Charging for speaking engagements can be a tricky subject. Sometimes, speakers ask too much and get left out in the cold and other times they ask too little and lose money. To avoid either of these outcomes, it’s best to figure out how much you should charge based on your current circumstances. Here are the main factors that go into determining your fee.
Table of Contents
1. Your current circumstances
The first thing you need to figure out is your own personal situation. What are the facts? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How many years of experience do you have speaking professionally?
- What type of speaking engagements do you usually get (solo speeches, panels, team events)?
- Do you travel frequently for these speeches or just speak locally?
- Do you usually stay overnight during these travels or go home the same day as the event?
- If staying overnight, how much money will lodging cost?
When answering each question above, write down what you believe it will be on a scale from one to ten. You can’t accurately answer how much time or money something will take without knowing the numbers.
2. The event
Now that you have an idea of your current circumstances, let’s look at the other factor in determining how much to charge for speaking engagements: the event itself. You probably already know what kind of event or organization is hosting you, but there are some things to consider when writing down your thoughts on the topic:
- If it’s a conference, will they cover travel expenses? How far away is this conference overall?
- Do they provide food and beverages during rehearsals or breaks? Who pays for that? If you bring guests, do they pay for them too? (This may not apply to solo speeches.)
- What type of audience are you speaking to (professionals, students, families)?
- Will you have a speaking slot? What is the length of that slot? Do you need time for Q&A or will there be an organized session for that afterwards?
3. Your past experience
The final factor in determining your speaker fee is your own personal history and what you’ve experienced before:
- What were last year’s rates and why did you decide on those numbers? Did you feel they were too low or too high? Why were they at that rate? Where do similar professionals charge more or less than yourself?
- When starting out, did most conventions pay their speakers in expenses only (meaning travel, lodging and meals) or did they also give a small fee?
- If you have a day job, how much do they pay you vs. what you make from speaking engagements?
- Are you planning on raising or lowering your rates this year due to the current circumstances listed above? If so, by how much? Why are you making that decision and will it affect the next few years as well?
When all is said and done, these three factors should give you a pretty good idea of what to charge for speaking engagements. Keep in mind that most nonprofits, colleges and local conventions cannot afford top speakers, but those high-profile events can pay surprisingly well depending on who’s giving the speech. In short: know your numbers, know the event and don’t be afraid to switch things up if you feel like it. Good luck with your speeches!
How much money do motivational speakers make?
Motivational speakers make a lot of money. These are people who address groups in order to promote a specific idea, such as a business venture or political ideology. It is not always easy to find someone to speak at your event so it is important that you know what you’re paying for and what not to expect from your speaker.
Typically, the larger the audience, the more they tend to charge. For example: $2-5k per session is about average for an inspirational speaker who addresses amateur and professional athletes and sports teams, with fees going up based on market demand and any celebrity status held by the public figure. Prices can be much higher than that however – $25-30 thousand has been paid for some motivational speakers like motivational author Anthony Robbins.
Generally, speakers should be provided with a set of guidelines explaining what the event will entail, how long the speaker is expected to speak for and if there are any audience limitations that should be taken into consideration. It’s best to have every aspect detailed beforehand so there are no unforeseen expenses or problems at a later date.
Speakers don’t always know who they’re addressing either – it could be a room full of CEOs or students from a local school. You can often give them an idea by providing examples of other guest speakers who have been invited in the past, but for obvious reasons you shouldn’t let them know about attendees before the actual day.
It is almost impossible to predict how well-received your motivational speaker will be. Some are just not suited for certain audiences, while others may come across too strong and aggressive – it depends on the speaker’s background and experience. If you’re paying $10-20 thousand or more for a motivational speaker, make sure they’ll put on a great show!
If you pay rates like that, though, make sure your star is punctual; in some cases thousands of dollars per minute can be lost when speakers don’t turn up. It doesn’t matter if their excuses are valid or not (they could have been in an accident or held up in traffic) you should demand that they compensate with free extra time at the end.
This way everyone wins; your audience gets longer to interact with them and feel inspired by their talk, and your speakers won’t feel disrespected.
You may also want to consider hiring a bodyguard or two if you don’t know the area very well. There’s always the possibility that your guest speaker may be in danger because of what they represent (race, religion etc) so it is advisable to protect them in some way. Many speakers are guarded by their own staff but this can become costly and may not be worth it for smaller events.
Normally, speakers will check out the venue beforehand and tell you about any special requirements they might have such as power outlets on stage or glycerine-free hand soap backstage. If you’re paying $10-20 thousand plus for a motivational speaker then spend an extra few hundred bucks on the perfect venue.
