It’s flattering, but…

by Lee Hopkins on January 1, 2008 · 24 comments

in Uncategorized

conferences

Flatteringly, I’ve been invited to n number of conferences in 2008, all around the globe.

I’m happy to go — but just pay my business class airfare, accommodation and expenses and I’m very happy to present.

Otherwise please find another luminary.

No disrespect, but I’ve had enough of “this will be wonderful for your profile” shite. Ask any presenter who has ever presented for free on the promise that wondrous amounts of business will follow… it doesn’t.

I’m good. I know my stuff. I’m quite happy to stay at home and work on my doctoral research. I don’t need your conference to add value to my life. You want me (because it adds value to your conference), you pay for me. Simple as that.

Those conferences I’ve already signed up for — no problems, I will still honour my obligation and contract; those pitching to me – meet the bills or miss out.

Yes, this sounds incredibly arrogant, not the ‘Australian way’ of doing things at all… but I have too many offers and not enough resources to meet them.

The ‘evangelist’ part of me would fly out to every conference every where in the world (so far in the last 7 days invitations from South Africa, Brazil, Venezuela, Singapore, Reykjavik…) but the financial realist of the BetterComms World Dominations Enterprise (aka Mrs BetterComms) helps me appreciate that someone else has to foot the bill because we cannot without selling one of our children into slavery.

I know that that child would be most put out if we did.

So pay me to present, otherwise don’t waste my time. Sorry.

  • http://ben.hamilton.id.au/ Ben Hamilton

    If all they cover is your air fares, accommodation and meals, then their being stingy.

    I know you have helped charities out, so any business oriented conference can fly, sleep, feed AND PAY for your time – you don’t need to feel that your attitude is unethical or un-”Australia” – I know that you have given of yourself.

    “Tell ‘em they’re dreaming!”
    http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Castle

    OR they could just subscribe to your RSS feed, it has a few gems in it ;-)

    Ben.

  • http://ben.hamilton.id.au Ben Hamilton

    If all they cover is your air fares, accommodation and meals, then their being stingy.

    I know you have helped charities out, so any business oriented conference can fly, sleep, feed AND PAY for your time – you don’t need to feel that your attitude is unethical or un-”Australia” – I know that you have given of yourself.

    “Tell ‘em they’re dreaming!”
    http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Castle

    OR they could just subscribe to your RSS feed, it has a few gems in it ;-)

    Ben.

  • http://prblog.typepad.com/ Kevin Dugan

    Lee – It’s not being unreasonable at all. Personally I think more of the evangelists need to monetize in 2008. I’m one of them. It’s not being stingy. Cheers!

  • http://prblog.typepad.com Kevin Dugan

    Lee – It’s not being unreasonable at all. Personally I think more of the evangelists need to monetize in 2008. I’m one of them. It’s not being stingy. Cheers!

  • http://www.freshchat.com.au/ Jenni Beattie

    I agree Lee.

    You may have read Laurel Papworth’s recent and related post about new/social media expertsin Australia being continually invited in for ‘chats’ and a few ‘ideas’ then not followed up for work.

    http://silkcharm.blogspot.com/2007/12/raping-web-20-australian-community.html

    Perhaps any emerging area needs to establish credentials first before the dollars flow but I think we would all agree that we are past that stage.

  • http://www.freshchat.com.au Jenni Beattie

    I agree Lee.

    You may have read Laurel Papworth’s recent and related post about new/social media expertsin Australia being continually invited in for ‘chats’ and a few ‘ideas’ then not followed up for work.

    http://silkcharm.blogspot.com/2007/12/raping-web-20-australian-community.html

    Perhaps any emerging area needs to establish credentials first before the dollars flow but I think we would all agree that we are past that stage.

  • http://lubetkinsotherblog.blogspot.com/ Steve Lubetkin

    Lee, you articulated it eloquently. Commercial conference producers have for too long taken advantage of the eagerness of speakers to appear before these “valuable” audiences. The audiences are so valuable they are paying the conference providers hundreds of dollars to be there. The LEAST the conference producers could do is pay for the talent at the show. You have spoken truth to (rapidly diminishing) power.

    Bravo for drawing a personal line in the sand.

  • http://lubetkinsotherblog.blogspot.com Steve Lubetkin

    Lee, you articulated it eloquently. Commercial conference producers have for too long taken advantage of the eagerness of speakers to appear before these “valuable” audiences. The audiences are so valuable they are paying the conference providers hundreds of dollars to be there. The LEAST the conference producers could do is pay for the talent at the show. You have spoken truth to (rapidly diminishing) power.

    Bravo for drawing a personal line in the sand.

  • http://www.conniebensen.com/ Connie Bensen

    Hey Lee,
    I’m glad that you let Mrs. C help keep things in perspective.

    We have a thing here too called ‘Minnesota nice’.

    good post sir!

