Speakers Bureau for Corporate Communicators

Last week I was filling in for a Chief Communications Officer who had to pull out of a conference one week prior and via a common friend connected me to the organisers to have me as the replacement. I’m wary of communication conferences organised by conferencing companies because they charge atrocious fees from gullible participants and offer them the same old two dozen communicators as speakers. Either you charge a huge fee and offer something unique or do not charge a huge fee. According to me anything more than Rs 1000/- per hour is a huge fee and anything less than that is not. There is no formula for charging a fee but if a conference targets 100 people and has a basic set-up including a meal with two to three people working on it full-time for two to three months, then the cost can be in the vicinity of Rs 10 lakh, which means an average cost of Rs 10,000/- per person in the absence of sponsors and anything close to 30% to 40% lesser if it includes sponsors.

Well, there were 25 corporate communication directors who were signed up as speakers and present at any given time in the hall. I was there on the second day in the second half and there were about 30 attendees scattered around a dozen round tables. At one level these stalwarts of communications are worrying about measurement and at another level they are literally throwing away their precious time for free that is not even benefitting 2% of the Public Relations professionals assuming there are 5000 of us between the three metros. The calculation is based on 3500 working in PR consultancies and 1500 working in in-house departments.

That brings me to the idea of creating a Reputation Today Speakers (RTS) Club exclusively for in-house communicators and it can work in the following way:

Corporate Communication Directors enrol for an annual membership at a nominal sum of Rs 6000/- with which they can attend a Conclave or Super Night by Reputation Today.

The minimum asking price is Rs 25,000 + GST to be on a panel that discusses for a time-frame from 30 minutes to an hour. The price can be higher for a special address or keynote address. And if there is outstation travel then that element needs to be factored into.

Whenever the Corporate Communication Director is invited to speak at a conference she or he has the right to do so pro-bono or alternatively direct the conference organiser to the RTS Club for completion of formalities. The RTS Club then invoices the organiser on the agreed fee. If the speaker pulls out of the conference, 80% of the fee is refunded and the remaining is retained as administrative fee by the Club, which the speaker is free to make good directly with the organiser.

On completion of the speaking engagement the speaker can choose one of the three options:

  1. To exchange the fee for a complimentary registration to PRAXIS
  2. To split the fee with the RTS Club on pre-determined terms and earn out of the engagement OR
  3. To donate 80% of the fee to a charity of their choice (in this case the same may be done at the time of invoicing the conference organiser) If this happens thrice in one calendar year, RTS Club will offer the speaker a complimentary PRAXIS registration

It’s as simple as that. If you are the CEO of a PR firm or a Corporate Communications Director or a Chief Marketing Officer and would like RTS Club to manage the speaking engagement requests that you receive please send a mail to team at reputationtoday dot in with RTS Club in the subject line and become a member to convert your precious time into money for a cause or for yourself.

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Amith Prabhu
Amith Prabhu is the Founder of the PRomise Foundation which organises PRAXIS, India’s annual summit of reputation management professionals.

He is also the Founding Dean of the School of Communications & Reputation (SCoRe).

He can be reached at @amithpr on twitter.

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