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How Does a Guest Speaker Benefit You

Why Hire a Guest Speaker or a Safety Speaker? What is the benefit of having Hawk Vagg  as a guest speaker at your toolbox talk or workplace

I'm Breaking My Neck to Speak at your Company

What Should You Look For In a Guest Speaker

Someone to:

  • Educate
  • Motivate
  • Shift Behaviour
  • Raise Awareness
  • Initiate a Change Effort
  • Promote your Safety Message
  • Entertainment

What Should You Look For In a Guest Speaker

Someone who..

  • Can connect with your people
  • Your people can relate to
  • Has been impacted greatly by a workplace incident
  • Has a firm belief and commitment to safety – at work and at home
  • Understands the consequences of bad habits, complacency, fatigue, time pressure..

At the end of this post is a list of What you get when you hire Hawk Vagg as your Guest Safety Speaker.

Imagine a Traveling Safety Speaking Circuit

Imagine travelling around mining companies and businesses and presenting a safety series based on a workplace accident and the results thereof…Mmmm food for thought… think about it  – knowing that at a particular time of the month, your employees would be privy  to a pre-scheduled session designed to prick their safety consciousness…

That was the purpose of the circuit back in the 1860’s – to share knowledge, popularize ideas and teach others about particular topics.

That is the still the point of having a Guest Speaker today! To share experiences, popularize safety ideas,change culture, shift attitudes and tech others to look out for each other and stay safe.

The History of Speaking

Back in 1820, when a man names Josiah Holbrook developed the idea of a lecture series called Lyceum.  Named after the Greek theater where Aristotle lectured his students (for free).    Everyone wanted to hear and learn, so it was amazingly popular, and so they began to travel.

In 1867, some groups joined together to form the Associated Literary Society and thus began a “circuit” of speaking tours.. where speakers were booked to travel a prescribed route – presenting from city to city.   (this is our ideal scenario) ..

It's Never About Money – or is it?

The fee is for the value I provide to whoever hires me.

"How much would it be worth to have a guest speaker make your staff a little wiser, more motivated or safer when returning to work?"

There is definitely some economic value to what a good relevant guest speaker, can do for your people.

It depends on how valuable the people in the room are to whoever is footing the bill.. or the amount of savings that could come from hearing your message from someone else.

So in the grand scheme of things, the cost of hiring a safety guest speaker is minimal.

Initially in the 1800’s  there was little money for speakers, it was more a public service.  However over time, as guest speakers became more popular, bringing in larger crowds, and the knowledge shared was useful, speakers began to charge for their knowledge.

Free lectures continued, they always will.

With the advent of video, radio, telephones, internet and air travel and everything else we take for granted these days – the idea of guest speaker safety circuit seems irrelevant.  Or is it?

There are many experts in the safety field, all knowledgable – there are many safety conferences, corporate events and training days scheduled within companies every week.  Yet how do you get the safety message across to Joe Ordinary – the worker – so that it comes across as more than “just another safety guy talking”.

There is a high demand for guest speakers – through speaker bureaus, talent agencies and such. WHY?

Guest Speakers are the middle man or woman. sharing and reinforcing your message, based on their own experiences.

If you want Bill Clinton, Madonna or Stephen King to be guest speakers at your tool box talk – there are speaker bureaus representing each of them and they would love to make a deal with you.    See the table below for their fees.

Bill Clinton   $150,000+
Malcolm Gladwell   $80,000
Garry Kasparov   $75,000
David Allen   $50,000 – $75,000
Patrick Lencioni   $50,000 – $75,000
Ben Stein   $50,000 – $75,000
Wayne Gretsky   $50,000
Magic Johnson   $50,000
Bob Kostas   $50,000
Ray Kurzweil   $35,000 – $50,000
Roger Staubach   $25,000 – $30,000
Dave Barry   $25,000 – $30,000

No doubt they are knowledgeable in their field,  and could tell a good tale about some of their near miss accidents or the risks they encounter in their daily work…  but if this seems a little out of your range.. perhaps it puts my fee in perspective.

The fee is for the value I provide to whoever hires me…

“How much would it be worth to have a guest speaker make your staff a little wiser, more motivated or safer when returning to work?”

Maybe its not worth $30,000 or even $5,000 but there is definitely some economic value to what a good relevant guest speaker, can do for your people.

It depends on how valuable the people in the room are to whoever is footing the bill.. or the amount of savings that could come from hearing your message from someone else.

So in the grand scheme of things, the cost of hiring a safety guest speaker is minimal.

Even if its just for entertainment, or for reminding the audience of important things they’ve forgotten, a good guest speaker is worth something..  Think of the last boring tool box talk you were at,  would you have paid a few bucks to make the speaker suck less.. or the information more “real”.. I bet you would.

Speaking at Your Business is a Little Different

Guest Speakers are generally paid for their ability to draw people to an event, there is no guarantee that they will be interesting or relevant to what you are seeking.   It is purely a raw economic value proposition.

