There is no such thing as a boring topic. There are only boring speakers.
I am an energetic, dynamic, and jargon-free headline speaker.
It’s my stern belief that in-person talks should be anything but anodyne. The best keynote speakers raise the level of discourse. They set the tone for the conference or corporate retreat. How do they do this? By provoking, inspiring, and informing their audiences—and maybe even making attendees just a tad uncomfortable.
Talk about a tough crowd.
After grad school, I started teaching classes and leading workshops as part of my job. While I worked in corporate HR at CapitalOne, I was the go-to guy for performance-management seminars and new-hire sexual harassment training. At Merck and Lawson Software, I frequently taught people how to use different applications, perform upgrades, and the like.
Since 1995, I have given more than 300 talks, speeches, presentations, and workshops to approximately 30,000 people on three continents and in eight countries, including Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Argentina.
Over the past five years, I have effectively changed careers–even though I continue to work for myself. Up until 2008, I worked as an enterprise system consultant. The travel and internal politics were starting to wear on me, though. I felt that it was time for a change. Beginning in 2009, I began the move to writing, keynote speaking, and thought leadership. In the process, I have spoken at plenty of universities, companies, associations, private events, and public conferences.
These days, I speak about a bouillabaisse of topics, usually book-related. I don’t write short books and, at least for me, a talk is never about a single, narrow subject. I don’t give boilerplate presentations to my clients. I work with them ahead of the event to ensure that I’m speaking about what they want–and, often just as important, avoiding what they don’t.
Here’s what my clients say about my speaking abilities.
“Phil is an engaging speaker with the rare ability to make what may seem dry and complex topics both compelling and entertaining.”
–Joris Evers, Netflix, Vice President, Head of Communications for Europe
“Phil Simon is an entertaining and informative speaker with thoughtful insights into the rapidly changing technology driven business environment. We learned about the drivers and the players in Silicon Valley. Phil enabled our team to not only learn about online platforms and leading tech companies but to also challenge our thinking about innovation, disruption and platforms. As a result, our team has a more complete and dynamic understanding of the tech landscape which will help us better serve our customers and compete in a competitive industry.”
—Mike Galvin, Vice President Nextgen, Tata Communications
“Phil is an enthusiastic, engaging, and funny speaker. He talks about data like a critic about art. He compels you to think about and see the world in a brand new way. He was a pleasure to host and have on the Zappos Campus. He didn’t even get mad when pelted with a water balloon.”
—Amelia Pond, Zappos
“Phil Simon’s own desire to be open and connected with the audience strengthens his ability to come across as and be the most authentic speaker and storyteller. Phil is passionate about his message and has identified ways to connect a diverse and wide-range audience to one common topic.”
—Danielle Gilbertson, Account Executive; Edelman Public Relations
“Phil has that rare skill as a speaker to distill the complex to more tactical and strategic thinking so his presentations aren’t only entertaining but are also operational. A rare gift for the modern business audience.”
–Lori H. Schwartz, Managing Partner, StoryTech™
“When I go to a talk based on a book I’ve read, I have high expectations; the talk had better go beyond the book and into the realm of critical conversation. Phil Simon nailed it this week. Super content, engagement with the specific audience, bravo!”
–Professor Terri L. Griffith, Ph.D. Chair, Management Department, Santa Clara University.
“Phil gave a wonderful presentation. All of the attendees loved it and are very excited about his latest book.”
–Amit Jain, eBay, Manager, Business Intelligence
“In a word, awesome.”
–Julie Tulipane Stalknecht, Senior VP, Membership and Marketing, NMHC
“Phil has performed exceptionally well in two different capacities for us and we have already engaged him for a third event. As a speaker he is excellent. He’s not arrogant but obviously very current with the technology trends affecting our markets. It is very valuable to have Phil exercise your team using his lens. He is very straightforward and clear in his communication style.”
–Jay Jordan, President and CEO, OCLC, Inc.
“Phil is a phenomenal speaker. I saw him in 2014 at the SAS Global Forum Executive Conference. He captured my attention from the first word to the last. He has a mastery of his subject, and expertly weaves in modern-day references to help audience members relate more closely to the topic. I would attend any presentation he gave.”
