Since one of my hobbies is hoop dancing, I follow several hooping related websites and pages on social media. Last week several of these pages displayed an article that had gone viral from a San Francisco hooper who wrote an open letter to Oprah Winfrey. (Letter found here: http://revolva.net/2014/11/13/an-open-letter-to-oprah/) Basically, the hooper criticized Oprah for not paying the public speakers at a local event.
As a manager of speakers, authors and celebrities, I had a lot to say on this topic. Bottom line, though this particular hooper, Kari Revolva, was considered a “hero” by many of the commenting members, I believe she is anything but.
Some things Ms. Revola failed to consider:
- Did Oprah pay Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant, and the other speakers? All of them are friends of Oprah Winfrey; there is a chance those celebrity speakers did the event as a favor for their pal in exchange for exposure and sales. You would be surprised the type of conferences that my clients are willing to present at pro bono. This isn’t anything new. I call them “marketing” engagements. You speak for exposure and product sales. And if you do an authentic stellar job, you can receive TONS of both at some of these events. There is a chance those celebrity speakers did the event as a favor to their friend Oprah for the exposure and sales. I do not know if these speakers were paid or not, but it is important not to assume. On several occasions, one of my well-known clients has heard from other speakers at an event “well you got paid for this,” when in fact he did not. (Note: Per my previous post, I never recommend anyone pay a fee to speak.)
- If Ms. Revola were invited to be a guest on the Oprah’s old national TV show, she would not have been paid, as is the case with most national media.
- One can always create a win/win. The producer did offer Ms. Revola a travel stipend. How about asking if one of your performance fliers could be placed at the venue? Or request complimentary advertising on the event’s website? There are many ways to make all events a win/win. Be creative. Work WITH the meeting planner / event producer rather than against them.
- Ms. Revola also referenced the ticket sales prices. Do you know how much it costs to put on one of those events, even the venue alone? A lot. I know many meeting planners who charge comparable prices for their events in hopes of just breaking even, with many ending up in the negative. These opportunities come up. They do all the time for my clients. I hear “we have no budget” at least a half dozen times or more per week. However, I still consider each opportunity and see how we can all work together. I feel Ms. Revola really missed out on an amazing opportunity here. And by writing this “open letter” – which in my opinion was unprofessional – I feel she may have hindered her future success.
I’m inspired by my own hoop teacher, Angelica Victoria when she comes out to teach or perform for even just a few of us. To me, that shows a passion for the art of hooping, and doing whatever it takes to be successful.
There are many lessons here. My hope is reading this piece will help all of you when you hear “we have no budget” on the other end of your phone … no matter who that is.
Jennifer Ellis helps clients with ideas to make all of their events a win/win. Contact for a consultation HERE.