One of the things that so many marketing people battle with is being taken seriously. In many instances, they behave like complete asses and then wonder why they suffer from lack of credibility. And I hate is when that happens because it’s a blight on the whole industry.
The week before last, my friend Peter Shankman had to get from New York to San Diego for a keynote speech. It was during another monstrous snow storm in the north east. Knowing there was going to be a storm, he made a backup plan. He booked the Continental 8:45 EWR-SAN, then booked the Continental 2:45 EWR-SAN as a backup, pretty sure the 8:45 would be cancelled. And of course, it was, and he was like, “It’s cool, I’m on the 2:45.” And it was cool, until the 2:45 was cancelled, as well.
At that point, most people would have pulled the “act of God” clause, and either cancelled altogether, or done the presentation via Skype or similar. They still would have demanded to be paid, despite the fact that as cool as Skype is, it’s still a million years away from being there in person.
If you want to be taken seriously, you simply can’t work that way.
Simply put, Shankman gave his word. He told someone (or in this case, 200 people) that he’d be at a certain place at a certain time, and they’d arranged their schedules to make sure they got to see him. How people view how you value your word is worth more than any speaker’s fee.
I don’t care who you are, you never have a right to break your word.
Peter made alternate plans, arrived there at 3:00am, and although tired, was in good enough shape to make his keynote at 8:00am. Yeah, he had to drink 5 Diet Pepsis- but that’s what it takes.
Want to be taken seriously? Honor your word. Do what Shankman did and what I would do. Show up. Don’t blame anyone or anything and do your best.