February 23, 2016

Speaking for Mugs or Money: Do you want to be a motivational speaker?

I have been a trainer/facilitator for about 30 years and a “expert” speaker since the 1990’s.  When I spoke as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) at meetings, conferences, and other events during my corporate employment, I did not worry about fees for my travel or my expertise.  That was all handled by someone at the company I worked for.  Sometimes I was presented with a small thank-you gift for my time or provided with a meal, again it did not matter as speaking was part of my job.

Then things changed when I began consulting and started motivational keynotes as well as other professional speaking a way to sell books and advertise my facilitation skills.  Some of these speaking engagements were paid (because companies sponsored them), some only covered travel expenses, some gave a small honorarium (non-cash) gift as a thank-you from the sponsor, some provided my lunch or dinner, and a few cost me verses the organization (because they were for local non-profits).  The gift I received most was a logo'd coffee mug from the organization or a sponsoring company.  Sometimes I was given a pen or a mouse pad. In the beginning, it did not matter if I was paid; I just wanted to share my knowledge.  However, I did not go negative dollars just to get to deliver a speech – I NEVER pay for the privilege of speaking because it rarely gets a return on the investment.  People who are willing to pay to speak want to market their products or services so they should be allowed to do so.  However, when I speak it is to educate or motivate so I should be paid.  Now I have a reputation and a large social network, so I do negotiate payment for my expertise and help with event promotion.

In the spirit of knowledge sharing, below are some links I think future speakers and organizations looking for speakers might find beneficial:
Learning to Speak

Showing Slides with Speech

Getting Paid for Speech

Searching for Speakers


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