Bubba brings home $65M

Hillary isn’t the only one bringing home the bacon. Since 2001, Bill Clinton has raked in $65 million from speeches, CNN reported yesterday.

Based on figures from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s financial disclosure report, the former president raked in $7.5 million from 36 speeches in 2009, up from the $5.7 million he earned for 25 appearances in 2008.

Nearly two-thirds of Clinton’s haul came from 365 speeches he gave overseas. Canada topped his list of engagements, with $8.4 million for 50 speeches, CNN said.

In addition to the obvious clout that comes with being an ex-president, Clinton is an exceptional communicator.

“Clinton has that fabulous ability to connect with people,” said Washington, DC based speech expert Carmie McCook. “He literally makes people feel like they’re the only person in the room and he’s talking directly with them. And that comes from many public speaking skills he has mastered over the years.”

McCook says while some people have a greater aptitude for public speaking, anyone, with the right coach, dedication, and practice can become compelling and engaging speakers.

Public speaking is like any skill one wishes to improve or master,” she says. “Like playing golf or the piano, it isn’t a one-off deal. You can’t take one lesson and go play in the Masters or Carnegie Hall.” McCook, who coaches CEOs, and other high-profile speakers, says people have to be realistic about the kind of money they might make from public speaking.

“Paid public speaking engagements are highly competitive and the fees vary greatly. Obviously, famous people can command very high fees, but most speaking fees are under $5000.”

And, it takes a lot of work and dedication to be a highly respected public speaker. McCook says the best speakers are just like top professional athletes who want to stay on top of their game. “There is no substitute for having a good coach to practice with. People who are the best in their field practice all the time. And even those who have won awards, whether it’s that Green Jacket or the Wimbledon Trophy, they still work with their coaches all the time.”