Top tips for meeting planners on working with speakers

Finding speakers for conferences and events can be an arduous task. Are we selecting the right speaker? Is what the speaker charges a fair fee? How do we know if the speaker can deliver the right message for our audience? Is the speaker the right, strategic partner for our conference?

The tips outlined here offer a high-level overview of the questions event and meeting planners need to ask of speakers as part of the hiring process. We also outline the top tips for speakers to discuss with planners, making you – the meeting planner – aware of the challenges faced by speakers.

The tips here are based on the workshop “Building Relationships: Planners and Speakers,” presented by The James Bond of Speaking, Kenyon Salo, and Al Wynant, Co-Founder and CEO of Eventinterface at EventTechHub. You can view the complete workshop for free by signing up here.

For Meeting and Event Planners: Top 3 questions to ask of your prospect speakers.

1. What is the overall investment I will need to make?

  • What is the speaker’s fee, and what other expenses will need to be covered? Travel, hotel, deposits?
  • Does the experience of the speaker commensurate with the fee the speaker charges?
  • Does the speaker have experience presenting to your audience type, and with the topic?
  • Is their fee competitive in the market?

2. What is the level of experience of the speaker with being a speaker, and subject matter?

  • Is the speaker a member of a professional speaker association, and is he/she a member of any organization or association related to the topic being presented?
  • Is the speaker someone who is recognized in the industry as an expert on the topic, or is he/she
  • more of a generalist?
  • Does the speaker adapt the presentation to your audience, or is the talk a canned presentation that is frequently repeated?
  • What will be the impact of the speaker on your audience? Can the speaker share outcomes from other talks? Can you talk to previous planners who have hired the speaker? 

3. Is the speaker going to be a great partner, a strategic partner to work with?

  • Is the speaker someone who is easy to work with?
  • Does the speaker conduct research into your audience, organization, and topic to be discussed to personalize the presentation?
  • Will the speaker attract an audience, registrations? Will he/she support your marketing efforts?
  • Will the speaker be amiable to engage with your attendees pre-, during, and post-event?
  • Is the speaker willing to employ up-to-date presentation and engagement tools?

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For Speakers: Top 3 questions to ask of the planner seeking to hire you.

1. What is the event goal and who will be in the audience?

  • What is the goal of the event? The desired outcomes?
  • Who will be attending the event? What is their knowledge of the topic to be discussed? What is their age? Audience demographics?

2. How will you get your message across?

  • What will be the environment you are speaking in? Stage set-up, lighting, presentation technologies to be used? How is the room set-up, how large will my audience be? How will materials be distributed – electronically or on paper? Is there Wi-Fi access?
  • Will speakers have access to engagement tools pre-event to communicate with attendees and help shape the presentations? Same for during and post-event engagement?
  • Where will the presentation fit into the program? If hired as a keynote speaker, insure you are the very last session on the agenda.
  • Will you have access to the room prior to your session to test ALL equipment and familiarize yourself with the room?

3. Post-event feedback?

  • Will the planner share feedback with you post event? 
  • Will there be opportunities to continue engagement with the audience post-event?
  • As a speaker, will you share your feedback with the planner?


EventTechHub offers this series of educational workshops. Each virtual session will address a topic meeting planners and their vendors deal with when planning and executing conferences and events. During each workshop we will hear advice from both sides of the aisle, resulting in a better understanding of our opportunities and challenges working together. Interested in learning about future workshops? Sign up for our newsletter here.

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