As I nervously prepared for career day at my youngest son’s school, knotting my tie at least a dozen times, I suddenly remembered what my father used to tell himself before an important speech, “Never let em see you sweat.” He’d look in the mirror and repeat those words, over and over and as my anxiety level rose, I did the same. I dabbed my brow and cranked up the A/C and then it was my mother’s voice in my head, her side of the family is pretty loud, saying, “Never let em see you shiver.” Winston family lore has it my parents dueling sayings got their start on a cross country drive to the first ever Tradeshow Trinkets Convention in Wichita. I tend to believe it since my wife and I have the same temperature argument every time we get in the car. It usually ends with me barking at her to wear a sweater and her yelling at me to stick my head out the window but that’s another story altogether.
The point is, I was about to speak to a room full of 5 1/2 year olds. Would they be able to grasp the intricacies of effective marketing techniques? How would I explain the importance of discovering one’s Unique Selling Position? Beads of perspiration popped out on my forehead and my teeth began to chatter. It was worse than I thought.
Apparently I worked myself into lather because my son came into the room and shook me back to reality. He looked up at me with his big brown eyes and said the magic words. “Don’t worry Dad, just give them a bunch of stuff.” Of course! Why was I worried about talking about the nuances of branding when I had so much to show them?
I took off my tie, pulled on my vintage Mr. Bubble T-shirt and loaded up my Wenger 18” Duffle with a few of my favorite promotional items. The kids will really get a charge out of the Dimensions Jr. Writing Pad. It comes with a pen so they can take notes on my speech. If that doesn’t wow them, I’ve got loads of Chocolate Coins and a killer magic trick. Little Al is a genius. He thinks so too and is forever quoting from The Little Prince. “Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.”
Well, I’m off to class. Miss Graves hates when parents are late for career day and I don’t want to be sent home with a note.