REBLOG | No I won’t speak at your event … for “exposure”

This came to my attention via Jane Hart through my Twitter feed.

I admit, I’m conflicted.

One one hand I get what he is saying, in that if you’re charging people to attend and event, it doesn’t necessarily align with asking speakers to donate their time when participants are paying for the privilege.

On the other hand, not all of us are so fortunate that we can demand speaking fees if asked to participate. In some cases, us “common folk” may welcome the exposure associated with such requests and – if they make sense – we may well jump at the chance.

What are your thoughts?

No I won’t speak at your event or write for you for “exposure” | Media tips.


About Mark L. Sheppard

learning geek, lifelong learner, terminally curious, recovering blogger and Ed Tech explorer.

Posted on March 5, 2015, in commentary, opinion, reblog, thoughts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I think it all boils down to how much you value “exposure”.

    The author is a journalist. Someone whose job is precisely to create and sell exposure. So to offer exposure is like trading for what he has already.

    I was offered to speak in a big CAD conference in Detroit. I was not paid, trip from Europe and accomodation was on me but free entrance to the show, a “speaker” tag. That was great for a younger me. Being invited afterward to sit and talk with CEOs of the big names of Detroit and Boston gave a different perspective to my career. Me writing on this blog is a direct consequence of it.

    I was invited for free, same, in a conference in Singapour by an obscure event organizer. Ended up that the goal was to arrange a meeting with a big Corean company. Cool exposure, good money down the road.

    It could be also that you get entrance to closed conference. Conferences where you wouldn’t be allowed to register not being invited. This of course wouldn’t happen for a journalist but for us common people it happens. They need diversity and fresh thoughts.

    I do the parallel with guest blogging. The question came at the end of the video of Sacha and Harold Jarche I watched last week. Would you do a guest blog for free. The deal is of course to trade with exposure. Exposure has to be real.

    Trade has always been the ground of Knowledge exchange (cf #HBRogue today). It’s just that what you trade depends on how much the other party is dying for it. The deal could be broked on a combo of exposure, advantages, money.

    Bottom line. If people with limited finance and limited exposure can’t trade knowledge and cooperations, all are loosing. The only alternative left is to trade with big established Co who tend to behave like sharks. They pay but their conditions are drastic.So smart people should be able to trade taking into account future values.

    It’s very common in the Software realm.

  2. I just had this conversation with colleagues, so my thoughts are fresh. There are multiple scenarios to consider.

    FIRST, if I am responding to an open call for proposals and the terms of being accepted are known in advance, then I’ve agreed to those terms, whatever they are. Compensation may be a complimentary conference admission, but I’ve agreed to these terms. if I don’t like the terms, I can either call to negotiate (unlikely) or simply pass. That’s my choice.

    Now, if I am being invited, I only wish I had the ability to command “decent” speaking fees, and at that point I would also make the business decision that my time is far too valuable to give away in exchange for some ill-defined exposure. But consider too the typical keynote speaker at conferences in the U.S. They’re whisked in backstage just before their presentation and whisked away shortly after. They don’t usually (other than for a book-signing) stick around afterward to network and grow their business the way the majority of us would, given the opportunity.

    Having the luxury to complain about being asked to speak for exposure is somewhat annoying to we mere mortals, at best. There are sayings that you can’t get what you want unless you ask, and there’s no harm in asking. So just politely decline and let the organizers move on to those of us who would be tickled pink to be offered an opportunity to speak for exposure. And if you have an agent handling all of that, let them send that message. But don’t fault someone for asking – they won’t likely ask a second time.

    As for writing, I don’t fault companies for asking me to write gratis or for a small fee. My issue isn’t so much that I want to be paid as I don’t want to be perceived as supporting one vendor over another.

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