Mia Hamm

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.

In 1931—in the middle of the Great Depression—New York Yankees slugger, Babe Ruth, demanded a salary of $80,000. When Yankee management pointed out that this was more money than Herbert Hoover, the President of the United States, was making ($75,000), Ruth retorted, “I had a better year than he did.” In my opinion, great athletes deserve great paychecks for two reasons: (1) They fill stadiums and produce giant TV ratings, and (2) Their peak earning power lasts only a few years. I was never really aware of British-born European football (soccer) player David Beckham until last week, even though he’s the most recognized sports

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