Mary Tyler Moore

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

When I saw that the 2008 rate for a speech by Larry Summers was $45,000 to $135,000, I got to thinking.

Out of curiosity, I started prowling the various Web sites of speakers' bureaus and came to six conclusions:

  1. It seems everybody in the world is available for speeches. Included are political and show business stars, second and third bananas, and hundreds upon hundreds of people I never heard of.
  2. All of these people—luminaries and nobodies—get fees from $1,000 to $1 million, plus expenses.
  3. I used to make a lot of speeches, and all I ever got was expenses and a plaque with my name engraved on it.
  4. I was a damned fool. I was as much a nobody as anybody else and could've picked up some dough if I'd just asked.
  5. If someone invites you to make a speech, think about asking for an honorarium at the very least, if not a fat fee, plus expenses. For Colin Powell, expenses include a private jet along with his $100,000 fee.
  6. The worst that can happen is that no money in the budget exists for fees or expenses. If you refuse, someone will replace you.

The Rip-off vs. a Ripping Good Time March 16, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 21 IN THE NEWS Resort Fees: Hotel Rate May Not Include All the Charges Hotel resort fees are making a comeback. With the decline in the lodging industry after 9/11, the fees, which cover everything from the use of a pool to housekeeping tips, began to vanish—if not from hotels' policies, then from guests' bills. A polite complaint was usually all it took to have a fee waived. No longer. —Christopher Elliott, The New York Times, March 12, 2006 When Don Jackson and I sat down at his kitchen

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