You’re hopefully here because you’re interested in me speaking at your event, which is exciting for me because I always like getting those emails. So that we can make sure that we’re the right people for each other, I’ve put together some common questions and answers, along with what’s really useful for me to know about your event.
As I run a small business, I have to choose my speaking engagements carefully so as not to interfere with any booked work and to ensure that I can give you a great, polished performance. I don’t have the backing of a huge organisation, so unfortunately I’m not always able to take everything on. The following should give you an idea of what I typically do, but if you’d like to talk about something a bit different then please get in touch.
Useful things for me to know
Whenever I get an email about speaking, I almost always reply asking the following questions. If you could let me know the answers to these when you contact me it would be great:
- What’s your event?
- Where is it being held?
- When is it?
- What kind of audience are you expecting?
- How do you plan to compensate your speakers?
- Do you have a particular topic in mind for me to speak on, or would you like me to propose ideas?
- How long should the talk be?
- Do you have a code of conduct?
- Is this event free for people to attend?
- Can I use my own laptop to present with?
- How did you find me, and why do you want me in particular?
In the run-up to the event it’s also really useful for me to know technical details including the mic options available, a confirmed slide ratio, what kind of display connections will be available etc.
What do you get when you hire me to speak?
My talks are usually educational and inspirational, and I typically blend some aspect of development culture with more broadly accessible themes. You can watch some videos from the table of previous talks if you’d like to get a better feel for this. I’m not fazed by large crowds, big stages, or events with translation services.
I will always reply to your communications promptly, and have a bank of assets like headshots and bios that I can send over easily. I’m happy to work with you to make my talk as relevant as possible to your event’s themes and audience’s interests, and can share slides in advance (although these will change right up to my talk). I’ll do my best to promote my involvement and to help sales through tweets, and I often blog about events before or afterwards.
I always use my own laptop, because that way I can guarantee that there will be no nasty surprises to catch me out in the setup, and everything is as I have rehearsed with. I completely understand that you may want to use a central laptop for everyone, but I’d much rather that we spent some time doing a proper tech check and I use my own kit. I’m used to quick switchovers, and as long as we do a tech check this won’t be a problem.
Unfortunately I’m not able to take on everything I’m asked to do, because as a small business I can’t always afford to take time off client work to prepare for or attend events. Likewise, as a minimum I typically need to have my accommodation and travel covered.
I spend a lot of time creating and practicing talks, and each is tailored to the event and audience even if it’s a talk that’s already been given in the past. Therefore, on top of travel and accommodation I typically require a speaker fee from most non-community/free events.
I do however display terrible business sense by making exceptions on wildly varying, unscientific criteria including things like ‘Are we friends and do I owe you beer?‘, ‘Is this in a place I could tie into work/a holiday?‘, and most importantly ‘Is your event free to attendees and unsponsored?‘. If you’re not making any money, or are in a country that has a hugely different economy from the UK then let’s talk anyway.
Tell me about your event!
Hopefully that all sounds good to you, in which case I’d love it if you sent me an email at sally [at] recordssoundthesame.com telling me all about what you’re planning. Hope to hear from you soon!