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 15 logo mugs in my cupboard, and those are just from recent years.
I remember one year I was a female motivational speaker at a women's conference in Newfoundland. As a gift, 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 hotel sent it 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? Because you have to present them with something at the end (the check would be fine).
Here are some of the best funny motivational speaker 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.
- 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 Starbucks coffee card - A favorite gift, everybody likes coffee.
- A bottle of wine from the region. This was great, except that I couldn't take it in my carry on.
- Many 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 funny motivational speaker doesn't give motivational speeches for the presents anyways. The real gift is being there and contributing to the event.