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Speaking Engagement Compensation

Page history last edited by Bobby Hughes 13 years, 1 month ago

How much do people charge for speaking engagements?

(May, 2011)


I charge for most (not all) of my speaking engagements, which are
all related to my work.  I know a few folks who do the same so it's not so
strange to ask for an honorarium from the event organizers.  

At larger events, like Toronto's IDS, I've been granted $2k honorariums for a
1hr talk.  Universities have granted up to $1k for a talk.  Smaller events
range between $500-$1k.  

Different events will have different procedures and capacity, of course. 




I used to pay 1,000 for people to come to stanford. that's a pretty minimal fee.  
depends a lot on the relationship you have/want w/ host, and how unique your talk is. 
I got offered 17k to do an hour talk and an hour workshop - corporate thing on innovation.
I was on a panel in november and got  comped the cost of the conference + travel and expenses - about 2.5k. 

good luck. 




It depends on a couple things:

1. What type of event is it?  Are the organizers charging for attendance & how much?  Charge away!!  If it is a free event:

2. How famous are you?

The size of your fee under either condition of (1) depends on the last.  And of course "fame" is subjective to the field.  Find out what other people of similar reputation are charging.



Tom Kelley gets $15K plus travel expenses.




Rates for speaking vary hugely.  Bill Clinton charges $50k.  My guess is $1000 or more for you.  It's really a matter of how much you can get them to pay!  You might want to try to call some somewhat comparable conference/ event organizers and poll them as to what range they pay their speakers, based on qualification, duration, activities etc.




Maya Angelou commanded $30k to speak at UNC in 1995.  I think 6000 people showed up. She was the event.



Usually, if not a local event, host covers travel, and a stipend for meals,..perhaps a small "honorarium" of $500-$1000, from my experience speaking at various events,..
I typically do not charge for any "free" event that has students,..only for events where host is charging for entry,..like a CAD or Design conference where you area  featured/advertised speaker





I work for northwestern university, and we have a variety of payment structures for guest speakers.  Generally for lectures and short workshops (1-3 hr time commitment), there's no expectation of being paid. 

We do pay people for more involved workshops, esp those that require advance preparation and/or multiple days of teaching.  There's also the factor of whether we are seeking a to fill a specific need for our students (in which case it's more likely we'll pay) or we've simply invited the person to come and talk about/teach whatever they want.

When we do pay, our rate is usually around $100/hr of active teaching time, assuming that will also cover any necessary prep time.  This of course varies widely depending on the role and person.  For teaching a whole class, that figure goes way up due to the amount of outside prep required.

Of course, there's also the non-profit factor. I think people probably have a lower expectation of pay from a university, and people are more willing to work for free for us than they would from a corporation.

I hope this helps s bit!




I work for a university. Sometimes we are able to pay our speakers (e.g. for a lecture series, if we have budgeted for it) sometimes not. The honorarium fee is usually kind of low, e.g. $150-250 depending on the nature of the lecture and time spent.  Many times, no money changes hands but speakers do it either for the publicity or just out of general goodwill.  Therefore, charging for an engagement might depend a little bit on the ability of who you are working with to to pay you.

When speaking at a conference or at any partner institution, such as another university, I would not normally be paid, nor ask for pay. That's just more like a social contract. It keeps professors like me nice and poor. But's that's another story.

If it's a question of work that you are doing for another company, you could approach it in different ways:
1. You could approach them and say that your speaking fee, including your time and preparation, would amount to $xx dollars. However, what if they had not budgeted for that?

2. You could approach them neutrally, and mention "We had not yet discussed any speaking fees or honoraria for this type of work..." This would lead into the discussion.

3. You could also estimate your time, and say something like "This will require about 4 hours of preparation plus 4 hours for the delivery of the session, for which I would have to charge you about $xx per hour billed for 8 hours. Say that up front so they can plan ahead.

4. You could just eat the time and cost if you feel it's a worthwhile effort that might lead to future benefits/favors/positive karma, etc.




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