New Media Expo to Pay Speakers

I just read this (link has expired) from Tim Bourquin and I want to raise a “High Five!” This has been a 20 year itch of mine, to have speakers fairly compensated for providing the featured sessions at a conference.

I posted a question on LinkedIn about this topic several months ago and got some fantastic responses:

bq. Pharmaceutical Exec Elisabeth Mutisya said “Many solo-preneurs and others with 5 or 10 employees will tell you that this is the best source of new business. From what I’ve heard, it’s more effective than ads, mailings, etc.”

bq. John DiPietro, a speaker/marketer said “The real good groups with the smartest planners realize that the effort and babysitting of a ‘celebrity’ is not worth the effort. They go out and hire speakers with either generic expertise that is relatable to the the group, or speakers with specific industry background. That being said, the dollars can range from expenses only, to $5k for a non celebrity, non-author speakers.”

Molly Holzschlag declared in 2006 that she will not speak for food (link has expired) any longer.

The debate has typically centered on:
• The conference organizer takes the risk and does the work to make the event happen.
• The speakers:
** Get tons of recognition and lead generating opportunity so should speak for free.
** Take time out of their paying gigs to prepare, travel, and present the very tasty nuggets that attendees are paying to hear.
** There are always new and aspiring speakers who don’t care about being paid; they just want the experience.

The speakers’ position has often been positioned as an either/or scenario, when it fact all statements are true. Another consideration is whether the speaker:
* is self-employed, therefore making every minute and dollar that is focused on the event somewhat precious
* is other-employed and the employer is picking up the expense and benefiting from the employee’s outreach efforts.

So as a speaker and a person who hires speakers (plus a past presenter at Tim and Emile’s conference), I am thrilled with the news and hope others will follow their lead.