As a rule the bigger the name the more prestigious their backgrounds, the more experienced they are, the more interesting their presentation, the more you need to be willing to pay…

However in the safety arena.. its not about ability to draw a crowd, its about having a specialist speaker share their first hand experience to influence your people to connect with your safety message and remember to be safe.

The challenge is finding someone who is going to get your message out there.

Finding a Guest Speaker  who is

  • Credible for a safety topic
  • Good at speaking or
  • Passionate about Safety Matters and
  • Available

The compensation also covers all the things that people tend to forget that I have done or do in order to be capable of speaking to your group.

A speaking presentation takes a good hour to deliver.   Each time you share your story you are giving part of yourself away.. by opening up about your life – you are giving people an insight into you… and it can be stressful and intense,  reliving an event or events that affected your life in a major way.    Hence why most people just go to their day job and do the same thing day in and day out…

In order to deliver a relevant speech, it takes time to research and collate your speech.. granted part of it is my story.. however  to give you the best bang for your buck.. and to make it ultra relevant to your staff – it is best to prepare..

Then consider, my trip to the venue.   Not as easy for me as for you..   remember I am in a wheelchair.. and when you hear my partner speak, she can tell you all about not taking shortcuts..    What may take you 15 mins generally will take us anywhere from an hour to hour and half…

And yes, we choose to do this, because we believe that my story will save lives or change attitudes, – we are not complaining…  however, it is worth thinking about as you consider the cost of hiring a safety guest speaker.

There are many unspoken risks associated with developing a safety speaking circuit –   We run the risk of having no salary, no superannuations. Our speaking career could come to an unfortunate end – and we would be left unemployed.

Many people can do this, I agree, but Im not being paid simply to talk , Im paid for the knowledge and experience I have gained through my suffering and that of those close to me..

The thing is how do you know if a safety guest speaker has been effective… afterall – its like having a roo bar… if you don’t see a roo – you can’t tell if it works…   if you aren’t having accidents and you have a guest speaker and you continue to not have accidents – is that because you hired a guest speaker or not…  I guess you may never know.

One thing is for sure, if you don’t hire us… there is a chance you will continue to have minor incidents and accidents.

What do you get when you hire Hawk Vagg as a guest speaker

  • Highly skilled, highly motivated, seasoned and experienced speaker
  • Honest, direct, no holes barred open discussion
  • Passionate about create safety awareness and culture shifts
  • Easy-going, who listens to others and shares his ideas without reservation
  • Hands on – for real – experience of a workplace accident and its impact

How will you benefit from hiring Hawk Vagg as your guest speaker

  • His presentation leaves a lasting impression…
  • Your workforce will stay focused on safety
  • Workers will look out for each others safety
  • Your safety culture will be reinforced
  • Increased safety awareness
  • Staff will be motivated to improve safety.

So if you are looking for a guest speaker to light the fire of Hope and Possibility of a safer workpalce, of zero harm – contact us today to discuss having us as a Guest Speaker and what we can do for you.

**These fees were compiled from public listings on various speaker bureau websites. Most sites note that these fees are variable and may change at any time. See or http://


  • You have been given a gift as a Life Saver

    I sat through your presentation yesterday with mixed emotions those of sadness, sorrow, anger… where you can directly and indirectly impact and change the lives of many… you have been given a great gift of a Life Saver to many but at a tremendous personal sacrifice. I have asked myself what could I do for Hawk, my families, peers, colleagues and friends and came up with — Think and act safely in everything I do and ask / tell others to do the same to protect them from harm. 97.8% of our delegates said Hawk’s presentation was excellent / good.

    Rick Alcock, National Manager, Construction Oil & Gas L&H Group
  • Inspired by his words

    Yesterday both myself & Ashlea Wright were invited to attend the Shell Global Safety day at the Pinkenba terminal on behalf of G4S Secure Solutions. As part of the presentation, we were privileged to listen to Hawk Vagg and his story relating to the accident in 1998. Hawk’s powerful and heart wrenching description of the events, & the people affected by that day in 1998, left both myself & Ashlea moved & inspired by his words. Hawk’s message has had a huge impact on my approach to everyday moments in life & highlighted the need to be vigilant & remain safe wherever we are in life, be it at work or home. In conjunction with Shell’s presentation, it was an uplifting & educational approach to what remains a common goal amongst us all – a safe workplace/environment. On behalf of G4S, I would like to thank Shell for extending the invitation. I wish Hawk Vagg continued success with his presentations around the country and personally thank Hawk for raising my safety awareness to a higher level of appreciation. Good Luck Hawk. Thank you all.

