Taking three vacation days off this week the best way I know how--speaking to people who actually want to listen.
Like last year's Spring Break when I spoke alongside Tony Robbins, Vicente Fox, Jim Fannin, Kenneth Cole and others, this week I am off to Halifax to celebrate innovation with the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (lock up the lobster folks, Andy's back in town!) and then onto Toronto where the Canadian Hotel Marketing and Sales Executives are subjected to my ranting and raving.
That said, here's something that's been on my mind for a while.
As all faithful FOPs know, I public speak often, and each time I do, the kind people for whom I do usually express gratitude by loading me up with well-meaning branded gifts like t-shirts, business card holders, digital clocks, tote bags and the like.
And while these tokens of appreciation are indeed appreciated, I have two confessions to make:
1) I don't need them.
2) I don't want them.
And I suspect most other speakers would say the same about the parting gifts imparted upon them, as well.
Harsh? Perhaps, but stay with me for a second.
Let's face it, despite my gratitude for my hosts' kind offerings, there aren't enough days in the year to wear all the promo clothing I get from these engagements, I have more business card cases than I do business cards...well, you get my drift. So if I may be so bold, to all those for whom I will speak in the future, may I suggest the following:
Show me the love.
What I mean by that is instead of giving me a tangible tchotchke, give a donation to a charity of my choice. Or one of your choice. Or one at random. Whichever way you choose, people continue to benefit from my words and your fine decision of sharing them with your audience.
Wait. I'm not done.
Not to be greedy, but in this digital day and age, you can continue to spread warmth by sending some link love my way. Tell your email list what a great job I did (if I did). Share the news about the exciting breakthroughs at Airborne Mobile on the front page of your website. Post some photos of our time together and send your folks to learn more about me at either Airborne or right here.
Everybody wins. You keep your costs down, I get to interact with your logo and company spirit long after a t-shirt would've frayed into nothingness, and buzz builds for all of us.
Hmmm...virtual tokens of appreciation. Perhaps that's a topic for a new speech...