Rohit Bassi

Jun 14, 2021


“What will a horse eat if it befriends the grass?” - Ancient Asian Wisdom

The pandemic which clearly now is an endemic has had a dramatic impact on all ventures. Then we have pathetic discrimination and racism still happening. Yes, the pay gap issue is there when companies or conference organisers/planners are looking to hire speakers (for a talk, training, coaching etc) for their event. Sadly, there is a pay gap between a male and a female speaker. But it does not stop there. There is a burning issue of not getting hired because of the speaker's skin colour, ethnic background or nationality.


Sadly, speakers are often asked to carry out a free talk, training, workshop, coaching or emcee with the promise of the extremely vague possibility of marketing exposure, the extremely vague possibility of prospects and the extremely vague possibility of payable events for the future. There are very few occasions where things do happen. Although, most speakers I know have fallen for this and very rarely a few got any of this. With the current COVID situation this is getting worse as there is a myth that virtual sessions of these types needed to be completely free.

“Speaking is my business. Like any business, there's a cost involved. And a value to the customers who purchase it.” - Richard Oberbruner

A professional speaker tends to have a good website showing his/her areas of expertise, videos in action and free content (blogs, downloads, ebooks etc) to serve anyone who is visiting their site. Professional speakers through the years have invested time and money to develop their expertise, public speaking skills and powerful presentations required to make an event successful (even if it is virtual). Yet, numerous companies and conference organisers/planners seem to forget this, ignore this or simply are looking to pay some speakers and not others.

By getting speakers, trainers or coaches to do free talks (speaking/ training/ coaching) without any value exchange you are guilty of damaging their livelihood. This is an unwholesome act by companies or conference organisers/planners.

It is great to deliver free talks for charities, CSR initiatives or supporting something you truly believe in. Yes, there could be times when a talk may be done for no or low fee, but not for free. Note: "non-profit" does not necessarily mean "charity". It could be serving communities through events carried out by Up Your Game, Ideas & Inspiration or similar initiatives that focus on transforming the people of the world into something better through the sharing of powerful practical ideas. And then there are scenarios where strategically it makes sense to carry the talk based on the certain thing you require in return (here is where getting guidance from a seasoned speaker who has great business acumen helps).

“I politely say they are not paying me to speak for an hour. They are paying for my years of expertise and experience.” - Dane L. Logan

Yes, speakers (trainer or coaches) would love to be a part of your events and at the same time going back to the quote “What will a horse eat if it befriends the grass?” we have to feed our employees, provide for our family, our-self, our business, CSR initiatives, develop our-self professionally, medical insurance and much more. Let us not forget the taxes as well. There has to be a fee associated with the service we deliver.

Speaking is a business. Like any business, there's a cost involved. And is of high value to the customers who engage with the speaker, trainer or coach. Many speakers, trainers and coaches continue to fall prey to offering paid services for free. There is nothing wrong with this and there is a fine line to this. Is there a value exchange that is mutually beneficial (win-win) happening between both parties?

Trust companies and conference organisers/planners of events understand like they need to earn a living to feed themselves and their family, have profits...the same goes for any professional speaker (trainer or coach) out there whose business is to speak.

Kindly, respect the profession.

Written by:

Rohit Bassi

Jun 14, 2021