Tips For Hiring Professional Speakers

April 21, 2017Event Planning Tips Standard

If you’re relatively new to the world of event management, you will have a lot of questions and a lot to learn. No two events are ever the same, so building up experience takes time.

One tricky area when you don’t have much past knowledge is hiring a speaker to present at your event, and it can seem like a daunting prospect because you don’t want to come across as unprofessional when dealing with potential speakers. This is understandable, but if you avoid the common mistakes people tend to make and focus on a few helpful tips, you may have more confidence approaching this task.

One important factor to consider is that you need to make it clear how much you value your chosen speaker’s time. Not only do they have to set aside time for the event, but they will typically need to spend at least two or three times as much time preparing their presentation, and often a lot more. All this obviously depends on the type of presentation you’re asking for, so you need to be clear on this yourself before approaching them.

Based on this, the amount you offer to pay any speaker will be affected. If you’re thinking of asking your presenter to be part of your event for free, this might work if you can persuade them. However, bear in mind they probably already received many similar requests and had to turn most of them down.

It’s not just time you’re paying for, though, otherwise you could approach anyone with decent presentation skills. The status and identity of the person you’d like to speak at the event is obviously the biggest draw for guests at your event, and therefore it’s going to influence the price you pay more than anything else.

Typically, experts within your industry will already have some kind of reputation based on past events they have spoken at. With a bit of research, you should be able to decide what category they fall under in terms of relevance and skills to help you estimate their fees. As a very rough guide, you could expect the following rates as starting points:

  • Experts not known for amazing presentations – A few hundred pounds
  • Experts known for amazing presentations – Up to a few thousand pounds
  • Rising professional event speakers – Several thousand pounds
  • Well-known professional speakers – Tens of thousands of pounds
  • Celebrity speakers – Tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds

Fees for speakers at events vary greatly, and they are usually subject to negotiation. In any case, you will need to consider your own costs for accommodating the guest speaker and weight this up against your total budget. If guests are attending for free, your budget will be finite so it’s up to you to decide what level of speaker you can afford to book.

When ticket sales are a factor and the size of your event is somewhat flexible, things can get more complicated because a popular (and maybe expensive) speaker can draw in more interest and therefore more revenue. Balancing the budget gets harder here, but you need to be confident with your numbers before entering a negotiation.