We're back from the PAII innkeeping conference in Austin. We always look forward to it for so long, and it's great, and then it's over!
First, the always-desirable conference mugs from Deneen Pottery (click on the photo to enlarge to see the Texas hat and boots design). I got a cool plastic Texas boot mug from the folks at Calling Inn, an answering service for innkeepers.
That last item, the red clown nose, needs some explanation. The keynote speaker on Wednesday morning was Stuart Ellis-Myers, also known as "Twitchy," the world's only motivational speaker living with Tourette Syndrome. He was such a great speaker that we scarcely noticed anything different about him.
When we entered the auditorium, we each got a clown nose and a blank sheet of red paper. He started his talk by poking some fun at himself and how he came to be a motivational speaker with Tourette Syndrome. Then he moved on to us and why we were there--the many duties of an innkeeper and the stresses we're under. To relieve the stress, he had us all put the clown noses on, then look at each other and scream for 30 seconds! Who can manage to keep a straight face after that? We should do that every day.
During the presentation, we were all to write down on the red paper those things that keep us from being good innkeepers--anger, frustration, despair, overcommitment. Somewhat involuntary audience participation was a part of this, since those who got chosen out of the audience never knew what they would be called upon to do. The PAII CEO and some staff members were called to the front and asked to face the audience. "And now.... take that red paper with all of those negative things on it, and crumple it back and forth! Back and forth! Like playing an accordion! Take out all your anger on it! Now ball it up as tight as you can get it, and throw it at.... THEM!" Red balls of paper went flying all over the place.
That's what motivational speakers are for--to get you fired up and happy and help you reconnect with why you're doing this in the first place.