  • http://www.conniebensen.com Connie Bensen

    Hey Lee,
    I’m glad that you let Mrs. C help keep things in perspective.

    We have a thing here too called ‘Minnesota nice’.

    good post sir!

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    WOW!

    Thanks, everyone, for your support on this issue — as I mentioned, I was worried that my stance would appear arrogant and self-important.

    I truly wish I *could* attend all of the wonderful conferences I’m invited to, but without having won the lottery I just cannot afford to.

    I REALLY appreciate that you share my concerns about misuse and abuse of willing evangelists.

    Kindests,
    Lee

    p.s. and have a fabulous 2008!
    p.p.s. and WONDERFUL to hear from you, Jenni — I thought you’d dropped off the face of the earth!

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    WOW!

    Thanks, everyone, for your support on this issue — as I mentioned, I was worried that my stance would appear arrogant and self-important.

    I truly wish I *could* attend all of the wonderful conferences I’m invited to, but without having won the lottery I just cannot afford to.

    I REALLY appreciate that you share my concerns about misuse and abuse of willing evangelists.

    Kindests,
    Lee

    p.s. and have a fabulous 2008!
    p.p.s. and WONDERFUL to hear from you, Jenni — I thought you’d dropped off the face of the earth!

  • http://tidbitsandmore.blogspot.com/ Donna Tocci

    Lee – “I’m sorry”. No way – you are being realistic – no need for apologies! Good for you for putting your foot down. Bravo!
    Happy New Year to you, Mrs. BetterComms and the (unslave-like) children!

  • http://tidbitsandmore.blogspot.com Donna Tocci

    Lee – “I’m sorry”. No way – you are being realistic – no need for apologies! Good for you for putting your foot down. Bravo!
    Happy New Year to you, Mrs. BetterComms and the (unslave-like) children!

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    Mind you, there are days when Mrs BetterComms and I would *willingly* sell one of the children! :-)

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    Mind you, there are days when Mrs BetterComms and I would *willingly* sell one of the children! :-)

  • http://www.prdisasters.com/ Gerry

    Cripes, Lee; your New Yrs resolution was obv a ‘zero tolerance’ policy!! yet added to L Papworth’s experience, many ‘experts’ may be being fleeced. For eg; I’ve spoken in Middle East and had airfares, all accom/transfers and food on top of my full day rate speaker fees. Other conf organisers (in ME and Asia Pac) have asked me to submit detailed prez props – but when I outlined fees, they drafted in other speakers who (just may have) been able to access my proposal materials. Yet I may still do expenses only gigs, by way of giving back to the industries which I earn from.
    Best, Gerry

  • http://www.prdisasters.com Gerry

    Cripes, Lee; your New Yrs resolution was obv a ‘zero tolerance’ policy!! yet added to L Papworth’s experience, many ‘experts’ may be being fleeced. For eg; I’ve spoken in Middle East and had airfares, all accom/transfers and food on top of my full day rate speaker fees. Other conf organisers (in ME and Asia Pac) have asked me to submit detailed prez props – but when I outlined fees, they drafted in other speakers who (just may have) been able to access my proposal materials. Yet I may still do expenses only gigs, by way of giving back to the industries which I earn from.
    Best, Gerry

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  • http://www.acidlabs.org/ Stephen Collins

    I have to agree with you 100 per cent. I’ve had around half a dozen approaches in the last six months to speak at conferences. Some I’ve done for free, as I actually wanted to be there, others paid for my costs.

    The money most conferences make from charging attendees in excess of AU$2000 for a 2-3 day conference should make it easy for them to cover at least speaker costs, and perhaps even pay the speakers a reasonable fee for their time.

    I blogged about this very issue in September at http://www.acidlabs.org/2007/09/14/no-consultants-go-figure/

    Attending is a different matter. I’m as happy to get an occasional comp as the next guy, but if I am prepared to pay for a conference, I make sure my selection is careful. Again I’ve discussed this issue at acidlabs – http://www.acidlabs.org/2007/12/27/conferences-and-value/

  • http://www.acidlabs.org Stephen Collins

    I have to agree with you 100 per cent. I’ve had around half a dozen approaches in the last six months to speak at conferences. Some I’ve done for free, as I actually wanted to be there, others paid for my costs.

    The money most conferences make from charging attendees in excess of AU$2000 for a 2-3 day conference should make it easy for them to cover at least speaker costs, and perhaps even pay the speakers a reasonable fee for their time.

    I blogged about this very issue in September at http://www.acidlabs.org/2007/09/14/no-consultants-go-figure/

    Attending is a different matter. I’m as happy to get an occasional comp as the next guy, but if I am prepared to pay for a conference, I make sure my selection is careful. Again I’ve discussed this issue at acidlabs – http://www.acidlabs.org/2007/12/27/conferences-and-value/

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