Richard Armitage

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.

One of the sublime pleasures of researching and writing this cranky little e-zine is watching a story build and then spin totally out of control—just like the cyclone in “The Wizard of Oz.” Just when you think things couldn’t possibly get worse for the people involved, they do. Julie Roehm, the 35-year-old dynamic senior VP-marketing communications at Wal-Mart was brought in from the automobile industry to oversee the company’s half-billion-dollar-plus advertising budget. She allegedly rubbed Sean Womack, Wal-Mart’s VP of marketing communications, the right way and everybody else the wrong way—and the two lovebirds were thrown out on their tails. Not only is Roehm

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