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I’m part of the National Speakers Association, and some of the Certified Speaking Professionals recently had a e-conversation that started with this great question:

Who do you THINK (you do not have to be right!) is the most expensive keynoter on the market today?
Here are some of the best responses:

  • I’d go with Bill Clinton. I understand he’s a million dollars.When he isn’t speaking for free.   — Janelle Barlow  
     
  • One speaker guessed Donald Trump at $1 Million an hour – 3 hour contract.
  • Paris Hilton was guessed by another speaker pal, also at $1 million for an hour.
  • Motivational speaker Warren Evans CSP from Toronto, Canada wrote   “Just recently talking with a planner overseas for whom I am doing a gig  this spring. She tells me thought of bringing Lance Armstrong in, but he wants $750,000 for an hour.   If she can find a sponsor, however, to do a tour . . . he’ll do 4 days, or was it 5?, for a flat million.  Richard Branson is $150,000: same event. Course, these are US dollars, so it’s not as expensive as it sounds . . .
     
  • Motivational Speaker Scott Mckain added this:  This isn’t a current speaker, but legend has it that the most money ever paid for a keynote went to Art Linkletter.  Walt Disney asked Linkletter to be the speaker and emcee of the opening of Disneyland in July 1955. However, Disney had spent every nickel on the attraction, and didn’t have the money to pay Linkletter to speak. So, Linkletter said he’d give the opening address for the park — if Disney would give him all of the sales of film and camera accessories for twenty-five years. Disney agreed.  I’ve never seen a precise dollar amount — but, can you even begin to fathom how many rolls of film, flash bulbs, and other pre-digital items were sold at DISNEYLAND over a quarter of a century? Has to be the highest paid presentation of all time…   And, by the way…Linkletter is still speaking! 

But my favorite answer came from keynote speaker Jeffrey Hansler 

  • Well, the most expensive keynoter was the guy that charged $2000 and then destroyed the entire purpose of the meeting – now that was expensive….

So what do YOU think? What is the most expensive keynote speaker?

If you want a keynote speaker who can make a difference for your organization and don’t have the $1 million for Paris Hilton, perhaps you’ll consider me? Contact me directly here.

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My most recent client was Craneware. Craneware is a:

…leading supplier of business intelligence and revenue cycle software that provides clients with chargemaster management software and products designed to optimize legitimate reimbursements and assist in managing the revenue cycle through better information, workflow, pricing strategy, capture of lost revenue and best practice modeling.

I barely know what this means, and this is after 3 conference calls, some study and spending a day with them. (Ok, so I’m teasing….they sell software solutions to hospitals and medical providers.)

Imagine this for a tough audience:    A group that as been HAMMERED with content and powerpoint for two days.  They know they will be working into the night — if you count the teamwork exercise and the company dinner.      Then imagine that they know there is a speaker at 2 pm  (nap time!) but they haven’t been told that the speaker will be fun, professional, or (gasp!) funny.   All they know is that they have to show up.  

Tough crowd.  But seeing them start at a DEAD stop and then move forward until — at the end of the keynote — that room was buzzing with energy and laughter was worth the trip to Arizona. (Ok, the check was nice too.) But we had a great time in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

Thanks Craneware.  If you’re looking for a motivational business speaker to pick up your troops at any time of the day…. even nap time…. I’d love to be your guy.

Brad

The military Uncle Sam that is!

I’m not gonna get into whether or not the current war is a great idea or not. But, one thing is certain: our men and women in the military are worthy of the utmost respect. They sacrifice a lot for their families — and us — and place themselves (often) in harm’s way for our country’s freedom. In a time of economic disparity and political uncertainties for our military, I cannot think of an audience who needs a bit of a “humor reminder” more than military audiences.

Here’s a photo of me working on stage in front of an Air Force audience doing an audience participation bit with an officer. We all really had a lot of fun doing this interactive session and I hope to be able to join them another time to help lighten things up again.

I’ve spoken to several military audiences— and I love them. I’ve been able to share humor with them, understand their lives a little better and become educated as well. These folks work hard at a job that couldn’t be more serious. You might think that military audiences are harder for humorists like me. Not so. They are actually one of my most favorite audiences to speak to. They are appreciative and responsive. And best of all, they need what I have to offer. (And don’t we all feel good when what we do is not only appreciated but needed?)

Have you ever had to address a difficult audience? How did you do it? Or, have you ever been the difficult audience? What did you think of the speaker?

Can you guess what my least favorite audience is? Comment away!

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