speakers.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

The darkest period of my life occurred in the summer of 2020 when I was diagnosed with cancer. I went through chemo and radiation treatments last fall. I’m fine now, the treatments were successful. I learned to focus on the positives rather than the negatives and to truly appreciate the support of those around me.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

Setting specific goals in my professional and personal life. I used to set goals annually but now set quarterly goals as the quarterly approach creates more of a sense of urgency.

What is your morning routine?

Typically, I wake up at 5:30 am and either journal or meditate for a half-hour. Then I read the newspaper (physical newspaper!) while I eat breakfast. This is a quiet time for me. Then I shower and get ready for the day.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Regular exercise. While I can’t say I love to exercise, I’m always pumped after exercising. It helps me to stay energized and also helps me keep a positive attitude.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

I create a prioritized to-do list every day. It includes steps for long-term goals as well as more immediate needs/actions. I feel tremendous satisfaction when I check things off my list. In the evening is when I make my list for the following day. That way I don’t have to remember what my to-dos are.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

The book that had the greatest influence on my life was, See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar. It encouraged me at a young age to set specific goals for myself. It also opened the door for other self-help resources and paved the way for my future as a professional speaker.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

One of the quotes I reflect on regularly is attributed to many people, “Every person you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about, so be kind.” Another is from Zig Ziglar, “You can get anything you want in life by helping enough other people get what they want in life.”