At the beginning of 2011, I set a goal for myself to speak at least twice at a community event that was outside of my area, the Phoenix metro area. There are three reasons for this.
- People here are probably sick of me talking :)
- I wanted to reach out to other audiences and get feedback on my presenting and talks
- The final, was / is a selfish one, to get my name out there
I have spoken at SoCalCodeCamp 5 times in the last two years and decided that does not count. So I went and submitted talks at CodeStock in Nashville, TN. About a week of so ago, I had to do something that as an event organizer I do not like, I had to cancel my talk at CodeStock. It has nothing to do with the event, just the cost of me speaking there. This lead me to create a poll that I sent out via Twitter and Facebook.
The poll asked a simple question, “What is the most money you will spend out of pocket to speak at a community event? IE: Code Camp, User Groups, etc.”. Although only 22 people responded, the result we pretty much spread evenly across the choices:
- $100: 23%
- $200: 27%
- $300: 5%
- $500: 23%
- $1000: 18%
Looking at the results of this scientific poll :), I could not determine anything that I could really use to set the bar for myself. However, some of the comments I received painted a totally different picture.
A friend of mine, Paul writes:
My take on this is that I am affected by my relationship to those who run the event as well (of course) to the proximity of the event. If the person(s) running the event are friends, I am more likely to attend at out-of-pocket cost. If I have no connection, then I am much less likely.
This made me think a bit. I have spent probably $700 or so speaking at SoCalCodeCamp each time. So I asked myself why? The answer is simple, Community. I love helping out and educating people, but one thing I really love is the social aspect of it. As a result of speaking at SoCalCodeCamp, I have made some good friends in the Southern California area; Woody, Denny, Steve, Daniel, David and more. Now, every time Woody announces the next Code Camp I eagerly submit sessions and look forward to going to speak and hang out with my SoCal friends.
So to summarize, yes there is a cost to speaking outside your area, but there is the potential for making some good friends and expanding your reach and name. So go and look for Code Camps, Days of .NET, or other community events to speak at and sign up. Also, register yourself for the INETA Speakers Bureau to help expand your reach.