organization can’t pay my full fee. I ask
them to book a seminar room for me at
the host hotel, and to help me promote
my seminar to their membership, employees, and email list, as well as publicize via their social media channels.
Then, I charge per person for this adjunct seminar, often exceeding my original fee altogether.
4|Pursue “in the neighborhood” gigs.
Are you going on vacation abroad? This
is a great opportunity to piggyback your
vacation with a speaking opportunity.
There are three ways to approach this:
• Is there a conference somewhere in
the world at which you would love
to speak? Reach out to the confer-
ence planning team and let them
know that you’ll be “in the neighbor-
hood,” so they’ll save a bucket on ex-
penses if they take advantage of this
fortunate opportunity. Then, plan
your vacation around the conference,
so you’ll be in the neighborhood.
• Already have international travel
plans? Research relevant trade associations, companies and conferences
near your destination, and reach out
to them. The challenge with this approach is that your travel plans must
be far enough in the future for conferences to hire you, as they generally
select speakers well in advance.
• Offer to do a small group session for
a corporation or local chamber of
commerce one morning during your
vacation. You’ll garner that coveted
first international gig (and a potential
tax write-off of some expenses).
5|Check out TWCCTW.org. Two of my
favorite international trips have been
with Together We Can Change the
World, a nonprofit formed by fellow
speakers Scott Friedman, CSP, and Jana
Stanfield, CSP. They organize twice-yearly trips to Southeast Asia for small
groups of 15 speakers. Within each
country, they organize leadership seminars for the local community, with proceeds going to help underprivileged
women and girls. I was honored to
speak in Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand with the group.
There is a fund-raising commitment to
participate, plus you pay your own way,
but visits to orphanages, villages and
women’s homes drive home the reason
you’re there, and it’s beyond gratifying.
Plus, you return with amazing international speaking experience.
6|Double deal with a multi-national company
or association. Are you being offered a speaking gig in your home
country? Does the host have an office
abroad? Go for a two-fer! In your negotiations, accept the gig at home if
they also book you for their next meeting abroad. This takes a little fancy
footwork, especially if they’ve never
hired you before. You can give the host
more confidence by making the second
gig contingent on achieving good feedback from the first gig.
2|Get your foot in the door with a freebie.
There are speakers who are vehemently
opposed to doing free speaking gigs,
and I understand their stance. However, to land your first international
speaking opportunity, you may need to
“up the ante” to make yourself more
attractive than another candidate with
more international experience. Waiving
(or significantly reducing) your fee
greatly offsets the expense to fly you
abroad and house you for several days.
A candidate closer to the conference
won’t need as many hotel nights, and
her airfare likely will be much less expensive than yours. It’s also important
to note that you should not expect to
be flown business class unless you’re a
sought-after speaker. Get used to coach
unless you have some upgrades in your
3|Consider trades. If you’re not as inclined to do a freebie,
consider a trade. My first time speaking
in South Africa was a fabulous trade—I
got paid by safari! In exchange for a
two-day seminar, the host organization
paid my airfare and sent me on a four-day safari. They were able to leverage
their connections to get the safari sponsored, so it was a great deal for the host
organization. It was a dream come true
for me, and, if paid in money, I would
have turned around and spent it to
book a safari anyway. Win-win! You can
trade for all sorts of things—simply determine what is of value to you.
I’ve also traded for meeting space
and A/V to operate my own for-profit
seminar before or after the speaking
gig. I do this frequently when the host
“You’re not an international
speaker until you’re an
Group photo from Together We Can Change the