Booking Criteria for Professional Speakers
By Michael Arnot, 19 May 2015
Great speakers should be able to offer you full value of their time and expertise by providing so much more than just a great keynote. For the price you are about pay, you should expect all of the following:
A complete upfront brief
Have the CEO, Marketing and HR directors make time available and insist a one on one speaker briefing process, well in advance of the event, at which they can discuss the event theme, content, tone and agenda with the speaker concerned. It's also the perfect opportunity to discuss the real inside issues in the company itself; allowing the speaker to discuss exactly what you want the delegates to walk away thinking, feeling and doing. If not in the same city, a conference call on Skype should be the standard.
Content that's perfect for you
Not just a standard speech. Great speakers personalise their keynote materials every time they speak. Weaving a corporate message into their presentations enables a far more effective delivery of the overall message to the audience and gives you much more value. Avoid speakers who endlessly repeat the same keynote over and over with none of the client deliverables included.
Time well earned, and spent
Not only should you expect a professional speaker to turn up well in advance of their slot, check their willingness to attend the whole day of the event. No one wants the stress of worrying whether the guest speaker will pitch up in time and apart from that, great speakers want to offer you a day and not just 45 or 60 minutes of their time. Check the speaker will attend and listen to your conference day, as well as make time to network and mingle with the delegates at the close of proceedings. Nobody wants a 'panda' speaker who simply turns up, eats, shoots and leaves.
Price discussion and negotiation
Generally speaker fees are priced at market related levels, and are based on a standard one-off event. If you have a series of potential bookings or road shows, feel free to open a discussion around discounts or added-value.
Follow up and follow through
Consider, and discuss, what you might want a powerful speaker to do after the event. Do they have books, DVD's or other materials your delegates could benefit from? Many speakers now offer workshops, otherwise known as interventions, which might be an additional item to consider either for the conference itself or later at your offices. It's one thing firing up the troops... but imagine what a powerful speaker who has created a magnificent impression could do in the weeks and months that follow?
Speakers always have references. Ask for three recent clients and take the time to call those customers and discover exactly how their conferences went. Also ask whether the speaker has worked in your industry before, for whom and when?
Speakers are generally happy to run through their contractual terms, and good contracts cover all the mutual bases. If you intend to video an event, discuss this and see if the speaker is happy to negotiate a deal on this. Would they do any pre-conference publicity for you? A 30 second video or audio clip can be a great way to boost the excitement amongst delegates before the event takes place. What cancellation clauses are involved from both sides? Is there a plan to accommodate you with a solid replacement in the event of a major problem on the speaker's side? Don't forget to check what you are paying on transport, accommodation and meals as well. Keep it completely clear and open from the start.
All of the above should help you obtain complete peace of mind. Good speakers welcome discussions like these and will turn them to positive advantage, ensuring a win-win for all concerned...
By Michael Jackson... see him here