Business advice request: What to charge to speak at an industry event

Here’s a recent request for business advice from a former student named Clare; my answer follows:

Business advice request

Question:
#HiTiffany.

I’ve been asked to speak at an event – something I’ve always wanted to do and now have the opportunity to do. It’s a paying gig … I know, shocker! So, the question isn’t ‘Do I charge to speak?’ but what to charge to speak. I have requested a guideline as to the topic and how long they want me to speak for on the day. So here’s where I hope you can help me with some business advice: how do I decide on my costing?

Answer:
Hi Clare.

The main thing that defines what you should charge is: what kind of event it is. So:

1. Will your audience be paying attendees? (Is the host going to be making a profit?)
2. How long will you speak for?
3. How many people are expected?
4. Are you crafting a custom talk for this event, or using a standard/generic one?
5. Are you the only speaker?
6. If there are other speakers, who are they?
7. There may be a standard honorarium for speakers. You won’t know til you ask.

If I were the one paying you, I’d also factor in how experienced a speaker you are, but that’s a minor one, to be frank. Good luck!

If you were me, what business advice would you have offered Clare? Let me know.