The Complete Guide to Public Speaking

By Jeff Davidson | Go to book overview
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Show Me the Money

The aspiring public speaker is often delighted and amazed to find out how much he or she can charge for a professional presentation. Regardless of your fee, if you don't receive payment, you haven't earned a dime. It behooves the professional speaker to ensure that he or she does receive payment and in a timely manner. Most professional speakers insert clauses in their speaking agreements that state how they wish to be paid.

We're going to focus on the importance of collecting a deposit up front, long in advance of ever giving the presentation. This element alone gives you more protection and assurance than nearly anything else you could request. Later, we'll focus on what it takes to earn big fees.

Let's start with a hypothetical fee, $3,000. Suppose the XYZ Company calls you in January and wants to book you for a date in June. As a result of your telephone discussions, the client understands how much you charge and has agreed to your fee. Invariably, he or she will ask you to send your speaker agreement form or contract. If you can send your own agreement, you can largely dictate your own terms.

In the case of a January booking for a June event, I would suggest the following terms. First, state that you ask for one-half of the fee upon completion of the agreement. If the event is canceled for any reason, you are in a superior negotiating position. Remember to state in your agreement the terms for payment should the client cancel.

In general, you want to inform the client as follows:

In the highly unlikely event that this agreement is canceled by the client and the unlikely event that the date is not resold by Jeff Davidson, MBA,


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The Complete Guide to Public Speaking
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