Tips for Booking Speakers
for Corporate Events

Booking speakers for an event is an important task because the performance and strength of your motivational speaker is central to the success of your event. If you get it wrong it could impact your credibility. If you get it right, it will create trust in your professional abilities. Therefore, Personal Assistants should take the task of hiring motivational speakers very seriously.

Professional Standards

The first question you should ask yourself is how will the audience benefit from the speaker’s experience? The speaker must be carefully matched to the tastes of the audience and to the type of event. Make sure the speaker is professional in their delivery and attitude. It is also important that the speaker's attire reflects the image the company likes to portray. Offensive imagery or language is a no-no.

Negotiating the Best Deal

Before booking speakers, make sure the budget is adequate. Avoid scrimping but if you have to, you could make savings in the following areas:

- hire a local speaker;
- negotiate a fee that includes expenses;
- negotiate some workshops as part of the deal;
- get the speaker to attend parts of the event and contribute;
- buy the speaker’s CDs and books in lieu of payment; or
- allow the speaker to sell their products at a discount.

If you consider a cheaper motivational speaker, do your homework and check all references - you could find that a cheaper speaker is better value for money.

Finding Speakers

Ask around: friends and colleagues may know professional speakers they can recommend. You could also do a Google search on ‘motivational speakers’ and ‘keynote speakers’. You should also contact relevant professional speakers' Associations. Some agencies charge a finder’s fee of up to 10% of the speaker’s fee.

Before booking motivational speakers, always request a demo tape. When reviewing the tape focus on the speaker's delivery and interaction with the audience. Then consider your overall impression of the delivery. If you're not impressed by the speaker’s performance, find someone else. Another strategy to help you select the right person is to request a preview of their performance in addition to a demo tape.

Picture of a motivational speaker, conference, seminar

Contractual Terms

The speaker's performance should be covered by a contract which deals with delivery of the services. The terms should cover:

- duration of the performance
- time overruns
- equipment needed
- set-up time
- space needed for equipment
- meals and refreshments
- insurance issues
- emergency contact numbers, etc.

Remember: the best speakers and entertainers are usually booked up well in advance, so put this task at the top of your Event Planning Checklist and begin your search as early as possible.


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