How to Hire a Quality Keynote Speaker

Original Blog:
Written By: Sarah Hovis

If we’re honest, a huge selling point when figuring out whether or not to attend a conference depends on who the keynote speaker will be. As a planner, when hiring your keynote speaker, what you can afford will factor in to your decision. That being said, you should also:

Look at the role the speaker will have in your conference (e.g., motivational/inspirational or trend expert).
Think about why you’re hiring a keynote speaker and the results you’d like to achieve (e.g., educate, promote awareness, or inform/entertain). contributor Micah Solomna asked Dr. Nick Morgan, one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches for his advice on how to hire a quality keynote speaker.

Mistakes to Avoid
Scheduling keynotes during a meal—or right after one. The meal and the speaker should never be in competition for the attendee’s attention.

Asking to see the keynote’s presentation ahead of time and then distributing it to your attendees. Keep an element of surprise!

Best Practices to Keep in Mind
Add a dynamic emcee or host (Note: this person is not your keynote speaker) to interact with the audience throughout the day, create opportunities for interaction, and ensure that things don’t fall between the cracks.

Build in some breaks. Think of how much more you can accomplish if you create networking opportunities outside of mealtime.  

Booking and Fees

Book your speakers at least six months out. That gives you a better chance of getting quality speakers you can adequately promote.

Fees will vary by speaker. For example: a published author could cost anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 or more, while a New York Times bestselling author is $40,000 and up. And always remember that travel expenses are additional. One final piece of advice for planners: don’t try to nickel-and-dime the speakers. Think of what you’re spending on the venue, food and drinks, rooms, etc., and you’ll understand why trying to shave off a few dollars from the speaker’s fee is counterproductive.
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