For meeting planners, finding and hiring the right speaker can be a complicated process that goes something like this. First you narrow your search by deciding what you want the presenter and presentation to focus on. Then you choose a pool of speakers able to meet those objectives.
Another important consideration could be the speaker’s fee. Selecting a speaker doesn’t mean randomly picking an affordable speaker, nor does it mean paying a large sum of money on the assumption that more equals better. It’s a matter of finding a speaker who meets the your criteria and represents the best value for what he or she is paid.
Many planners have fee ranges that help determine what speaker they’re willing to hire and at what price. What follows is an unofficial breakdown of the pay scale, highlighting the characteristics of speakers at each level.
Fees of less than $1,000
Few meeting planners today expect to retain an outside professional speaker for less than $1,000. Still, many of you have a limited budget. The speaker who regularly falls into this pay range is usually local, someone who gives infrequent presentations or someone who doesn’t speak professionally for a living.
Customary for an entry-level speaker or a talented up-and-coming professional. Speakers charging at this level are generally good at what they do but may not necessarily speak full time or frequently. This also is an appropriate fee for speakers who are salaried or corporate employees.
Speakers in this range are frequently compared with one another. Often there’s simply not enough difference between quality of presentations at this level.
Many professional speakers in business today charge in this range. Along with greater compensation comes greater expectations. Planners willing to pay this amount are counting on a solid presentation from someone who knows the ropes and has at least a 99 percent chance of delivering a winning performance.
These speakers must meet specific and important goals. In this pay category, a speaker might expect to address an organization’s national convention, as opposed to a state convention, corporate quarterly or annual meeting, or executive retreat of 15 to 20 people. The speech itself could be a half-day long or a keynote. Planners are counting on a pro to accomplishing the objectives with absolute competency.
$7,500-$10,000 and above
There are few speakers in this range. Many speakers talk these numbers, but consistently earning figures this great is another matter. Authors of New York Times best-selling books can seek this fee and more. Above the $10,000 mark, expect to find few non-celebrities. It’s not unusual, however, for a celebrity or high-ranking expert in a particular field to command anywhere from $15,000 to $40,000.