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What I usually encounter is that speakers get to do their speaking gig for free. I have to pay my own expenses when I present at conferences where I present, and then if I want to attend the rest of the conference, I have to pay a reduced rate. This occurs at conferences where I submit an application to speak. I know that the same organization, when it invites keynote speakers, will pay their way, but if they attend the conference, they pay for that - at a reduced rate. And yes, I have planned conferences where I have had to pay a reduced rate. Conferences are expensive, and if speakers did not pay something, the other rates would be so high that no one could attend.


Thanks, Rebecca. In all my years of speaking professionally, I cannot recall ever paying to speak or to attend the other programs. (I have been speaking for decades.) I have many friends who are professional speakers, too, and this notion of paying instead of being paid would be very strange indeed.

When I do attend a conference as a part of the audience and not as a presenter, I am very happy to pay my fair share so the speakers can be paid.

Hope you are doing well. I always appreciate your stopping by!


Thanks, Stephanie, for raising this topic. Over the past few years doing presentations at healthcare-related and human resources-related conferences I have become aware of the issue of having non-paid presenters required to pay to attend conference at which they are presenting. All presenters must register and then they present at no-pay. Another version
is conference planners only pay the keynote presenters but none of the workshop presenters.
Crazy way of doing business from my view, but it must be working for conferences.
Like you, I evaluate what other items with which I feel I am rewarded for doing the presentation:
people I meet, audience for my product, etc.
I am currently scheduled to present at a national conference that pays for travel expenses and hotel for one night (night prior to your presentation), and your conference fee($995.00 for members). Presenters are responsible for paying for other hotel nights they may stay at the conference and meals not included with conference. Certainly it's my choice to stay longer and attend conference now that fee is paid. I do plan to take advantage of networking with peers and potential customers.
This practice has been happening even before the economic issues of the past couple of years. In the recent past I have refused to present at a conference that wanted my $495.00 registration fee in order for me to do a breakout session. A colleague is presenting at a conference in Baltimore in a couple of weeks where registration is required ($695.00) however many of the attendees (including her) are not self-employed and are there representing their companies that pay the registration.
Last year I was a conference planner volunteer for a program in Denver and was pleasantly surprised when the conference chair announced that the planners would receive complementary registrations.
So there seems to be some variety with how this is handled.


Thanks very much, Claire. The diversity of opinions and experiences is very intriguing. I have never run into this other way of doing things until very recently. In my world and that of colleagues with whom I have spoken about this, speakers get paid.

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