    John Broughton Branch Manager QLD G4S Secure Solutions
  • The boys comment about things you made them aware of in your presentation

    Hello Hawk, better late than never, I would like to thank you for the day you spent here on site. As recently as a week ago, some of the boys comment about things you made them aware of in your presentation. The feedback has been very good and attitude to safety awareness have changed for the better. Your posters are a very good reminder for the workers, not just the workers that were there on the day, other workers have commented on them as well. I believe the effects of your visit will assist in keeping the safety awareness on the right track for some time.

    Russelll Mallett, Safety Officer Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal Pty Ltd
  • It made a real impact on everyone

    Hi Hawk, I hope you are well. The guys are still talking about your presentation, it made a real impact on everyone. We are making a poster and just wanted to check with you if it was ok to use your “mantra” — “She’ll be right mate, But… what if I am wrong”

    Greg McCluand, Plant Manager, Iplex Pipelines Australia Pty Ltd
  • Choices and consequences

    Hawk shared his story with the Moorvale team and left everyone with a powerful message to stop and think about the choices you make and the consequences they could have on you and the people around you.

    Nicole Challen from Leighton Contractors Moorvale Mine
  • A very relevant and worthwhile experience

    I just wanted to let you know that we had great feedback for Hawk ranging from our Sub-Contractors, Business HSEQ Director and Regional Director. Thank you for assisting with the organisation of what was a very relevant and worthwhile experience.

    Laura Greene Laing O’Rourke OHS – Port Botany
  • I could see it made an impact on the lads

    I just wanted to say that I thought your speech / presentation was brilliant, it was a very hard hitting speech that I could see it made an impact on the lads. I thought it was well delivered and your detailed description of the accident really hit home. I was especially moved by the aftermath of your accident and the way it’s affected you and your life.

    Neil O’Donnell, H&S Advisor Port Botany Laing O’Rourke
  • I took away some personal reflections and timely reminders

    I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude and thanks for your heart-felt and very personal presentations here for us at Toowoomba Regional Council. I have received very positive feedback from attendees at both sessions you delivered last Wednesday. Overall, I took away some personal reflections and ‘timely reminders’ to remember about some of the decisions we make in life, especially around keeping safe both personally and for those around us.

    Andy Van der Syde – Toowoomba Regional Council, Senior Organisational Development Officer
  • You are an inspiration

    Hi Hawk! Thanks so much for speaking with us today at Pacific Seeds. It made a huge impact and I’ve already had many staff members tell me how beneficial the talk was and that it really made them think. We’ve even got a worker who has now decided to call the professionals at home to do a job that her and her husband had planned to do this weekend. You are an inspiration and I look forward to seeing you in the near future for phase 2.

    Michelle Lennox, Occupational Health & Safety Office of the Toowoomba Branch of Pacific Seeds
  • Accolades and praise for Hawk Vagg’s safety presentation

    In short — bloody awesome Hawk was fantastic. He was extremely professional but also down to earth and realistic. They presented and pitched the session at exactly the right level for the audience. I am sure Hawk was able to “turn on a few lights” as I like to say. I know that some of the audience, particularly the younger workers, found it confronting initially but with Hawk’s style and honesty everyone left the room with a stronger resolve to take the actions they need to in their work fronts.

    Mike Tierney, CMC
  • Your message was very clear

    Hi Hawk, I would like to thank you for coming to our project recently to deliver your powerful safety message from your own personal experience to our BSO project employees, the message of complacency, not looking after yourself and your workmates was very clear with the outcome if you carry out an unsafe act it will change your family, friends and your life forever. The days you were here on site changed the way people looked at the safety of themselves and others and has continued since you left, your name and circumstance is often raised out in the field by the employees, at prestart and induction to site. Thanks once again and will see you again on another job.

    Regards Russell Barham | Lead EHS Specialist. Broadmeadow Sustaining Operations Project Site Address: Gate 18, Red Hill Road, PMB Moranbah QLD 474
  • I enjoyed your talk

    I enjoyed your talk and will stop and think about what you said next when going to cut corners.

    Nathan Otago

    Hi mate! or should I say LEGEND! I had a bad day yesterday dealing with stuff, Thought I had it bad! I was speechless listening to your journey! Mate you will forever be in my thoughts.

    Masey Jase
  • You could have heard a pin drop,

    Hi Hawk, I would like to thank you on behalf of Bechtel Equipment Services Gladstone for coming to our yard recently. Your presentation sent a powerful safety message to our employees from your own personal experiences. You could have heard a pin drop, the employees were so intentive. You really brought home the message of safety. We are looking forward to your next presentation.

    Bechtel Equipment Services Gladstone
  • Mate you are an insperation keep it up.,

    Hi Hawk. I felt compeled to contact you after hearing you speak to us at Commodore mine Millmerran on the 29/05/13. Mate keep telling your story if it saves one person suffering what you have gone through it will be a good outcome. Made me stop and think, Hawk i have done the same thing that you did and got away with it pure luck on my part. Mate you are an insperation keep it up.

    Regards Les Goodall