Guest Blog Post by Anders Boulanger…
As a speaker you obviously need to be prepared to give your best presentation. You need to have your slide deck all arranged just right, remember to bring your introduction for the M.C. and so forth.
However, there may be some things that you may also need that you just don’t think about. If any of you saw my presentation on sound systems last year, you might remember my acronym A.H.A.B. (Always Have A Back Up). My last trade show in Houston is a perfect case study of how being prepared pays off in the end.
I make it a habit of packing all of my essential tools for my performance in my carry-on. Sure there are some things like my nuts and bolts, my four staple guns and my 16” needle that can’t be carried on but this probably isn’t an issue for the average speaker.
I also travel in clothes that I can perform in. I do this because I know it’s only a matter of time before the airlines lose my luggage. Sure enough, that is precisely what happened this time. However, because I was prepared, this slight inconvenience wasn’t the least stressful part of my travel plans. Annoying yes, but not stressful. I jumped through the hoops and filled out the forms to get my bag delivered to my hotel… once they located it.
In the mean time, I went to the expo hall to set up for the next day’s trade show. I arrived to find everything in order.
My stage had been shipped to the booth and the sound system was all set up. However, I did notice they hadn’t set up an additional wireless microphone for a back up. I plugged my wireless microphone into the system; sound checked it and left for my hotel.
It was a sweltering 29 degrees (Celsius), and I’m stuck wearing a suit in the Texas heat. I grabbed a quick salad at a Wendy’s and then planned to cool off in my air conditioned room.
Knowing that I would most likely need to wear the same clothes the next day I waited as long as I could (in case I needed to go out of my room) then I washed my dress shirt in the sink using a little Tide packet I carry with me in my little emergency kit.
Below you can see a picture of my little Grid-It Case that I use that contains the following:
- sewing kit
- tide pen
- lip balm
- breath mints
- shoe horn/lint brush
In the zippered compartment on the back I carry:
- brush-ups (for teeth)
- Tylenol/Tylenol cold/antihistamine
- tea (for my throat/voice)
- shoeshine cloth
Once my shirt was clean, I pulled a real MacGyver and rigged the hairdryer up on one of the hangers to dry my shirt. I did a little ironing and now I was all ready to rock for the morning.
aside… Speaking of MacGyver, I learned a little trick awhile back that I’d like to share…
In the picture above you might notice something black and shiny around the tide pen. I wrap markers, glue sticks, and tide pens with a foot or two of duct or gaffer tape. You never know when that might come in handy and it sure beats bringing a huge roll of tape with you.
Fortunately my bag was delivered at 10pm that night, and I was able to get all my toiletries and equipment ready for the following day of work. I was actually kind of disappointed because I was so prepared that I kind of wanted to see it through without the extra baggage.
One evening I got the chance to hang out with another magician friend who lived fairly close to the convention center. He offered to pick me up and took me back to his house.
He had an amazing magic collection and following the tour of his house we went out for a bite to eat at his favorite local Greek restaurant. Keep in mind he picked me up right after the show hours ended for the day so I’m still wearing my suit.
Then between delicious bites of Gyro a big piece of lamb falls out of my pita, ricochets off my sleeve banks of the edge of the table and then onto my pants. Tzatziki sauce everywhere. I wiped it up as best I could, shook my head and said “that’s why I bring two suits.” A.H.A.B. – Always Have A Back-up!
The rest of the trade show went very smoothly until the last day…
I was just about to facilitate the draw for the big prize we were giving away for that conference, and we had around 200 people surrounding the booth when my microphone goes dead. The battery had died — after 10 hours of presentations.
I quickly ran into the interior of the booth to grab another nine volt which is usually set out for me and it is nowhere to be seen. No problem, I have my back-up microphone. I turn it on, walk back on to my stage and read the drawn tickets out loud until we had found a winner. A.H.A.B. – Always Have A Back-up!
My clients know how prepared I am and they appreciate it. They know that I am self reliant — it gives them confidence and peace of mind knowing that I will handle whatever situation arises.
I’m sure a lot of your speaking engagements aren’t as involved or complicated as trade shows, but there still are a number of things that can go wrong. Ask yourself these 3 preparatory questions…
- Do you know what they are?
- Have you had issues in the past?
- What are you doing differently today to prevent these things from occurring in the future?
Yes it can be a pain in the butt to cover your ass, but when it really matters these outs and precautions separate the Pros from the Joes. With a little thought and foresight, you too can become a real Captain A.H.A.B.
By the way the company I was working for is called Veeam Software. Guess what they make? Back-up software!
Give him twenty minutes, and he’ll swarm your booth with prospects. His work is backed up by his “Leads Guaranteed Promise.” You increase your leads and traffic, or you get your money back.