How To Determine Your Speaking Fees

A burning question I’m often asked is what to charge. The query comes from new and seasoned speakers that are trying to figure out their speaking fees – what the market will bear and more important, what is profitable.

This is my response: Speaking fees are based on a number of variables from the event itself (small association event, conference, congress etc.) to the value that you will bring. Also consider your level of skill and ability to deliver a speech/presentation.

Most important is (I can’t stress this enough – it’s key) what is the value you will bring to the issue(s) that conference attendees are up against? What is the value that event organizers are looking for in order to be eager to hire you?

Spend lots of time reflecting on the concept of value. It is the crux of your outreach/pitch. Why would an event organizer believe you are a good fit to speak on their stage(s)? What problem/issue does your presentation help solve/educate/inspire their attendees? Is your value worthy enough that attendees will buy tickets for next year’s event? Will they be excited to attend again?

When you understand your value, both perceived and tangible, the next step is to decide on a dollar value. It’s not set in stone (nor is your value prop) and will change with the more intel you gather and stage time you experience.

Typically those new(ish) to the industry charge between $1500 and $3000. At this stage you’ve had some good speaking experiences and have delivered a number of presentations gratis. The next step up, as you become respected for your subject knowledge is $3000 – $6000 then $6000 – $9000.

As a professional speaker you must stand in confidence with your decision – own it . Whether someone can afford you is not the issue. They aren’t a good client fit if they can’t. You’ve already decided what a viable profit margin is so it would be foolish to back track and run in the red. You’re better served to decline and say no.

Confidently state your speaking fees and if you can feel hesitation ask if it’s within their budget. If the event organizer states a lower fee consider if you want to negotiate other methods of payment (travel, hotel, etc) or what can be removed to make their budget work. At this stage of negotiation sometimes you’ll want to stand your ground and say that the fee stands …. and sometimes the client will after a bit of reflection agree. Ultimately the client’s decision is hinged on perceived value.

Need help clarifying your value as a speaker, coming to terms with your speaker fee, or help creating your pitch? Get in touch. I’d be pleased to learn more to see if I can be of help.


I help build confident voices so they’re heard.

Janice Tomich is the founder of Calculated Presentations, a company dedicated to bringing out speaker’s stories to influence change. Janice coaches professionals, entrepreneurs, TED and TEDx speakers. She is a champion for equal representation by a diverse pool of presenters for all speaking events. Follow Janice on Twitter @janicetomich, on Facebook, on LinkedIn and subscribe for newsletter updates.

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