How Do I Get the Most Out of My Keynote Speaker?

By Leah Doyle  


Because the best keynote speakers come with sizable speaking fees that represent a significant investment for your organization, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most out of the speaker you’ve hired for the money you’ve spent.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your keynote speaker.

Hire Fewer Speakers – or Just One

It may be tempting to hire quite a few great speakers to increase the buzz and prestige surrounding your event. But one big name will likely draw a similar amount of interest and attention as several will, and you’ll save money – not only on additional fees for additional speakers, but on added travel expenses as well. Hiring multiple speakers means you’ll be paying for multiple hotel rooms and airline tickets. With one outstanding speaker, you still get a great name to headline your event and you save significantly on costs.

Ask About Extra Sessions

The best speakers select their engagements carefully – because they’re popular, so they can. If a top-rated keynote speaker has agreed to present at your event, it’s likely he or she is genuinely interested in your organization’s work and goals. Knowing this, you shouldn’t be shy about asking your speaker if he or she is willing to contribute to the event in ways aside from the keynote speech.

For example, you can ask your speaker if he or she would be willing to moderate a panel, or host a breakout session. Keep in mind that not all speakers are willing to do extra sessions for no additional fee, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask. Remember that the very best speakers want to provide excellent service, not just collect a speaking fee and dash.

Consider Getting Sponsors

It’s true that big name speakers can be expensive. But the benefit of hiring a top-rated and well-known speaker is that their famous name may attract the interest of organizations that would like to sponsor your event, hoping to cash in on the name recognition. With a sponsor who’s willing to pay for a celebrity keynote speaker, your options for whom you can hire suddenly expand, without having to increase your budget.

Capitalize on Synergy

If you have your speaker or speakers take on several different roles over the course of your event, you give them the opportunity to build a lasting relationship and rapport with your attendees. With that increased familiarity comes a great synergy that money simply can’t buy, and it feeds into the power of the message and the overall feeling and atmosphere of your conference or event.

Get the Most for Your Money

With great negotiation skills, you can likely get a lot of extras out of your keynote speaker or speakers. The best speakers, those who make a living doing this work, often see their time at the conference as time that belongs to the organization that hired them – and they tend to be the sort of people who like to be involved, rather than passive observers. Speakers may be willing to provide coaching to organizational executives who are also presenting at the event, or hold a meet-and-greet or appear at an evening gathering after their keynote speech is over.

Understand that keynote speakers generally want to work with you to make your event a success. They’re often willing to do things or take on tasks you wouldn’t have considered, and their insight and expertise can help make your event even more successful.

Written by Leah Doyle

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