What do you do if you get asked to do a free talk?
Should you say yes or no?
The answer isn’t actually that straight forward.
On the one hand, you should avoid speaking for free, because as a speaker the product you’re selling is you and your talk. So if you want to make money, you need to get paid to speak.
On the other hand, a free talk can generate new, bigger opportunities.
So, what should you do?
It all depends on your strategic objectives.
What do I mean by strategic objectives?
When it comes to speaking, I define strategic objectives as a list of desired outcomes of a talk.
You can have an overall list of strategic objectives, and you can have mini-list for each talk.
I ran an exercise to help my group discover their own strategic objectives at my latest Business Freedom Speaking Academy, and here were some that came up:
- Get rebooked
- Build email list
- Have fun
- Get an agent for a book deal
One strategic objective can be to get paid. I hope this is one of your objectives. If this is your only strategic objective however, a free talk won’t align with what you want to accomplish.
There are several strategic objectives that will make a free talk worth it. Here are some of them:
- Connecting with a key person that can open more significant opportunities
- Open up opportunities in a new country
- Get media coverage
- Get featured in articles, blogs, and podcasts
- Get video and photos of you on a stage with an audience (that you can use in a demo reel, on your website or marketing materials)
- Contribution to a cause
- Create buzz on social media
If you decide that doing a free talk aligns with enough of your strategic objectives, here’s something I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you do; Send them an invoice with your standard speaking fee and credit the invoice with a one-time 100% discount.
Yes, the invoice is zero.
You might be thinking; Why should I do that?
The reason why you should this is to show them how much your usual speaking fee is and that it clearly states that this is a one-time discount.
If you do a great job, it’s highly likely that they want to book you again. You are now in a much better position to negotiate a better deal.
Next time you’re considering a talk, decide if it aligns with enough of your strategic objectives, and ALWAYS send an invoice — even if you’re speaking for free!