OK, Ol' Myrt here has decided to weigh in on the Genealogy Conferences – The Magic Recipe in this one category: "Delivering the Content – on Wednesday, May 4, 2011, the series continues with a look at what it takes to be a speaker or presenter at a genealogy conference. Everything from the call for papers, to signing the contract, to making the presentation – we want to know everything involved from the speakers’ perspective. Tell us about the glamour, the limelight, the adoring fans; and tell us about the preparation, the travel and all the ugly details as well."
From this presenter's point of view:
- It takes anywhere from 8-10 hours to create a PowerPoint presentation that coordinates well with handouts. (My DearREADERS will remember, I taught MS Office at the Manatee Area Vo-Tech for some 15 years before retiring, so it isn't a software issue -- it is a "refining the thought issue".)
- Back-end development of a presentation takes a minimum of 30-40 hours of work.
- I've once renegged on a contract (due to my daughter's devestating car accident). Before contacting the program/conference chair I lined up two compatible presenters to offer as alternatives. I then forwarded the speaker's deposit to the replacement. Thank heavens for the Genealogical Speakers Guild and the Association of Professional Genealogists made it easy and quick for me to find someone in the region who had expertise in the topics the society wished to have presented.
- Another time, I was stuck in Flagstaff, Arizona with 55 inches of snow and all roads closed by the state department of transportation. Thank heavens for my personal network of presenters, two of whom were able to use my PowerPoints that dovetailed with my handouts.I shared the files via the internet. Thank heavens for cloud computing, since the files were too large for email.
- I've only had one conference chair cancel my presentation. I just took it with stride. No deposit on the speaker's fee had been made, which prompted me to add it to my contract.
- Reusing a presentation at a subsequent seminar involves 2-3 hours reworking the PowerPoint to customize it for the second audience, and to update screen shots of websites that seem to change all too frequently.
- Handouts should be available in digital format, so the presenter is not limited to 4 pages. In classes requiring screen shots to indicate a process, this is severely limiting.
- Paying a presenter $150 per 60 minute session doesn't begin to cover the cost of production.
- When traveling to a distant society, Ol' Myrt here requires a moderately-priced hotel room for privacy, and bathroom access not afforded by staying in the home of a member of the host society.
- Societies also pay for my meal the night of arrival, during the event and again the evening following the event.
- Typically I arrive 1-2 days in advance, with the added hotel/meal expense going on my tab. I do this to specifically visit the local public library, courthouse, archives, family history center and historical places of interest. This permits me to weave references to local records collections into my presentations. I think it is important to point conference attendees to local experts who can extend the learning experience after Ol' Myrt "has left the building".
- Not permitting a presenter to sell his book, DVDs or software is problematic, as this is often the only way to recoup the loss of work due to travel time and industry standard speakers fees. Typically family history centers force this restraint on a speaker, because of past issues with the IRS and the non-profit status of the facility. So speaking at family history centers is something I only plan to do when I am in the area, of it that is available virtually.
- Virtual appearances have typically proved successful. I current charge 50% less than an "in person" appearance, though plan to change it this fall, as webinars are becoming the norm.
- I charge $5.99 for the Lulu.com download of my archived DearMYRTLE Workshop Webinars (c) to compensate for the $100 monthly fee I pay GoToWebinars for the service.
- I do not charge for the informal voice chats I host in Second Life as I consider this "research & development". I see Second Life as a way to reach the younger crowd and to keep tabs on how online genealogists are doing research, compiling data and sharing family histories.
Your friend in genealogy.