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Friday, September 30, 2016

If somebody's paying you more than ten grand for making a speech, it's not the speech they're buying.

There have been a handful of occasions in my career when I've been paid quite well for making a speech. I'm sure the company signing the cheque thought I was charging too much. Then again they weren't there during the days and days of preparation. They weren't sharing in the pre-speech nausea during which I would have been quite happy to turn on my heel, go home, not put myself through the ordeal at all and let the money go hang.

But then people who can't make speeches think that people who can make speeches don't have to prepare. Nothing could be further from the truth. The people who can do it work hundreds of times harder at preparing than the people who can't. There may be a clue there.

I was thinking of this when reading about the sums of money the Clintons can command for making speeches to commercial organisations and then Sam Allardyce being caught talking about being paid £400k for making a speech. I'm sure all these people are eminently capable of holding a conference's delegates in the palm of their hand for forty minutes. But there's a point at which reasonable recompense shades into the controversial area of purchasing somebody's services. Here's a clue. If somebody's paying you more than ten grand for making a speech, it's not the speech they're buying.