It takes a lot of confidence to be this ridiculous.
I wanted to share this post by my friend David McQueen on why he doesn’t speak for free. Public speaking is his full-time occupation and increasingly, it is becoming one of my key occupations, so it was good to read his thoughts on speaking for free and feeling okay with saying ‘no’ to ‘opportunities’.
“I take my craft very seriously and have devoted years of practice and research to doing what I do well. From training in voice management to breathing control to understanding rhetoric. Learning stage management and platform skills from the world of drama, politics and other prosperous speakers. Understanding human behaviour by reading and engaging in conversations on anthropology, neuroscience, behavioural economics and pyschology, as well as countless conversations and feedback from my clients to learn what went well and how we can improve for the next time.
“So why is it that irrespective of this I still get people who ask me if I can speak for free? That regardless of the fact I have spoken and continue to speak for blue chip clients like Barclaycard, SHell, BP, RBS, BBC, Channel 4, HSBC, ASDA, Morgan Stanley and worked with entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson, that organisers think their platform will give me “exposure”?”
The promise of ‘exposure’ is always very interesting!
There are many organisations that do not appreciate that this is what you do to make a living. I always wonder if they appreciate you, your work, and your time so much, why is it they are rarely ready to invest in you? Would they do their job for free or at a discount?
David’s formula for deciding what to do with requests is based on the three Ps: Paid, Platform or Pass.
I myself have started basing my decisions on what work to accept and opportunities to give my time to on the three Ps. I ask myself am I getting paid for this work? If I’m not getting paid, is this going to pay me in another way – will this be good for my personal brand and the other brands and organisations my name is attached to? Does this fit in with my morals and what I believe in? Am I genuinely helping others and spreading my message to the right people? Is this really an amazing and interesting opportunitity or just another attempt to exploit my time and talents? If I can’t answer ‘yes’ enthusiastically to all these questions then I pass.
Creativity is a commodity worth paying for, as is the time and talents of educators, facilitators, performers, and speakers, for whom so much of the work is done behind the scenes before they hit the stage.
Check out everything David has to say on the topic here.