–Shelley Sessoms, Acquisitions Editor, SAS Press
“Engaging, knowledgeable, and likable. Phil left our professional audience armed with new knowledge and smiling.”
–Clinton Bonner, Vice President, Marketing, TopCoder
“Phil’s kick-off presentation on The Age of the Platform at PostalVision 2020/2.0 Conference hit the bull’s eye. It proved to be a powerful and provocative approach to a highly stimulating discussion. Like his books, Phil is convincing, inspiring, and relevant to any industry.”
–John Callan, Conference Organizer, Postal Vision 2020
“Phil Simon is an energetic speaker that makes complex thoughts easy to understand. He brought clarity to the subject of platforms and gave people a new way to look at them. He kept the audience engaged and his keynote received positive feedback and reviews.”
–Kate Gaylord, Director of Communications, OCLC
“Phil Simon is a rock star. He’s funny, engaging, and incredibly smart; he easily breaks down abstract concepts for widely varied audiences in a way that is both exciting and valuable. I’d rush to hire him again.”
–Clair Byrd, Director of Content, Scoop.it
“Phil has a personable and engaging approach to speaking events. His presentation to our team was informative and fun, and we’re incredibly supportive of his efforts to champion smarter communications in business.”
–Jodi Sorensen, Director of Marketing Communications, Smartsheet
Watch one of my featured talks below.
You can find the rest on my archives page.
- Big Data
- Data visualization
- Emerging technologies
- Current and future trends
- The folly of predictions
While not as frequently these days, I still speak on my first three books.
Not all of my talks have been recorded, but a decent smattering is available on my archives page.
How much do you charge?
For professional speakers, pricing is more of an art than a science. There’s simply no magic formula to determine how much to charge for a talk, seminar, or workshop. That doesn’t mean, however, that I just pick a number out of a hat or random number generator. Against that backdrop and in no particular order, here are some general rules of thumb that I use when quoting my speaking services. Note that all of these include the proviso “all else being equal.”
- Number of attendees: This is quite simple. I charge more for speaking to large groups than when I speak to smaller ones.
- Type of attendees: I charge more for speaking to groups of senior executives than when I speak to non-execs.
- Length of talk/seminar: Again, this isn’t rocket surgery. I charge more for a 60-minute keynote than a 30-minute one. Ditto for a two-day seminar vs. a half-day one.
- Type of talk: I charge more for keynoting than I do for a breakout session.
- Location/Travel: The closer the event is to my home, the less I will charge.
- Previous talks: I’m a data guy. I use fees from my previous talks as rough proxies for future talks.
- Specificity: I charge less for a generic talk than I do for a very esoteric one. For instance, a talk in which I provide an overview of The Age of the Platform differs from one on how telecom companies can embrace platform thinking.
- Nature of organization/ability to pay: Government agencies and nonprofits often lack the same funds and resources as for-profit corporations. I charge more for speaking at events and conferences held by the latter.
- Book purchases: I will charge less for my talk if the organization buys copies of my books. Note, though, that the total cost may be higher
- Comparable speakers: I follow what other professional speakers in my cohort routinely charge.
- Body of work/year: I charge more for my talks than I did four years ago. I suspect that the same will be true four years from now.
- Topic: On certain subjects, I believe that I possess a unique perspective. Examples include data visualization, communication, platforms, disruption, publishing, system failures, and Big Data. On others such as social media,
What topics do you speak about?
Quite a few, actually. Recent talks have focused on platforms, Big Data, management, technology, trends, disruption, innovation, and business communication.
What are your speaking requirements?
I prefer to use my own computer. I’ve had way too many issues with using other people’s machines. Beyond that, I’m pretty low-maintenance. I like using projectors, microphones. lecterns, and confidence monitors. I arrive the night before events to ensure that there are no travel snafus. Finally, on the day of the event, I like to do a soundcheck at least two hours before I’m scheduled to go on. Belts and braces, as they say.
To inquire about my speaking rates and availability, please fill out the form below. I will be in touch within one business day.