Many of you know that I’m speaking to Microsoft Global Staffing colleagues on September 21st. What many of you don’t know is that I almost didn’t accept this keynote.
I was called about six months ago and asked if I was interested. I asked for more information and they said that I would be speaking after Steve Ballmer.
Holy shit. Are you kidding me? Are you freaking kidding me?!
This is what we call THE WORST SLOT EVER in the speaking business. But then I thought about it and realized that bad speaking slots have never stopped me before. I talked to Gen Y kids studying HR in Indiana. I could do worse than to follow Ballmer.
So I said yes and hosted a discovery call with my new ‘clients’ where I asked very boring & typical questions. What should I talk about? What’s important to Microsoft? Is there anything off limits?
And I’m happy to report that nothing is off limits…
…except for one thing.
One of the HR leaders told me, “When you speak, we ask that you don’t use our competitors as a verb. It’s not because we are afraid of them. In fact, we welcome the competition. Our products and solutions are far superior. It’s just that we don’t cede ground to them. They are not the default in this world.”
Do you know what that means? I shouldn’t use google as a verb.
And that’s fine. I totally get that search is a competitive business. I don’t know what you use. I don’t know if your browsers and search engines really matter to you. I do know that it matters to just about everyone else. And if you didn’t know, Bing is a pretty sweet search engine. And for the ultimate in fun, here is what Bing looks like in a Chrome Browser.
So to recap, I have one rule when I speak at Microsoft…
…I cannot use google as a verb. And that’s fine except that every time I work on my presentation, I use google as a verb. DANG IT. And I just read a free book from a publisher called The 11 Laws of Likability and the author uses google as a verb. In fact, everyone does.
But not me.
Well, okay, not me on September 21st.
Here is my promise:
For every single time I use the word google as a verb on stage, I will donate $100 to Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Surgeries at PAWS. That’s right. If I say google as a verb once, that’s $100. If I say it 8 times, that’s $800. And I’ll write the check as I exit the stage.
If my ego doesn’t motivate me to get this right (or the fear of Steve Ballmer coming back on stage and eating me alive), the money will.
See you in a few weeks!