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The Top 10 Things To Consider When Booking A Speaker

by Jeannette Smith
Event attendees enjoying a meeting

No matter what your budget, you are making a financial and reputational investment when choosing to bring in a keynote speaker for an event or meeting—and want your boss, committee, board, and members, etc. to be totally and completely “wow’d” with the result. That’s no easy feat and begs the question: How do you make sure you’re getting the right keynote speaker, and how do you get the most out of your speaker investment? 

To make the speaker search process a bit easier for you to navigate and to save some time that you can use to focus on the other million tasks on a meeting planner or event professionals' plate, we’ve compiled a list of the most important things to think about as you are deciding who will be the right fit for your program and audience and how you can get the most return from your keynote speaker investment.

Ready to find the ideal individual to speak at your next event or meeting?

Whether you're looking to book a motivational speaker, or a political expert for insight, there's a couple of factors to consider before booking. Here are the top ten most important things to ask yourself when you are looking to hire the perfect keynote speaker for your event or meeting along with a few of my most trusted tips that you should take into consideration when thinking through each one to ensure a successful outcome with your speaker search and selection process.

The tOP 10 things To Consider BEFORE HIRING A Speaker

1.  What is the ultimate goal of the keynote?

The first step before you book a keynote speaker, is determining the goal. For instance, is it to provide in-depth and actionable takeaways for your audience on specific learning metrics, or is it to hire a big-name speaker or well-known celebrity to help you get more butts in seats as a conference closer? Often the two do not overlap, so knowing what drives success will immediately help you and your Leading Authorities’ program consultant target the right individuals. 

MY TIP: Think about whether you are looking for a speaker who has personally done something big, or if you would prefer a best-selling author, professor, or subject matter expert. 

2.       What would my team and audience consider a home run event?

Often what we hope our team and audience will like, isn’t reality. Planning a speaking event starts with the audience. Think through what has worked well in the past, and what has fallen flat—and why. Being honest and transparent when detailing your expectations will help ensure you find the right fit. 

 3.       What is my budget? 

Depending on your topic, a great keynote speaker usually starts in the $10,000 range and can exceed $100,000.  Keynote speaker prices vary greatly, and individual speaking fees are not solely based on popularity or success but instead depend on a lot of different criteria, including the speaker’s availability to accept engagements and the location of the event or meeting. For instance, a current CEO or prominent journalist will have very little time to accept paid engagements, so may set her fee exceedingly high so she can do her best to accept the few offers she may get. Whatever your budget, your Leading Authorities’ program consultant will be able to provide a proposal of recommendations within your range.    

MY TIP: If it is not already included, ask your program consultant if you can include travel and expenses “buyout”. This reduces unexpected and exorbitant expenses on the back end.     

 4.       Will I need to promote the speaker?

Whether you are selling tickets to pack a convention center or looking for a low-key board dinner, we can help guide you to the right person who is comfortable and enthusiastic about your promotion plan. 

MY TIP: Consider asking your speaker to use their social media channels to Tweet about your event in the weeks leading up to the big day, or as a recap after the event. 

 5.       Will I be recording? Will I be live streaming? Will there be media in attendance?

All these things are important to discuss with your consultant during the talent finding process and to include in the offer when you’re ready to move forward. Your consultant will be able to save you time and effort by detailing out each person’s individual requirements, so you are not disappointed in the 11th hour of an offer. 

MY TIPPut all your requirements, no matter how small, in the contractual offer. Negotiating with the Speaker for additional “asks”, no matter how small, after the contracts are signed can be disappointing and fruitless. 

 6.       Am I looking for a celebrity? entertainment? 

A huge factor to consider when refining how to plan a keynote is identifying what type of speaker you prefer for your meeting or event. Unlike traditional keynotes, celebrities can have unique requirements including private air, travel and expenses for an entourage, restricted to moderated Q&A, limited meet and greets (if allowable at all), consecutive appearance time limits, etc. While each celebrity is a little different, talk with your consultant and know what to expect in advance. To a more extreme degree, for entertainment, be prepared to review a lengthy technical rider, backline, and hospitality requirements. 

MY TIP: Ask your agent if you can bundle these things into a buyout so you can hedge expenses on the front end.

 7.       What if I have a limited budget?

If you have your heart set on a speaker who is more than your budget, often it doesn’t hurt to make a reasonable offer. While we do not haggle with speakers on the price they’ve set, we will take them your best and final offer. As your agent, we will do everything in our power to get your first-choice speaker locked in.    

 8.       I’m ready to confirm a speaker! Now what?

When you’ve found “the one”, it’s time to make an offer. Your Leading Authorities agent will check the professional calendar of the speaker and will pull together an agreement including the date, time, location, audience, etc. for your review and signature. After we’ve worked through any questions and have your signature, we’ll extend our offer to the speaker. The speaker will review and in 95% of cases, accept quickly. In the off chance that they need to decline, we will move on to plan B. Once we are locked in with a speaker, you will receive all the marketing materials for your invitations and promotion. 

MY TIP: Ask your agent what the expected response time is for the speaker you have chosen so you can set expectations upfront.

 9.       How do I confirm my speaker's travel and logistics?

One of the best parts about working with the Leading Authorities speakers bureau team is our stellar events team. When you partner with our team, you will have a specific point of contact from our events team who will coordinate all of the travel and logistics for your speaker and event and will send you a detailed itinerary with all of the contact information you’ll need such as full lists of contact names, email addresses, and phone numbers. They are here to ensure everything with your event runs seamlessly and to help you navigate through any event logistic issues such as travel delays or natural storms.

 10.   HAVE ANY QUESTIONS? WANT MORE HELP? Ask your agent!

At Leading Authorities speakers bureau, we are here to help you put together the best keynote event or meeting possible.

You can use us as a go-to resource for researching new talent, pulling together the industry’s most popular speakers, identifying the hottest topics and trends in the industry, brainstorming new and innovative event ideas to keep your content fresh and keep your audience engaged, helping to handle all of the speaker logistics, helping to address and solve any unexpected event emergencies that pop up last minute, and answering tough questions. We work with you from start to finish - from how to plan a keynote presentation to successfully booking your first speaker. We want to see your event succeed as much as we want to see you succeed. And did we mention it’s completely free?


Utilizing these tips for booking a speaker will ensure you find the perfect fit for your event. If you're interested in learning how to book a speaker, want more about our speaker booking process, want to see exactly how our team can work with you to ensure you make a successful keynote speaker selection for your next event or conference and to generate a high return on your speaker investment, reach out to our team to get started today!

Want to receive your very own complimentary and customized speaker recommendations to consider for your next event or meeting? Simply contact us and we'll send you a curated list of speaker suggestions tailored specifically to meet the needs and requirements of your specific event criteria and be a good fit for your event based on the topic, theme, audience, and more. Get your customized speaker list.

You can also get in touch with us by submitting the form below, emailing, calling 1-800-SPEAKER, or live chatting with a member of our team online.

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