Good Question: Is Paying Public Speakers Thousands Of Dollars Worth It?

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Bill and Hillary Clinton have generated more than $100 million over the past decade — just through public speaking.

And now their daughter, Chelsea, is getting in on the family business.

She’s commanding $75,000 per appearance.

Her parents charge anywhere between $200,000 to $700,000 per appearance.

“This the remarkable thing about the Clintons,” says political analyst Larry Jacobs. “They’re almost a name brand, and the Clinton’s are far from alone.”

Jacobs says $100,000 was spent to bring Condoleezza Rice to the University of Minnesota in April.

But is it money well spent?

“It is worth the investment if it’s going to generate buzz for your event,” Jacobs said.

He compares it to another form of advertising.

A donation helped pay for Rice’s visit to the U of M.

Corporations or businesses usually pay for speakers in a different way.

“It could come from the business,” Jacobs said. “It could ultimately come from the consumer maybe paying a bit more for the product they are buying. That, in turn, helps pay for the speaker.”

Costs can also be off-set by charging people to attend the event.

The New York Times says former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush makes $50,000 per speech.

It’s the same rate for former secretaries of state Colin Powell and Madeline Albright.

The key for all of them is to stay in the spotlight.

“You have got to be in the limelight,” Jacobs said. “You have got to be on TV. You’ve got to be the person of the moment to generate those big fees.”

Jacobs said in addition to marketing and advertising, speakers are brought in to impress and inspire customers and students.

As a public speaker, Bill Clinton earned $17 million last year by himself.

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