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Speaker takes greatness global

November 14, 2012
By Kathleen Palumbo , Town Crier correspondent

Having had a vision that included seeing his programming in every state across the country, David Kohout, executive director of Talk is Cheap, recently exceeded that goal, having traveled to Oslo, Norway to share his knowledge of leadership training with church governance and persons of influence.

A nonprofit organization, according to its website, Talk is Cheap holds the specific purpose of building character, establishing confidence, and providing hope in the lives of young people everywhere.

Spending his days "standing in the presence of greatness," as he often addresses his audience, Kohout has spent years honing his skills as a speaker. Now, in addition to speaking regularly at high schools across northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, he counts among his venues, Westminster College, Youngstown State University, and the Coast Guard Academy.

Article Photos

Pictured at front left, seated, David Kohout is joined by numerous church leaders and persons of influence to whom he spoke during his recent visit to Oslo, Norway, through Talk is Cheap.

"I stood on that marble floor at West Point Military Academy," said Kohout, still in awe of the direction his passion has taken him.

Sharing that he has spoken at half of the 800 school districts across Ohio, Kohout estimates having reached out to 300,000 kids. Quick to respond when asked where he feels most at home as a speaker, Kohout calls the high school venue his "sweet spot," yet, regardless of his audience, "To me it's all one piece of a bigger picture it's people," he said.

With subject matter that includes teen violence, bullying and suicide; character and self-esteem building; purpose, motivation and encouragement; through Talk is Cheap, Kohout also offers drug and alcohol awareness programs, corporate leadership training, prison and youth detention outreach, retreats, seminars and church programs. Additional information on Talk is Cheap can be found on its website at

"He has a heart for giving," Kohout said of his friend and fellow leadership instructor Greg Smith, whom he credits with the opportunity to make the trip to Norway. Kohout recalls meeting Smith shortly after he had just left his own job and was wondering what the next step was for him.

Calling his trip to Oslo powerful, Kohout expressed a realization of how very blessed we are and how much we take for granted in the United States, adding that although those to whom he was speaking shared a primarily Norwegian language.

"The emotions superseded all the barriers. Everyone communicates few connect," he said, adding, "You need to connect with the heart of people."

With his still eyes keenly focused on that bigger picture, despite having taken Talk is Cheap into several states as well as his most recent trip to Norway, little has changed for Kohout, whose goal remains the same - he simply wants to make a difference.

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care," he said.



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