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  • Héctor A. Venegas

paid vs. unpaid speaking

I was part of the EventProfsTalk organized by @themiceblogHQ the other day joined by experienced and influential event professionals.

The topic was something that drives a lot of event professionals with enough experience in their specific field:

Paid vs. unpaid speaking

We have all been invited to speak at event industry shows and association events at some point. And it really is an honor being invited to speak there. The first time I was invited I was thrilled and prepared my lecture very well, like I always do. But this time I gave even more effort to it. I was excited to speak to other meetings and events professionals, knowing that they are a hard and critical audience. But I did well and moved and inspired them. It really didn't matter that I wasn't getting paid for the effort. I was being an expert, giving back to the industry and getting exposure.

From the people that approached me after the talk, I did get some good connections, but none that I would consider as “lead”.

Some that approached me, asked me if I could also do a speech at their conference, which was flattering. When dealing out the details, it I had to learn, that unfortunately they also didn't have any budget. They offered free hotel stay and of course…. exposure.

From the perspective of the conference organizer it is understandable. They have offered education to the attendees and have to fill the speaking slots. Of course, they focus on quality, but if quality in not achievable, quantity will do the job.

There will always be someone within the industry that would like to get some more exposure.

For speakers, like me, that have started making a part of their living, speaking about industry related topics, it gets hard at some point to speak for exposure. Exposure will not pay the rent.

The other aspect is, that from a speaker’s perspective your effort doesn't seem to be valued or respected by the organizer.

It really doesn't take much to show respect and value.

Even if the budget is low, there still are possibilities that a speaker would feel valued and respected and would get a good return on his/her investment. If the exposure is more than the random audience the speaker will have but includes a good promotion of the speaker and the topic beforehand, combined with a coverage on the show platforms, print and online, this would be something valuable.

And a little payment is better than no payment at all.

If industry events and shows take the educational aspect of their conferences seriously, it is about time to start investing in it.

The quantity will be replaced by quality. That is a promise!

Try it! You will see how it works!

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