As event attendees we simply show up and move through the experience (hopefully enjoying it along the way), but as event managers, we know the one million and one decisions that have been made beforehand…the many, many event components that have been carefully curated to make the event what it is. Finding a perfect event speaker for the event, a speaker that meets your budget needs yet still delivers, is one of those many considerations.
You have your event. You have your attendees. You need a keynote speaker. You go out and book one. Simple, right?
Securing a dynamic and engaging speaker can elevate the entire experience for attendees and leave a lasting impression. It can however feel like a minefield when your budget is tight. The pressure of securing the right person on a shoestring can be tough, but when it all comes together and you enjoy the speech that is delivered as a result of your research and time, it all feels worth the effort.
So how do you hire a speaker and ensure that they align with your budget while delivering value for money?
Look to your local area
Keynote speakers already coming to your area around the same time, might be inclined to book a second event at a lower rate. Check the local event listings to see other events happening in your area. Is there a suitable keynote speaker already listed to speak at a nearby conference? If so, reach out!
You find the perfect speaker and want them to accept a lower fee. How do you seal the deal? Negotiate. Think long and hard about what you could offer to enable the speaker to easily say yes. Make sure you have your ideas planned out before reaching out to the event speaker. You want your speaker to feel part of the process, valued, and integral to the event.
You might not have the budget you would like for your speaker but is there money on the horizon? Speakers are open to hearing pay agreements and are often no strangers to receiving payments via instalments.
Pay in kind
You can create a mutually beneficial agreement without any exchange of money. On occasion event speakers have been known to waive their fee in return for your services. For example, can you guarantee sales of their product from the event audience? There is no harm in exploring such possibilities with event speakers.
Spot a rising star
Can you spot a speaker who is enjoying an upwards trajectory? Booking an up-and-coming keynote speaker can deliver a quality talk without a hefty price tag. Reach out to your network by speaking to fellow industry event managers, venues, speakers bureaus, and get the latest insight into such rising speakers.
Talk to the experts
Many event managers set out hoping to hire a known-name speaker or even, if they’re lucky, a celebrity speaker. The reality is that when the budget is tight this is not a valid prospect. What many people don’t realise is that by going through a speakers bureau, you can snag a lower-cost, high-value speaker, who is newer to the speaking circuit and might not have the massive name recognition of other speakers, but will still deliver a very impactful and high-level talk. Speakers bureaus can source you a great speaker, on the right topic, and at the right fee for your event.
Striking a balance between your budget constraints and securing a high-quality event speaker is the goal. By thoroughly researching potential speakers’ pricing options, talking to your industry network, and evaluating what they bring to the table in terms of knowledge, experience, and audience engagement skills; you can make a decision that ensures both financial feasibility and maximum impact for your event.