Why Speakers Shouldn’t Be Paid

Hey there, about to stick my head up here and get shot at, but I had some interesting converstaions this weekend and feel like someone should post them.

Conference speakers should not be paid.

Woah.  Back down tiger.  Let me explain a bit more before you finish sharpening your pitchforks.

I’ve been to quite a few conferences.  I can cut a line down the conference sessions I have enjoyed the most- paid vs. not paid.  The reason?  I find most paid speakers do the speaking circuit.  If I am really excited about the speaker (you are paying for a conference) you check them out online. What do you find?  The speech you are about to see.

That is lame.

“But I love the community.” one paid speaker told me at BlogWorld.

I do too.  Ever come to this conference before you were paid to?

“No.”

Cool, to get this straight, you deserve to be paid to give a speech that isn’t customized for the audience, to a group that you wouldn’t be a part of unless you were paid to.

I like speakers that are passionate community members.  Ever hear this: “I learn more in the hallways of conferences than in the sessions?”  Perhaps that is because the people in the hallways are part of the community and are passionate about being there.  Wouldn’t it be cool if the speakers were just as hungry?

Now the disclosures, I do think it is fair to have their costs covered (flight, hotel).  If they are a pro speaker, they should be paid as that is what they do, and they are worth it.  If they are going to sell a unit shit ton of tickets, they deserve to be paid, but I would argue you are paying them for that in the situation, not speaking.

Pro bloggers don’t just write the same post 40 times, now do they?

Give me a conference of passion players any day.  I would watch every single speaker.

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