Having a speaker at an event is a worthwhile investment: a great keynote speaker can boost attendance, among other things. However, if you want to engage someone who attracts the right target audience or creates buzz, you will have to pay a reasonable fee. Ultimately, the point of any meeting with a speaker is to provide value to the audience. You can maximize the return on investment for your speaker, and consequently justify their fee, by ensuring that they do more than get up and talk for an hour.
A good keynote speaker can up the sponsorships.
If a speaker is willing to appear at the sponsor’s booths during post-speech networking time, or at other more ‘social’ opportunities, potential sponsors might be willing to up their financial participation if options like these are included in the sponsorship packages. Depending on the speaker’s reputation, there is a lot of value in being ‘awesome by association’, which any sponsor would want to be able to leverage.
Your keynote speaker can help promote your event.
Be clear about what you’re looking for them to accomplish at the meeting.
Find out what they are willing to provide to extend the engagement they have with the audience. Will their content be customized to your audience? Do they interact with the audience during their speech? What about Q&A sessions afterward? Can you set up a spot to do another Facebook live or other recorded video to have your speaker give a recap of his or her program and then an action challenge. Ask the audience to post their comments or commitments on your social page.
Ask your speaker to speak more than once.
If you’re paying for them to travel to the meeting, and accommodations too, you should try and include in the contract a few other things that bring value to your event. For example, perhaps they would be open to moderating a breakout panel discussion, after they speak, to get some more direct engagement with the audience, or a more detailed discussion of key points made. Another possibility is requesting that they host a breakout on their particular area of expertise, during the event. Or ask them to act as emcee for an evening social that is tied to the event. There are a lot of ways that the cache of a talented speaker can be leveraged to everyone’s advantage.
Ask your keynote speaker to have follow-up materials.
As I mentioned earlier, the speaker can promote your event to their audience beforehand but they can also extend the value by continuing to engage AFTER the event, on social media. Using the same hashtag for the event, let the audience know they can keep the conversation going and ask additional questions on social channels with the hashtag. This is a good way for follow-ups and questions to be addressed.
When all is said and done, the days of a speaker swooping in, making their speech and sneaking out the side door, having had no contact with their audience and no follow-up, are more or less over. Look for ways to maximize their value and you’ll get a return on your investment that will be felt for a long time to come.