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Dear Anyone Who Hires Speakers or Will Hire Speakers,
Please pay us.
It does a disservice to your event if you “hire” a speaker and their fee is exposure. They’re not trying hard. You didn’t try hard. Your audience knows that.
It hurts the entire speaking community when one speaker goes unpaid. It devalues what we do for a living. Do we spend time preparing for your event? Yes. Do we show up? Of course. Do we give it 100% and go the extra mile? Absolutely. Does your doctor or lawyer ever do anything for exposure? Of course not. We provide a service, too, so stop treating us like we should be grateful that you even invited us.
Offering to reward us with a list of benefits, social sites where we’ll be mentioned, and a goody bag is never enticing. Not to a single one of us. If you don’t pay people who speak for a living — did you catch the “for a living” part? — then we can’t actually afford to pay for Internet service for our businesses or groceries for our families. Why should we give up our valuable time that we could otherwise be making money, raising our children, or both to honor your event where we’re not appreciated in the slightest?
I’m invited at least once a week to participate for free in someone’s online webinar series or forum or event. Not only is it insulting but there now seems to be a requirement attached to them all that if I am to participate as a speaker, I am expected to email my large mailing list when the event/series/episode comes out. I’ve gotten these requests for almost a decade now. Let me tell you newbies who are just starting to speak professionally: Doing this for free will get you exposure. It may even sell your books and e-books. Will it help your business profit in the coming years? Not if you don’t ask to be paid.
I’d be happy to recommend folks to you who are just starting out and need the practice, but by doing so, even I am contributing to the undervaluing of my fellow speakers. Every single one of us should get paid.
Thank you for listening.