Have you ever been asked to make a speech?

Some Dopers here seem to be tops in their professions.

I’d like to ask, have you ever been asked to give a speech to say a trade group? If so how were you compensated?

I do a lot of public speaking, but I’ve never been paid for it as such.

Never paid, but I did speak to a writers conference at a university (when the regularly-scheduled guy couldn’t make it.) I’ve spoken to crowded audiences at the San Diego Comic Con. I’ve spoken to high school writing classes.

You know A-List celebrities? Okay, I’m in the “On Beyond Zebra” category. But it is a lot of fun!

ETA: I was a member of Toastmasters for several years. That was great fun too; I made some good friends that way, and really polished my speaking skills. If you are really into public speaking, Toastmasters can be a wonderful resource.

I do a fair amount of public speaking, some of which is paid and some voluntary. This does not count history and educational programs; if you want to include those change that “fair amount” to “shitloads” and mostly paid.

Speaking for groups is a normal part of my job and my hobbies. If I have ever been compensated, it was with a bottle of wine or some flowers.

Hmmm. Speaking in front of groups that number from 10 to thousands has been part of my job for years. I also used to teach at university. And I’ve done various types of volunteer work that required public speaking.

I have not been compensated for the speaking engagements alone. Rather I’ve been compensated for doing my job, which required the public speaking.

What type of information are you looking for? The appropriate amount or type of compensation?

Couple reasons. First is finding out how many people have ever done it and been paid and second, to see how they either worked into it or developed this part of their career over time. Ex. Do they have/keep a stump or prewritten speech handy and just give that or do they write a new one every time or do they just wing it?

Its interesting and frankly depressing when you hear a speech by someone, then you hear them again maybe a year later, and they give the same speech.

BTW, sidenote - I read that when MLK gave his famous “I have a dream” speech that he adlibbed much of it reacting to what the crowd asked.

Once in a blue moon a small honorarium. More often nothing (but I’m doing it for exposure and recognition for my work, or as a direct part of my job)

If you want to be paid for public speaking, it really helps to be famous for something else first. Then you can sign with a speaker’s bureau which acts as your agent.

I TEACH public speaking. So yeah.

I’ve been asked to make speeches a few times (not counting weddings and funerals). I’ve never been offered money to speak, I think I have a better chance of being offered money to shut up.

I speak fairly frequently. The groups are usually from 20 to 100 people.

You may want to refine the question for a future thread then to allow for the bias of politics, teaching and/or general motivational speakers. The paid speeches I give are often prepared lessons of a sort; one on George Washington, one on a soldier’s life, one on the differences between the French and English in colonial America, etc. I have maybe a total of 12 “in hand” and ready to go for various places and events. Which means I can hit the same podium or stage several times and not repeat. Most people would call it a “speech” but usually what those of us who do it call it is “program”.

But there is another kind of speech where you are tossed in as part of a panel or speaking at the dedication of something. That is a one-time shot (often unpaid) and while you may go in with a rough idea of what you need to say, the words are more off the cuff. More like the kind of speeches business people are sometimes called on to make at short notice at a breakfast meeting or something like that.

I am probably wording this badly but where do you draw the line between speech and lesson and which are you more interested in?

I have given speeches a couple of times at my law school. Once as a student organization officer, and later as a “distinguished alumnus” as the keynote for a school event. I have a nice glass plaque thing from the latter, and I was given a nice leatherbound portfolio thingy with the school’s logo embossed on it. Otherwise, no compensation.

I wrote an original speech for both. The more recent one got a lot of praise and I am told the video has been replayed at both student and faculty events since. :eek:

They’re not paying you to write those briefs! :smiley:

I spoke as a part of a panel at a large conference. Speakers at my level didn’t get paid. We got discounted registration for the conference.

I have many times, 3 different types:

  1. Speaker at a conference, specifically for a breakout group. I was asked to speak about my company’s installation and use of a particular software (vendor owned). The vendor paid for all travel and expenses while my company paid my regular salary. This entailed talking through a PowerPoint presentation that I created (pre-written), then Q&A time (off the cuff).
  2. Speaker at a baseball school for coaches and players (anywhere from 5 to 300 people). I did this 10-12 weekends per year for several years. The speech portion was mostly memorized and very modular. I got very good at plugging in/skipping various modules based on what the coaches/players needed to learn. There was also a good amount of ad libbing. I often returned to the same location year after year, often with some of the same coaches/players. The modularity and ad libs made the speech at least a little different each time. This was a paid job.
  3. Twice was asked to speak, via interpreter, to a crowd of local people while in another country. That adds another layer of complexity, for sure. Jokes and wordplay often don’t survive translation, so that must be top of mind when writing/speaking in those situations. Both times I had 2-3 days notice and wrote a speech specifically for that group. Both were unpaid except for some exquisite home cooked local food afterward.

Public speaking, as you can probably tell, is not high on my list of fears.

During my college prof days I talked to groups of people a lot. Not just teaching. I’d give presentations in seminars, present papers at conferences, give talks to people about programs, grad school, etc. None of these generated extra compensation with 1 exception: Giving talks on my research at other schools. I’d get paid an “honorarium”. It would be an ~okay amount if it was for one day, but usually with travel it took up a couple days and the $ per time spent wasn’t usually so good.

Preparing a talk, standing up and presenting it, answering questions, etc., was all part of the job. Which why this bit goes against my nature:

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” -Jerry Seinfeld

I’m a natural introvert and for public speaking I just suck it up and do it.

Interesting point, this thread will have mainly responses from people who don’t have that fear but fear of public speaking is pretty common. It’s never bothered me because I am fearless (i.e. not smart enough to know when I should be afraid), but I’ve seen people agonize over the thought of speaking just a few lines in front of an audience. I think it’s easy because audiences are so polite. You might get heckled at comedy club but everyone will pay attention and clap politely when you’re done speaking at professional and organizational events. Sometimes people tell me they’re afraid of sounding stupid among their peers, I just let them know it’s no big deal because if I don’t say at least ten stupid things a day then I’m not even trying.

I speak in public a fair bit as part of my job as a university lecturer. The rough progression I’ve experienced is:

  • academic conferences where I got a discounted registration fee for being a speaker
  • public talks at small events, where they paid expenses and a small gift
  • academic/industry crossover confernece keynotes & panels with full expenses paid
  • industry conferences, which pay an honorarium which more than covers expenses, and sometimes include a workshop/tutorial where we split the profit.
  • in-house events for large companies or industry groups, where I basically charge my daily consulting rate

I’m still at the stage where it is mostly good for my career and profile to speak as often as possible. The next step up from this is to start charging a rate that limits or reduces the number of speaking engagements.

For this year, for example, I’m basically full, and I’m getting requests from people trying to find speakers at fairly last minute. So I quote a rate above my consulting rate - if that’s too much, I don’t care about losing the opportunity. If they accept, all the better.

One of the few times in my life I have ever taken any medication was when I was asked to give a small speech. Scares me to death. I have no problem giving tutorials among my peers. Public speaking is just not my thing.