Marker pens. Big thick metallic cylinders with a chunk of ink-laden felt at one end.
Got one in your bag?
Despite the advent of ever cuter presentation tech, when the time comes there’s still nothing to better that leap across a room to scrawl across a huge whiteboard or handily placed flip chart easel.
I actually remember going to a day on presentation skills at a central Birmingham hotel in the early Nineties. The trainer spent quarter of an hour talking through the issue of pens. Things like always check your pens work beforehand, take several colours and never under-estimate how thick a nib you need to be visible at the back of the room.
I was reminded the other day how essential it is to carry a clutch of markers in your case. The ones at hand (one blue, one green, both worked well) gave off such an eye-crossing odour when the lid was off it reminded one person of a super strength glue, intended for heavy-duty adult use only on airplanes, revelling in the label ‘dope’.
For years now I have always kept a pack close at hand.
This stems from my time back in the late Nineties often being caught well short for a decent pen. I’d regularly rock up to pitch life-changing sales data software, only to be stymied by the lack of writing materials to draw out a killer point to the enthralled mass.
And would you believe, incredibly the main offenders were office stationary suppliers.
A classic case of cobbler’s children running around barefoot.
There’d be a combination of no pens at all in their meeting rooms, some there but all with dry nibs, only permanent when there was just a whiteboard that required dry-wipe, or if there was a working model, it’d either have too small a nib to be seen from beyond a metre away, or it’d be a useless colour.
So I resolved to never be caught out and take my own. Everywhere.
I even attended a memorable meeting once in Bloemfontein where in an office complex with hundreds of workers, it took a full hour to locate a single whiteboard-able pen.
You have been warned.