1. Laurel, you should totally name names. I want to know who this was!

    Like you, I speak fairly often – I’ve got three in the next two weeks! Unless I’m a fan of the conference or cause, I usually ask for expense coverage.

    I’ve started to be offered a speaker fee and am considering asking for one as a matter of course. Nothing extravagant, but something that approaches covering the 20-40 hours it takes to write, design and rehearse a quality presentation – the kind of thing that an audience paying good money for a conference deserves.

  2. Thanks Laurel – I enjoy reading your posts. I’ve never met ANYONE more in love with parentheses than I am. Until now. 😉

  3. 100 % with you on this Laurel!
    I’ve had a couple of instances of this lately and it’s just… well – no, it’s not OK…

    Oh – and you forgot to add the conferences that want your slides 60 days in advance… I sent a blank template once, just to get them off my back.. hehehe – I smiled, they didn’t! 😉

    And then – have you had the: “we own your IP on that presentation and we can now sell it, reformat it etc” – I had a nasty altercation with a group on that one…

    But… you know what the scariest part is?
    Someone (other speakers) must be allowing this to happen..
    Come on speakers – time to put your foot down (or feet!)

    Anne BB 😉

  4. It can be worse. I’ve been asked to teach workshops (like full day things where people pay good dollars to learn from me) and been expected to do it all for the pleasure of getting a free ticket to the main conference – no expenses covered, no profit share. It is very hard to keep a straight face answering those emails…

  5. @stephen collins I feel mean naming the conference organisers – they are not a bad company, just doing an industry standard thingy.

    @james f I have no idea… what you are… you know… talking about… 😛

    @AnneBB ah the old we-own-j00 and your-IP trick.
    maybe other speakers should blog about these issues adn we link together. Tell the conference organisers how we really feel? Or maybe I should start a conference-organiser-rank/review community – bad review anyone? 😛

    @donnaspencer there are enough newbie consultants out there who haven’t figured out what is chargeable and what isn’t, and where their IP lays, for conf organisers to get at least two workshop days for free… or paid for by the company doing the workshop as promotion. *sighs*

  6. Totally agree Laurel. If the conference is mailed out to you in a plastic bag at least 6 times a day with ‘early bird’ stickers all over it that would cover many of the ones you talk about. As well as boring the *%&^ off attendees they actually slow the industry down, nothing changes quickly and everyone is being oh so, politically correct and company tow-the-line – then there is the dreaded “OK we have 30 seconds for indepth questions!”.

    I have also noticed the ‘company dreary’ conferences pepper the sequence with the ‘court jester’ type speakers (you know who you are!). Those who are a bit edgy, but safe enough not to upset anyone, future gazer, space cadet types who provide half time entertainment for the fat cats.

    This is a global phenomenom, the organised conference virus, has been around for decades – I think naming a few names will certainly bring change but also I would suggest polarise even more – the gap between (web 1.0, push telco/entertainment), and (web 2.0 shared/participatory/mash etc:)…but that may not be a bad thing 😉

  7. Yeah I noticed there was a fair bit of disgust on Twitter about Oracle’s blatant advertising at Enterprise 2.0 in Boston yesterday. TV commercials, while annoying, are acceptable because you can always mute the channel or change to another channel while waiting for your show/film to come back on. You don’t have that option in a conference. Advertising like that definitely works AGAINST the company attempting to promote themselves.

  8. Laurel:

    I have a confession to make. I am a conference and event organizer. “Hi Jeff,” the crowd responds in AA fashion.

    I’ve hired more than 2,500 speakers in the past 10+ years. And, I’ve been on several sides of the event: as the speaker, as the attendee and as the conference organizer. So I understand the complexities and challenges each group faces.

    I agree that speakers should be treated better and paid. I often don’t pay “industry speakers” but do give them free registration to the conference and sometimes free lodging. I was stunned that you found some speakers paying the conference organizers to access the audience.

    I treat my relationship with my conference speakers as a partnership. Ultimately, if I’m paying the speaker, I’m the customer, as are my attendees. However, I know that I need to do everything in my power possible to help the speaker succeed and connect with my audience. (I even wrote about it recently http://jeffhurtblog.com/2009/12/09/6-things-to-help-your-conference-speakers-succeed/)

    I think your idea of rating and ranking conferences and conference organizers is great and needed. If more attendees would rise up, speak out and demand better quality at their conferences, organizers would be forced to change their ways.

    Keep the posts about conferences and speaking coming. Hopefully, the conference organizers are reading.

  9. Nice post, yeah it’s VERY annoying when you’re asked to speak “somewhere” and it turns out it’s a total cult-ish sales/Amway type meeting (I get some odd invites :()

    LOL @ “Please don’t invite me to pay for a speaking spot. Please don’t invite me to speak “for free” and then tell me I have to pay for ‘the other day’s‘ ticket ( I sometimes attend both days to get a feel for audience level of knowledge/interest). Please don’t ask me to buy a ticket to a conference that looks like it could be interesting but turns out to be long-form live advertising. I use “live” loosely – some of the speakers look as bored with their products as we, the audience, are.

    Sheesh, no wonder they think I’m good at speaking – look at the competition! Heh.”!

Comments are closed.