Tag Archives: business of speaking

free call for speakers

Any speaker worth their salt should never speak for free.

What many people (including many meeting organizers) don’t understand is that even though a speaker is “only speaking for an hour”, in reality, there are several days of prep, travel, and other efforts expended to produce a good presentation. You wouldn’t ask another professional to work 3 days for free, but people ask speakers to do it all the time.

Speakers should also never say never. I actually will speak for free at things like barcamps or local non-profit and professional meetings because there’s low travel investment and immense value in it for me. That value comes from the opportunity to practice new material in front of a real audience or to help out a group that needs it.

Even when I don’t speak for free, I offer a ridiculously cheap speaking fee to groups like AdFed / AAF chapters, AMA, SMEI, or other similar groups because I want to be in front of those people as those people hire marketing speakers for seminars, conferences, trade shows, and other corporate events. But even with those, I still have a travel reimbursement in the contract.

And, of course, my offer still stands to speak at TED.

But a call for speakers came in my email this morning that I found incredibly amazing and somewhat funny…

Call for Speaker on Negotiating
{redacted} is looking for a speaker for the April 14th lunchtime event on negotiating. You must be willing to donate your time and travel. The RFP can be found here: {redacted}

A few points worth mentioning:

  • They want you to fill out an RFP to speak for free and not get travel reimbursement? (I looked at the RFP. It would take at least 30 minutes to fill out properly.)
  • They’re looking for a speaker who supposedly knows how to negotiate. The winner of the RFP should be the speaker who negotiates a fee and travel reimbursement from them!

In the end, all meeting planners should remember that you get what you pay for. And speakers should remember that you’re worth what you’re paid.

the one where I offer $500 for a burger

Ever feel like you get attacked by a certain topic?

The universe is assaulting me with In-N-Out Burger.

in-n-outJust a few examples: Earlier this year, the advertising class I teach delved into a long discussion about the brand equity of the chain. A few weeks ago, this oddly fanatical account of ordering every item on the menu came in on my feeds. Last week as I took the kids to Barnes & Noble, this book was lying beside the Thomas train table. Today, I saw a story that In-N-Out is expanding east into Texas.

It has all added up to cruel and unusual punishment for someone in Kentucky who is over 1,600 miles from the nearest In-N-Out.

Every time I have a speaking engagement near an In-N-Out, I make the effort. My last one was an enjoyable afternoon at Fisherman’s Wharf last summer while I was at the San Francisco #140conf. I had just sat down to eat when a Wharf tourist stopped by my table, pointed at me, and yelled to his wife, “Hon! This guy got his fries Animal-style!”. I felt like a celebrity while I smiled and waved at her.

While I don’t eat there that often, I’m a big fan. On a gastronomical level for sure, but also on a marketing level. It’s a great brand that’s been built through a great customer experience from the cleanliness of the restaurants to the fresh ingredients to the “secret” menu.

But it seems the only time I get to eat at an In-N-Out is when I’m speaking near one on the left coast. So with all these cues coming at me, I figured I needed to do something about it.

For 2011, in addition to the three normal speaking discounts that I’ve always offered (KY/TN, multiple program, and non-profit), I am adding another discount.

I will take $500 off my speaking fee if your meeting is held within a 15 minute commute of an In-N-Out Burger location.

I guess it’s like my own version of the secret menu. You’ll have to ask for it to get it. If you’re planning a meeting or corporate event in California, Arizona, Nevada, or Utah (and now Texas) in 2011, let’s talk.

You can see my speaking info with topics, testimonials, etc here or my National Speakers Association listing here.

UPDATE: It’s still happening. I was watching Undercover Boss on CBS last night and the MGM Grand’s manager’s family brought him In-N-Out for supper.