How to Get Paid More as a Public Speaker

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If you’re an author, there’s a good chance that you’re also a public speaker.Кольца

Sometimes you speak for free (for the exposure or to simply spread your message), but other times people will be willing to pay you to speak at their events.

Here’s a great tip to keep in mind when those paying gig opportunities come along. I first came across this idea in a blog post titled “How to Get Paid What You’re Worth” by Peter Shankman.

Here’s the golden nugget:

There’s power in those 12 simple words. For example, imagine the following dialogue:

“Hi. I’d like to book you to speak at our upcoming business meeting. How much do you charge?”

“Well, I could probably do it for 500 bucks.”

“Great. Let’s book it.”

“Wait! On second thought, it’ll actually cost you $900. Is that OK?”


However, imagine this dialogue instead:

“Hi. I’d like to book you to speak at our upcoming business meeting. How much do you charge?”

“Thanks for asking. First, I need to know where and when it is, the topic you’d like me to cover, how long you’d like me to speak, etc.”

“Sure. It’ll be the afternoon of September 17. And it’s right here in town on the south side. It’s an all-day workshop for our sales managers. I’d like you to lead a 90-minute breakout session on how to use social media to engage with customers.”

“Sounds great. I am available that day. My rate for corporate events like this is $1,000.”

“Oh … I was given a budget of no more than $750 for this segment.”

“Hmm … well, since it’s in town, I’ll extend a $250 discount. I can do it for $750.”

See how this works?

So … put a reasonably high value on the books and services you offer. You can always negotiate or lower your “normal” fee when it feels right. But if you don’t start from a position of value to begin with, you short-change yourself and your income.

This pricing philosophy also extends to your books and other information products. If you think that keeping your prices low will endear you to fans and increase sales to the masses, more often than not you will be disappointed.

When you start with prices that are cut to the bone, you leave yourself no room to offer discounts or do special promotions.

There’s a better way!

Let’s say you would be happy to sell your books for $15 each. Instead of promoting that price to start with, put a price of $20 on them.

That gives you room to create incentives. Perhaps you could promote “Buy one book for $20, two for $35, or all three for $45.”

That type of offer makes the $45 price seem awful tempting. By doing this, you would increase the amount of the average sale – and still get the $15 per book you want!

“You can always come down in price. You can NEVER go up.”

What are your thoughts on getting paid what you’re worth? How have you gone about generating more book sales or speaking income? I welcome your comments.

You can read Peter Shankman’s article that inspired this here.




  1. Dear Bob:

    What an excellent post! I agree with you. It’s better to price something a little higher and then give people a deal.

  2. Bob,

    Those are great ideas. I’ve also seen these other techniques implemented –

    A lot of times budgets for speaking and training materials are separate. If they’re unwilling to do $1,000 but can do $750, ask if they have a training materials budget. For the $250 you can toss in 10-20 books.


    Negotiate travel/lodging accommodations. Once again, sometimes things like this come out of a different budgeting pot. Doesn’t hurt to check.

  3. Believe it or not, once I actually got paid more than I asked for. I got a call from a woman at a speakers bureau in Paris representing the Turkish National Congress on Quality. She asked me how much I would charge for a one-hour speech about “The Joy of Not Working” in Istanbul.

    My immediate thought was $1,500 plus first-class expenses. But I blurted out, “$2,500 plus first-class expenses.

    The woman replied, “We can get you $3,000 and they will pay for first-class travel plus put you up in the Ritz-Carlton Istanbul.”

    Incidentally, this turned out to be the trip of my life. They put me up in an executive suite at the Ritz Carlton for 3 nights at a cost of $1,280 a night. The executive-class airfare cost the organization $14,000. They had a driver assigned to me from morning to midnight and took me out to dinner every night.

    Yes, I know I could have asked for $5,000 but I don’t regret having done this gig for $3,000 plus expenses. Again, the trip of my life for having to speak for only one hour.

    And I didn’t spend a cent in Istanbul.

    Ernie Zelinski
    International Best-Selling Author, Innovator, and Prosperity Life Coach
    Author of “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free”
    (Over 150,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
    and “The Joy of Not Working”
    (Over 250,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)

  4. Bob Baker says:

    Ernie, That’s a great, real-life story of what’s possible. Thanks for sharing!

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