When to Hire Speakers Solely Based on Fees

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, No More Boring Meetings

Recession or not, I’ve always been committed to helping you save money and effort when you plan important meetings and events.

Outside speakers are often the element most instrumental in your event’s success. They help seal participants’ memories of your meeting, educate the audience and heighten perceptions of your organization. That’s why thinking and “spending small” can ultimately cost you more in lost results and reputation than the cost of your initial speaker investment.

With a smarter, big-picture approach, we can stretch your budget while still reaching your most important goals. But if you view speakers’ fees as more a cost than an investment, you may limit your thinking and lessen your outcomes.

So, when SHOULD you hire speakers based just on fees?

1. When you don’t need event buzz or higher registration

Like many products and services, speakers’ fees are based on and vary with supply and demand. Most meeting planners seek to create event buzz and increase registration for their events. With few exceptions, more well-known, buzz-worthy speakers will command higher fees, AND be more likely to generate higher registration and stronger buzz. So while an initial investment is called for, if you work strategically, you make up for your outlay in the long run.

Email us ( for a free list of strategy questions that put you on the right track.

2. When you must have salmon for dinner

Often, the difference between the speaker you really want and the speaker you think you can afford is the difference between offering steak vs. chicken. A quick calculation may surprise you.

Since the quality of speakers is the most-often cited reason for overall event satisfaction, choose all your meeting elements with the big picture in mind.

3. When you feel beholden to a rigid agenda

Get more mileage from speakers by asking (yes, often it’s just a matter of asking!) if they’ll also attend a pre- or post-keynote reception. Then secure a sponsor for the reception that helps offset your overall cost. And invite the sponsor to the reception for the chance to talk with your now-affordable headliner. Everyone wins! Ask us ( for our sponsorship resource sheet.

4. When you’re unaware of all your options

Many top-tier speakers’ fees are “inclusive.” That is, they include not just their speaking fee…they also cover travel, ground transport, maybe even a second breakout session. Some even include signed books. A quick inquiry, or some shrewd negotiating, will save you money and ensure a much more successful, relevant, well-attended event.