How Do We Limit Speaker Travel Costs?

Ask the agency if the speaker has a set travel allowance to cover air and ground travel to the event, and most speakers do. A travel allowance is a set amount that you pay to the speaker to book and pay for his/her own travel. Speakers like travel allowances because it gives them the opportunity to use their own travel miles/points, and they get compensated by the travel allowance. Speakers can also get better deals on air tickets as they tend to be members of different frequent-flyer programs. This helps clients because it can actually lower costs by 20-40%. They know what the travel costs are up front, and there are no surprise travel costs afterwards. A travel allowance for an east-west trip across North America is on average $1,500 – $1,750. A travel allowance for a north-south trip in North America is on average $1,000 – $1,250. For international events, you should ask the agency to negotiate a travel allowance.

Should We Do Q&A with Our Speaker?

To make Q & A work, you need to manage it properly. The greatest challenge is stopping people who say they are going to ask a question but turn that question into a speech which frustrates the rest of the group. The most successful approaches are to either ask for questions in advance and then have a key leader from your group ask the speaker those questions or if you want to be really high-tech, have people submit their questions through Twitter during the talk.

How Long Is the Average Keynote Presentation?

Most speakers deliver presentations that are 60-90 minutes long and are fairly flexible if the agenda changes on the event day and they need to add or deduct 10-15 minutes to their speech. The most important point is that you continuously communicate how much time you have on the agenda to the speaker in the initial contract, on the pre-event conference call and on-site. Content speakers tend to be more flexible. For example, a leadership speaker can cut 10 great leadership ideas down to 8 fairly easily. Story-based speakers may find it harder, so they need lots of notice. For example, an Olympic athlete can’t end an inspiring story by cutting out the finish of the Olympic race or a mountain climber leave out what it felt like to reach the summit. The bottom line is to keep your speaker informed of any time changes in the agenda.

What Kind of Speakers Do Salespeople Want to Hear From?

Our research shows that more than anything else salespeople in every industry want to learn new ideas and skills that help them sell more. They also like ideas on personal motivation and inspiration; however, ideas and tips on building client relationships, negotiating and opening new markets are what really gets them going. You want a salesperson to come out of the session saying, “I can’t wait to get back to work Tuesday and use those ideas.”

What Makes a Great Closing Speaker?

After 2 or 3 days of content, you need to send people away with an emotional connection to what they have just experienced. All that data over the previous 2-3 days will be further diluted if you end with another data presentation. Instead, consider ending with a powerful story that appeals to people’s emotions and can be connected back to your theme or conference goal. People remember great stories months and even years after hearing them, and if that story is connected to your theme or key message, they will remember that too.

What’s the Best Kind of Speaker to Open an Event?

We have been helping clients find speakers for their events for 14 years, and without a doubt speakers that focus on some aspect of communications are a great choice to open an event. Conferences are really great pools of information and ideas circulating at a specific venue, but not all that content is on the stage; a lot of it is in the people participating. The more you can do to get them to open up and talk to each other, the greater the experience for everyone. Speakers that offer ideas on how to improve communications will get people thinking about how important it is to connect with everyone.