To Book Me For Your Conference

First, a little background

August 18, 1990, about three hours after winning the World Championship of Public Speaking, I was honored to receive an invitation from District 60 in Ontario, Canada, to speak at their 1991 Spring Conference. That was the first clue I had that others outside of my home District and Region saw the value in having me as a guest speaker. I was humbled, for it was the moment I realized the title of World Champion carried not only opportunity but responsibility--a responsibility to share with Toastmasters the knowledge that others had so freely shared with me.

Soon I started receiving invitations to speak in other exciting Districts around the world. It was a pleasant surprise that the invitations and opportunities never stopped. Now, nearly 18 years later, I have been honored to speak in two-thirds of all Districts, and in many of those I’ve been invited back multiple times. As a result of making myself available to Clubs, Areas, Divisions, Districts, Regions, and International conventions over the past 17 1/2 years, I am proud to say I have spoken to more Toastmasters than anyone else in the world. Averaging more than 5,000 Toastmasters a year, I’m closing in on the 100,000 mark.

What do I offer that others don’t?

A history of excellence in teaching. George Bernard Shaw wrote: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” I take pride in proving him wrong.

When I taught high school journalism, my program received more honors and awards than any other in Texas and it was one of the highest-rated programs in the nation. When I worked for an international seminar company for three years, I was the company’s highest-rated trainer in each of those three years. After winning the 1990 World Championship, I have taught, coached and mentored six subsequent World Champions and dozens of finalists. With all due respect to George Bernard Shaw, “I can, I do, and I teach.” Because of my ability to bring out the best in others, some call me “The Master Mentor.” That is an unofficial title, but one I carry with pride.

Why am I still in demand?

It’s not just because of excellence in the art of teaching and the art of speaking; it is also excellence in service to the organization. Some have won the World Championship of Public Speaking...and then disappeared. Good speakers come and go. So, when deciding whom to invite to your Toastmasters’ conferences, consider the speaker’s history and his commitment to the organization. For example, not only have I maintained a 21-year uninterrupted membership in my home club, West Austin II Toastmasters, but I have also attended every International Convention since winning the World Championship 17 1/2 years ago.

It is my long-term commitment to giving back that lead others to call me “the Dean of Toastmasters World Champions.” It’s not just maintaining a presence, it’s maintaining a commitment to service. For example, to illustrate my life-long commitment to Toastmasters International, I earned the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) designation after winning the World Championship. To complete the last requirement, serving a term as a District officer, I was a Division Governor for District 56. In that year, all of my five Areas were named Distinguished or Select Distinguished and I was named District 56 Division Governor of the Year. 

How can you get me at your conference?

Just ask. If I am available, I will be glad to donate my time, knowledge, and service to your District or Region. Keep in mind, however, that my schedule fills up quickly, so inquiries 6-18 months in advance are recommended.

How much do I charge?

I have never charged Toastmasters for any appearance. By donating my time and knowledge I repay this incredible organization for the skills it has allowed me to develop and the opportunities it has allowed me to experience. Just for comparison purposes, though, I charge $5,000-$8,000 for similar programs for corporate clients.

I do, however, need to have my transportation and hotel expenses covered. There are a variety of ways you can accomplish this without using District funds or members’ dues. Four examples follow:

Option 1: Secure a sponsor who will cover my travel expenses in exchange for promotion and publicity at your conference. My airfare to the Philippines in 1998, for example, was donated by Cathay Pacific Airlines. In exchange, they were featured as a convention sponsor in the program and given extra visibility with a banner prominently displayed in the main assembly hall. In addition, I praised Cathay Pacific’s commitment to Toastmasters in my keynote address to the 850 Toastmasters in attendance. Therefore, in exchange for the donation of one air ticket, they reaped enormous positive publicity. Notice that good PR lasts long after your conference ends. Imagine how many people have read this very example in the last 10 years. Good public relations goes on and on.

Option 2: Help secure a corporate client for me to speak to. I’m a corporate trainer (see Seminars section on this website) offering award-winning programs to teach business people how to speak and write clearly, concisely, and confidently. If you put me in touch with a corporation, association, or organization who hires me to present a program for them the day before or after your conference, I’ll cover my expenses from their fee and stay to speak to your conference for free. This has worked well with such corporate giants as Volvo in Sweden, Unocal in Thailand, Weyerhaeuser in Canada, and KPMG in Hong Kong.

Option 3: Although Toastmasters International does not allow member dues or District funds to be used to cover speaker expenses, they do permit conference registration fees to be used. Therefore, you may simply increase the registration fee for your conference a small amount to cover my travel expense. As an example, if my travel expense totaled $450 and you average 150 registrants at your conference, simply add $3 to the registration fee. More often than not, my presence on a program increases registration numbers, making conferences more profitable than ever before.

Option 4: Conduct a silent auction for donated items or conduct a 50/50 raffle. Caution: be certain that 50/50 raffles are legal in your state. I have heard that some states do not permit them, but in locations in which they are permitted, I’ve seen many Districts raise many hundreds of dollars as a result of raffles and/or auctions.

Other funding options are possible, of course, so don’t hesitate to propose an alternative solution. The bottom line: if you can get me there, I’ll give you thousands of dollars of time, knowledge and experience for free.