I had the privilege and pleasure of speaking in Buffalo, NY last week for the Project Management Institute (PMI).
At the end of my keynote, the conference organizers surprised me with a trophy.
And not just any trophy… a solid, wooden block engraved with my name, topped with a large, brass buffalo, standing 13 inches tall and weighing 3 pounds. It is not insignificant.
I gushed in delight. And then I wondered… how was I going to transport it in my small carry-on luggage?
Determined to take it home, I opted to carry the Buffalo Trophy through the airport, like an Emmy.
And as a result, I made a lot of friends:
- The TSA security agent and I laughed about bringing bigger luggage next time.
- The waitress and other patrons at the airport restaurant congratulated me, wanting to know more about my award.
- Passengers in the boarding area enjoyed the ongoing banter sparked by the buffalo.
- Two guys on the airtrain loved it so much they insisted on taking a selfie with me and the buffalo.
Here’s what I discovered from carrying the Buffalo Trophy:
1. Significant and Personal Recognition is Powerful
The trophy is an indisputable statement of PMI’s appreciation. And it was unnecessary… I received a nice fee for my keynote. But PMI went out of their way to ensure that I felt recognized, appreciated, and special all the way home.
2. People are Eager to Connect but Need a Reason
The Buffalo Trophy is noticeable and peculiar – an instant conversation piece, making it easy to connect and engage with complete strangers. I had so much fun carrying the Buffalo Trophy that I am might take it with me on my next trip.
And rest assured, when PMI-Buffalo calls me again, I’ll make time for them!