Free Speech Speaker’s Bureau Celebrates 20 Years with a New Name - FreeSpeakers.org

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To celebrate two decades of service to the Chicagoland community, Free Speech Speaker's Bureau has undergone a major update - a new name, logo and many more opportunities for both speakers and the hundreds of groups who use speakers in Chicago. Free Speech is now FreeSpeakers.org - A Pro Bono Speakers Bureau.

Susan Neustrom, of Woodridge, IL, a motivational speaker with FreeSpeakers.org presents to staff at Hinsdale South High School in Darien, IL

Susan Neustrom, of Woodridge, IL, a motivational speaker with FreeSpeakers.org presents to staff at Hinsdale South High School in Darien, IL

"All speakers present programs at no cost - nada, nothing, zip," said Andy Richardson, director of FreeSpeakers.org. "There is no charge to any group. Ever. Not from the speaker and not from the bureau."

To celebrate two decades of service to the community, Free Speech Speaker's Bureau has undergone a major update - a new name, logo and many more opportunities for both speakers and the hundreds of groups who use speakers. Free Speech is now FreeSpeakers.org - A Pro Bono Speakers Bureau.

"All speakers present programs at no cost - nada, nothing, zip," said Andy Richardson, director of FreeSpeakers.org. "There is no charge to any group. Ever. Not from the speaker and not from the bureau."

FreeSpeakers.org is a boon for groups who need speakers for their programs but who have limited (or no) budgets. Groups include Chambers of Commerce, libraries, Rotary and Kiwanis groups, special interest clubs, retirement communities, church groups, women's clubs, men's clubs, etc.

Speakers pay a modest annual fee to be members of FreeSpeakers.org.

"What’s in it for the speakers? Certainly not money," Richardson said. "They want the opportunity to hone speaking skills, market themselves, make contacts, convey a message, teach, give back to the community and frequently, all of the above. The benefit for all speakers is that getting out in the community and in front of audiences can lead to new clients, new friends and new experiences."

Free Speech was launched officially in 1996, and the response was, and continues to be, enthusiastic. At the end of its first year, Free Speech represented 36 speakers. Today, more than 150 speakers are available. During the first six months of 2015 alone, there have been more than 250 requests for speakers.

There are additional benefits. Public speaking provides invaluable experience in communications; each and every time you speak you improve. No-fee speaking can lead to free public relations since many groups send out press releases about their speakers to the print media who, in turn, reach thousands of readers. Another positive is that a speaker has a grand opportunity to educate the public; and maybe most important, speakers give of themselves.

"If you’re thinking that FreeSpeakers.org is about working for free, think again," said speaker Tom Kelly, MCC, business coach, "It’s about getting in front of great audiences that can experience your expertise which will help you grow your business."

"I have used FreeSpeakers.org several times for our Chicago-area Mensa group’s monthly gathering. Each may have been free, but each has been as professional as those we’ve hired who had a high fee," said Vicky Edwards, programs officer, Chicago-area Mensa. "Every one of them has arrived on time, been fully prepared and given a fascinating presentation."

“Free Speech has given me the opportunity to talk to a diverse range of groups,” said Terry Bass, president, Chadons Resources Group. “It also has resulted in some of the best testimonials that I’ve received from attendees.”

People who call for speakers for the first time are always incredulous that no money of any sort is expected of them,” said the bureau's founder Ginny Richardson. “Some of them are suspicious and want to know what the catch is. We tell them we do this as a community service project, and they still can’t believe it.”

What is not allowed is blatant selling of anything. An author may bring copies of his or her book, but offering the book must be very low-key.

For more information, visit: http://www.FreeSpeakers.org.

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