As a professional speaker I am regularly asked to do free speaking engagements. The answer is always maybe.

Firstly, let me say that it is hard to get through to me and commit me to doing anything for free. Charities, non-for-profits , association groups, BNI meetings, Rotary Clubs and the list goes on, can rarely afford a professional speakers fee.

So I have below four secrets that will help you decide if the speaking engagement is right for you and there is a win win for the speaker and the event organizers.

Before I get into the four secrets you must decipher why they are not investing in the speaker.  A great conversation to have, though a little unorthodox and assertive, goes something like:

“How much are you spending on the tea and coffee for the event? How much are you spending on the food, stage and other arrangements for the event? In a week time, a months time or a years time, what do you want them to remember? The tea and coffee, the food and stage setup for the event? Or the way the speaker transformed their lifes forever, how the speaker ignited the team to take action and make a profound positive impact to the lives of the attendees. “

I know this conversation is a little harsh but it’s the truth. The speakers for events make the event. They encourage conversation, inspiration, transformation and activation.

Below are the four secrets that will help you decide if the FREE speaking engagement is right for you and there is a win win for the speaker and the event organizers.

  • Ask if you can get the details of everyone in the room.

This is NOT so you can spam them for the rest of your life. It’s so you can give attendees a free offer first, add some relevant value and build some trust first. Then maybe sell them an offer they can’t refuse.

  • Ask if you can video the event

Getting video footage of you being on stage, particularly the large stages is great. The more demo video of you being on stage the better. Event organisers and speaker bureaus always look for your stage craft, energy, how you present etc. Video testimonials from attendees at the event are also gold to have as well.

  • Ask if you can sell an offering on stage

I once was talking to a professional speaker and he had no product or resources. His book was about to be released but he had nothing to offer to his audiences that they could take away with them. I told him to create a product on the spot, it was a 5 part webinar series with coaching calls valued at $2997. He sold 10 of them at this one event. All he had to do on the day was do put together an A4 sheet of paper with the relevant offer and credit card details. Make a relevant offer to your audiences that they cannot refuse.

  • Ask if there is any ongoing opportunities

Doing a free event is a great way to showcase yourself in an audience that uses professional speakers regularly. Some great platforms would include: MEA events (Meetings and Events Australia) PCO events (Professional Conference Organisers) Speaker Bureau events (Many speakers pay to be on these stages) even a large Bluechip or Fortune 500 company that books speakers regularly. Google is one business that does not pay professional speakers to speak at many of their events, though just to get a Google testimonial is gold for credibility and general business.

These four secrets will really help you to ascertain whether the speaking engagement is right for you with a win win.

Something else to consider is that when I coach my protégés, I tell them that you are doing the industry a disservice if you charge either a low fee or a no fee. If you REALLY want to do the gig and the client has no money, just say:

“My normal speaker fee is $ XYZ though I am really keen to make this work. What are your budgets or can I ask for either of the four things” (as above)

This way when you mention that your fee is normally $ XYZ, when you smash the engagement, they know that they can not just get you again for free, they must pay your fee.

We MUST educate the market and not do a disservice to the other professional speakers in the market. Make sure that the client know that they are getting a $ XYZ speaker for free for this gig only as they are coming to the party in either the above four secrets.


  • Take me to GREENROOM. The #1OnlineHub connecting you to the world’s leading Influencers, Training and Curriculum. VISIT GREENROOM
  • Join SPEAKERS TRIBE CONFERENCE. The Ultimate Annual event for Influencers globally. APPLY TO SPEAK
  • Attend MASTERING STORYSHOWING FOR INFLUENCE AND AUTHORITY last event. A free event, learning from 7 times International Best Seller and Professional Storyteller, Sam Cawthorn, learning his secrets and techniques. BOOK NOW