For what it’s worth
Posted November 18, 2016on:
I am a consultant. If you want my services and we cut to the chase, you need to exchange my time and effort for a fee because that is how I make a living.
One thing I do quite often is conduct seminars or deliver keynotes. However, the people who try to engage me do not know how much work that entails. They often offer a low honorarium that is suitable for, say, university faculty who already draw regular salaries.
How much is my time and effort worth? To answer that question, you need to know how much time and effort I put into something as basic as a talk.
Here are some things I do just to prepare for a talk:
- I meet with the organisers to clarify goals and align strategies for the event.
- I find out about my audience by designing and conducting online polls, conducting focus group interviews, and/or visiting and observing work environments.
- I jump through administrative hoops and navigate the policy-riddled waters that each opportunity brings.
- I do my usual daily readings courtesy of RSS feeds and Twitter, but I focus on articles that are serendipitously relevant to the topic.
- I connect the loose threads that arise from my readings; the results of my polls, interviews, and observations; previous events I have facilitated; and my overall experience.
- I consolidate and distill wisdoms into an outline for the talk.
- I fill in information gaps in the content and of the audience by doing more reading and research.
- I design visually pleasing and provocative slides for sharing online.
- I create one or more online spaces for my audience to become participants instead.
- I iteratively reflect and revise the content and method.
- I rehearse. Over and over. If I make something look effortless, it is only because of the practice.
I do all these three to six months before the event.
I take what I do seriously and professionally. The talk is not a hobby or an interesting distraction.
I share this to provide insights into what my time and effort are worth. I will not shortchange you, so please do not shortchange me.