Friday, August 25, 2006

What to Give as a Gift to the Professional Speakers at Your Event

As a professional speaker, over the years, I have been given many different kinds of gifts after my seminar from the meeting planner. Some of these gifts are useful and some I have no idea what I will do with.

After a seminar or motivational speech, many meeting planners present you with a mug, water bottle or a T shirt with the company or association logo on it. It is a nice token of appreciation however most people have little use for it. I must have 20 logo mugs in my cupboard, and those are just from recent years.

I remember one year I was the motivational keynote speaker a conference in Newfoundland and the meeting planner gave me a coffee table book. Too big to fit in my carry-on, I left it in my hotel room. A week later, the hotel sent it back to me in the mail.

These gifts are expensive, they require a lot of work to put them together and who knows where they will end up. Before going to the trouble to give any gift, ask yourself why you are giving it. Because you will feel bad if you don't?

Is it because you have to present them with something at the end( the check would be fine)? As far as I know most motivational speakers don't feel entitled to a gift anyways.

Here are some of the best gifts for a professional speaker I have received:

* Recently I got a solar charger (very cool!) with the association logo on it. When on the road, you can charge you cell phone, IPod, computer, etc

* A simple thank you card signed by the entire conference planning committee

* A miniature wooden lectern

* Original art from local artists

* A contribution made in my name to a worthy cause

* Photos taken of the event in a little book

* A star bucks coffee card - A favourite gift, everybody likes coffee

* A bottle of wine from the region. Was great, except that I couldn't take it in my carry on

* Many conference speakers speak to raise their profile in the industry, so articles featuring them, or articles summarizing their message are a real memento.

* One conference did a humorous caricature of me, holding the company logo. I still have it, ten years later.

* Gifts like fruit in the hotel room before you arrive are great especially if a speaker arrives late and all food places are closed

* The best gift by far is A follow up thank you letter and a referral to another speaking engagement or event

A professional speaker doesn't give motivational speeches for the presents anyways. The real gift is being there and contributing to the event...