If you want to keep your costs down, look for motivational speakers who are relatively unknown or up and coming. They may not have the same recognition as Anthony Robbins but they will be more likely to charge a lower fee because of it.
Homespun speakers from within your community might even offer their time on a pro bono basis just so they can gain some exposure for themselves. Make sure that if you do go this route then these people have experience speaking in front of large groups though – it’s no use getting someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing!
And don’t forget to check out some online reviews as well as ask anyone you know personally if they’ve ever seen the speaker before. Sometimes smaller really is better and you can often find a great motivational speaker who is just as skilled as those with celebrity status.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to details – if your event requires a well-known personality then budget accordingly and don’t try to cut corners. If you’re looking for a more homespun approach however, remember that anyone can break out into a moving speech on a certain topic at any time!
Do conference speakers get paid?
You’ve been asked to speak at a prestigious conference, and you’re super excited. You’ll get to share your expertise on the subject with hundreds of people who are passionate about what you do. The organizers will be handing out swag bags for attendees, and there’s even the chance that your company may try to recruit new hires from the audience.
But how much credit for this success is due to you? How much will they pay you for your time? And how can you maximize your earnings and exposure within this lucrative industry?
Let’s take a quick look at different ways in which speakers are compensated:
Speakers are often paid a speaking fee by the conference organizer, which is usually a flat rate based on how many people will see your talk. Some conferences have corporate sponsors who pay part of the speaker’s fees as an advertising payoff.
Though speakers are usually expected to bring their own promotional materials, conferences may distribute flyers and provide other marketing resources for you to make the most of your trip. Many conferences also hand out bags or other merchandise to attendees, meaning that you can increase your visibility simply by showing up.
A final advantage of appearing at events like these is that there’s always the possibility that high-ranking company executives will be in the audience; if you impress them enough, they may reach out after your talk to discuss a potential job.
Your winning ways could also be recorded for posterity: many conferences record their sessions so that people unable to attend can still benefit from the information.
So the next time you get asked to speak at an event, keep in mind these various benefits of appearing at a conference and how it could lead to new opportunities within your industry.
How much do universities pay speakers?
How much do universities pay speakers? The quickest way to judge whether a speaker’s fee is reasonable is by comparing it with other speakers on the roster. If there are several presenters scheduled for an hour-long talk, you can expect that all of them will receive about the same amount of money.
There are some exceptions to this rule, especially if you’re speaking at an academic conference sponsored by your university. In those cases, it may be fair to offer a bigger payment because the university has agreed to cover expenses.
If you’re a speaker with decades of experience and a strong track record, it may be fair to expect a decent paycheck for your time. But if you are just starting out or have minimal experience, you might want to prepare yourself for an hourly rate that reflects your resume.
Standard speaking fees range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the event and your industry. Paying a speaker a small amount allows universities to include a larger variety of voices without breaking the bank.
If you’re required to travel more than 100 miles (160 km) away from home, you’re likely looking at airfare, ground transportation, meals, and possibly lodging expenses. Depending on where you live, it can also be expensive to book accommodations in some locations during peak tourist seasons or summer months.
By contrast, if you’re invited as an expert witness by an attorney who is preparing for trial, the fee may differ significantly. It might be more appropriate to negotiate a flat fee or per diem payment structure.
Some speakers go the extra mile and offer their expertise for free, but they usually have specific reasons for doing so. For example, you might want to contribute your time because you find the topic useful or if it helps grow your professional network.
However, in some cases, there may be no distinction between an expert witness’s testimony and his or her presentation at a conference. There are also speakers who donate their time in exchange for credit toward continuing education hours.
If you’re invited to speak on behalf of an organization that benefits when people attend the event (such as Oceana). Then offering free talks is one way to help attract people to the conference.
It’s rare for speakers to receive compensation from universities, but it does happen. For example, you might be contributing your expertise as part of an employment contract with your employer or university research grant.
Occasionally, schools may cover expenses (such as airfare, ground transportation costs), but you’ll need to check with the event coordinator before accepting any terms. If there are travel requirements attached to speaking at a conference, keep in mind that it can take significant effort to obtain funding through grants and other channels if you’re not willing (or able) to pay out of pocket.
If you’re invited by an international speaker agency like SpeakerEvo to speak on behalf of another company or organization, it’s usually not appropriate to ask to be paid. It’s important to remember that this is a speaker agency and they are hired by the organization (not the individual) who wishes to book you as their speaker.