(Paid) Guest Speakers

Do schools have guest speakers and presentations? I mean the kind where you are so committed to the message you are willing to pay for someone or group to come to your location and speak?

This has been on my mind recently as I’ve been toying with proposing an idea to my colleagues and administration to bring in a paid guest speaker. Does this seem ridiculous for me even writing about?

We have been  fortunate in the past where we’ve have some wonderful guest speakers who have volunteered their time.  We’ve had legion members, war veterans, local celebrities, health care providers, public safety officers come in to address our students and faculty.  We’ve also had opportunities to see some paid speakers that were shared costs across the board or partly sponsored. 

My concern is finding money to bring in speakers that need to charge a fee for travel expenses, consumables, or upkeep of their subject matter. Yes, dare I say a “for profit” speaker. I’m new in this CL world. Do I need to be more persuasive? Do I need to convince other CL ‘s of the validity of my choices and have them rally around me as well? Everyone has budget constraints. It seems we are all struggling to meet the needs of our students and lately it seems we need upgrades and replacements of existing supplies.  

It’s difficult for me to navigate this new world. I think we all feel we have a vested interest in “where the money goes”. I believe a student will value a presentation they see and will remember it long after they leave school that day.  Yes, they will also remember they had a new textbook or a computer lab, but I don’t think  we can  discount the fact that human interaction is just as valid an expense.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. bgrasley says:

    Paid “speakers” are valuable – not because they speak, but because they interact.

    If you bring in a speaker and they just repeat the words of their book (which you bought) then you’ve wasted the money. If they instead interact with you, guiding you to a deeper understanding and clarifying the concepts, then it can be valuable.

    Two examples for you…

    My board brought in a speaker, at great cost, who ended up having a mediocre presentation which wasn’t even as good as his/her books. Not inspiring, not empowering, and ridiculously expensive. Poor choice.

    My board brought in a different “speaker” at a significant (but reasonable!) cost for a different topic. He/she also wrote great books, but the speaker answered questions, clarified parts of the books, and generally tried to help us *learn*.

    I don’t know if this is helping, but these people are in business to help you, not just to collect a pay cheque. Talk to other people who have had them in to work with their staff and see what the experience was like.

    Last thought: sometimes what people need more than to hear an inspiring speaker is to spend time with an expert. Instead of a presentation, it might be good to just have time to work with the guru in a small group.


    1. evathompson says:

      Thank you! For taking the time to write a meaningful reply with good suggestions. I hope to find the level of interaction and time for question before I pitch an idea. I don’t want to have to wear any blame if it flops!


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