These are my red, suede Pumas. They are my speaking shoes. I wear them on stage when I speak. These are my red, suede Pumas. In them are white fat laces. I lace them in a bar pattern. These are my red, suede Pumas. I wear them when I speak. I like my red, suede Pumas. My red suede Pumas accompany my jeans from Buckle and my red checkered shirt. This is what I wear when I speak.
In this blog is my content. I started writing it before I started wearing my red suede Pumas. I acquired the knowledge, insight, and expertise in this blog over years and years of practice, reading, implementing, experiencing and creation. In spite of how much I like my red, suede Pumas, they had nothing to do with the acquisition of my knowledge, nor did my jeans from Buckle or my red checkered shirts. My knowledge and expertise came from hard work and commitment.
Recently, I was asked to speak at a company sales kick-off. We hit it off. They were excited about me speaking; I was excited about speaking for them. I loved the passion and enthusiasm of the team I was working with. Towards the end of the negotiation, they asked a final question. They explained that they are a very conservative and formal organization and asked if I’d be willing to wear a suit or something more “business” attire like. They asked me NOT to wear my red, suede Pumas.
For a fleeting moment, my mind processed the idea of meeting their request, but before all the synapses finished firing my mouth blurted out NO! And I meant it.
As it was coming out of my mouth, I realized that it could submarine the entire deal, and I’d lose the speaking engagement. But, I was OK with that. If they didn’t want to move forward, that was on them, and I couldn’t allow it to affect me. I’ve been in this situation before, and I say no every time. It gets’s easier and easier with each no. And this time was no different.
Here’s the deal. When you hire a speaker, you’re getting the speaker’s content, knowledge, insight, and expertise. You’re also getting the speaker –the person. Asking a speaker to be someone different to fit your corporate culture is undermining the point of hiring a speaker.
I wear red, suede Pumas when I speak. They are my speaking shoes. I wear them on stage when I speak. In them are white fat laces. I lace them in a bar pattern. I wear my red, suede Pumas when I speak, and I like them. My red suede Pumas accompany my jeans from Buckle and my red checkered shirt. This is what I wear when I speak. It’s what I wear when I’m on stage — they have nothing to do with the value of my content.
If you want someone to wear a suit. Hire someone who wears a suit and not red, suede Pumas.
If you’re a speaker and have a brand you’ve built and managed, have the balls to stick to it. ‘Cause, if you’re not willing to fight in order to preserve your brand, why have a brand in the first place.
In the end, we came to terms, and I will be wearing my red, suede Pumas when I speak. I’m excited, and so are they. With that said, they made it clear they have other, larger, corporate events and if I wanted to participate in further events, I’d have to consider wearing a suit.
I said; “No!”
(But I do hope they change their mind. I like them!)