As a keynote speaker, I have received a lot of gifts for speaking. 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 sweet token of appreciation. However, most people have little use for it, and you run the risk that it just be thrown away. I must have 15 logo mugs in my cupboard, and those are just from recent years. Yet, many of those audiences are very memorable, and their gesture is still very lasting.
One year I was a keynote speaker at a women's conference in Newfoundland, the meeting planner gave me a nostalgic coffee table book. Too big to fit in my carry-on, I left it in my hotel room. A week later, the meeting planner sent it to me in the mail. I was so embarrassed. The hotel gave it back to the meeting planner, and they sent it back to me.
Keynote Speakers' 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? Because you have to present them with something at the end (the check would be excellent).
THE BEST KEYNOTE SPEAKERS GIFTS:
Here are some of the most memorable and useful gifts I have received:
- Recently I got a solar phone charger (very cool!) with the association logo on it. Great when you travel and can't get electric outlets to charge your phone.
- A simple thank you card signed by the entire conference planning committee with a personalized note in it.
- A miniature wooden speaking lectern.
- Inspirational quotes never go out of style! I often keep conference bags with motivational saying on them because they carry a worthy message.
- Original art from local artists.
- A contribution made( in my name) to a worthy cause.
- Some events hire professional photographers and videographers and give keynote speakers access to Photos & Videos taken of them speaking at the event that can be used on social media.
- A Starbucks coffee card - A favorite gift, everybody likes coffee.
- A wine bottle from the region. It was great, except that I couldn't take it in my carry on.
- Many conference committees take all the keynote speakers to a nice restaurant before or after they speak.
- Many keynote speakers speak to raise their profile in the industry, so articles featuring them, or articles summarizing their message are a real memento. Invite local media where possible.
- One conference did a humorous caricature of me, holding the company logo. I still have it ten years later.
- An event gifted me with a travel kit including a sleep mask and headphones
- Phone chargers and power banks with the conference theme on it
- Gifts like fruit, candy, nuts, and other treats in the hotel room when you arrive are great, especially keynote speakers who come late, and restaurants close.
- A great treat for any coffee lover is fresh ( not processed fake powder) cream in their room
- The best gift by far is a follow up thank you letter and a referral to another speaking engagement or event.
KEYNOTE SPEAKERS GIFTS TO STAY AWAY FROM:
- Anything that won't go through airport security
- Anything liquid or too large to fit in carrying- on luggage
- Cheap, low-quality gifts
- Highly branded items limit their use
- Anything with a date on it
A great keynote speaker gift idea from the event manager blog is to put the conference logo on the inside of the item instead of on the exterior. For instance, A mug with the corporate logo inside or on the bottom. Or a conference swag bag with the logo on the inseam. Instead of prominently displayed the logo on the front of a pack. It drastically increases the usage of the item while still being a pleasant memory of the event.
Keynote speakers don't travel and give motivational speeches for the presents anyways. The real gift is being there and contributing to the event.