July 12, 2012, Vol. 10, Issue 13
My husband and I are just back from family vacation in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, over the Fourth — more about our adventures and take-aways at the end of this e-news. I think lots of you have also been away on vacation, so I want to repeat my offer that went out just before the Fourth: I’ll send you, free, my new report called, “Demystifying Speaker Fees…and Tips on Getting the Speaker You Really Want.”
From what I’m hearing, budgets are under fire, and you might like to know how to get the most out of your speaker budget. I put a lot of thought and research into this report and new subscribers will get it automatically, but I wanted to make sure that you, as a current subscriber have access to it at no charge, as well.
Here’s what one recipient had to say:
“Your transparency, honesty and sincere effort to educate and work with clients should make your business the gold standard and top booking agency! Excellent article and fine clarity!”
To get this free report, email me, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, and write REPORT in the subject line, and I will email you the PDF right away.
While I highly recommend you get the entire report — if you’re responsible for hiring professional speakers — I think this topic is so important that I’m sharing some abbreviated highlights about one of the topics I cover — fee categories — in this issue.
What’s in a Speaker Fee?
As I detail in the report, there are no regulations for determining speaker fees. Speakers set their own rates — and the variables may be personal as well as professional. Speaker fees range from modest to top dollar, depending on experience, credentials, reputation, popularity, personal preferences and availability. Setting fees is really not that different than pricing for anything else. Motivational speaker costs range as much as dresses or shoes, houses or hotel rooms. It’s a free market, people (both speakers and clients) have choices and apply different qualifiers.
For this discussion, we are focusing on keynote fees — programs that go from 30 to 90 minutes and are a primary draw for either a conference or a stand-alone event (please see my report for more detail regarding cost variable as related to the length of the program). I’ve chosen three broad fee categories based on my experience with my speakers in my field, which is health and wellness and women’s events; so they may not translate directly to other industries (i.e. to corporate speaker fees).
Keynote Fee, Range 1: $1,500 – $4,500
Entry-level professional speakers start in the $1,500 – $2,500 range for a keynote. These speakers may have a full-time job as well as speaking professionally. Here in the lower end, is where we may discover a diamond in the rough, possibly connecting you with a local gem or a rising star in her field. In the $2,500 – $4,500 range, you’ll find a wide range of seasoned, competent and entertaining professional speakers who are comfortable with this fee level and find that their market of choice may not support any higher fees. Here we find a rich selection of speakers on surviving cancer, for example, heart health, mind-body connections for healing, or inspiration for richer living.
Keynote Fee, Range 2: $5,000 – $10,000
In the $5,000 – $10,000 range, are speakers with experience in spades, impressive client lists, widely read books, and reputations for getting things done — pretty much a guarantee that they will make a difference in your organization. They are tried and true, most are at least moderately well known, and they can turn an audience on with humor, pathos, or inspiration for living better, healthier lives. This is especially important if you are holding an event that repeats regularly; in that situation your turnout next year depends to some extent on how well your audience likes the event this year. So it may behoove you to spend a little more in order to ensure that your audience comes back because they are thrilled time after time.
Keynotes with the Stars: Over $10,000 +++
Over $10,000 you are looking at corporate business speakers, and then you may even get into celebrity motivational speaker fees upwards of $25,000+++. I can get you just about any celebrity you might be interested in. I have the contacts and the reputation to get their attention. But that is not my focus, as the majority of my clients’ budgets are under $10,000. I am also aware that just because someone is an actor, a famous author or athlete, or a winner on a reality TV show, does not mean she’s a great speaker. If you do persist in seeking a celebrity, it’s especially important to work with a professional bureau such as mine, as we have the resources and perspective to steer you in the right direction – and away from trouble.
Please note that there are exceptions in all of these categories. As mentioned, speakers set their own fees. When you work with me, it’s not a matter of price reflecting quality. Most speakers’ bureaus do not even work with speakers whose fees are under $5,000. When I started The Speak Well Being Group, the speakers I was working with were in the $1,500 – $3,500 range, and that was the budget that our clients could afford. So while many of those speakers have increased their fees in line with their experience, talent and abilities, I have worked hard to discover new speakers under $5,000 to continue working in that range — and I love nurturing talent.
What I recommend to my clients is that you call or email me early in your selection process and explore options with me. Since I work at no cost to you, you can utilize my experience and my knowledge of who has done well in other events like yours to give you insights that you could not get elsewhere. My goal is to find the right person for your group, and I succeed if your program is so successful that you return to me for the next one. Besides, it’s risk free and cost free. You can only gain knowledge and perspective.
To get the Full Report Free, email me, <email@example.com>, and write REPORT in the subject line, and I will email you the PDF right away.
Campgrounds Revisited – An Experience in Contrasts
So, my husband and I were sitting after breakfast at a picnic table in the KOA campground in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, last week, (laptops open) while the kids and grandkids were already at the huge Hot Springs pool with mega-slides and such, when the Skype ring went off. Now, is that amazing or what? I mean, really!!! Yep, the KOA had WI-FI – outdoors under the cottonwoods. And it was Jim’s other daughter, Ann, and granddaughter, Emmy, Skyping us from Prague, Czech Republic! I just found that fun, exciting, and weird all at the same time. On the other hand, the ground was too dry; we could not have a campfire and the fun of storytelling and making s’mores. So, although in person we missed the camaraderie that a campfire creates with the loved ones who were there, we had this awesome connection that technology provided — with those who weren’t there.
For us, the family time was well worth the long drive – tubing together down the Portneuf River, playing Tripoley and Scrabble with the kids, talking while walking the dogs . . . and just being together.
On the opposite end of the techno-wheel, we stopped on the way back to Portland, at a state park near LaGrande, Oregon, and I was taken aback by what the state describes as a primitive campground – which nevertheless featured flush toilets and running water at every campsite. Now despite the absence of electricity or hot water and showers in the bathrooms, let alone Wi-Fi, my iPhone still had reception! Just like the TV ads! Well, we’re tent campers in the first place, but I couldn’t help remembering what a primitive campsite was in my growing-up years when my family vacationed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Back then a primitive site (which my family preferred) had an outhouse, a one-hand pump for water for the entire campground, and a raft in the lake for diving and playing — no huge water slides. And, that is what we truly loved — just nature. On the other hand … Skyping around the picnic table offers some balance to that view.
And to me the most revealing observation of all was that when we got home, I enjoyed more sounds of nature coming from my own backyard, than I did from either campground — where the nearby highway noise overpowered the bird calls.
Until next time, take care of yourself. I hope you’re out enjoying summer, for your well being and those you love.
For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!
The Speak Well Being Group is a specialized speakers bureau, focusing on speakers for hospital-sponsored community events, healthcare organizations, conferences and women’s groups. Our speakers are hand-selected. They are not only experts in their fields, they know how to connect with women and give them life-changing information served on a silver platter of joy, camaraderie, with a side of sauce (spicy, of course).
Finding the perfect keynote speaker for your special event or conference is my personal passion, not just once, but year after year. It brings me endless joy to know that your audience was delighted and moved by the speaker we selected together. I’m committed to making the process easy, pleasant and fun.