I recently had to plan a large internal meeting, and I knew exactly what needed to be done to set this meeting apart—I needed to bring in a remarkable speaker. A whopping $20,000 later and my budget was blown for any other extras for the event.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these proven suggestions that will help you get the most out of your meeting or trade-show dollar and let you trade up to professional speakers you might have thought you couldn’t afford.

Speakers may reduce their fee: Many speakers will conduct multiple presentations for the same fee and will offer a discount to present multiple talks over several days in the same location. Therefore, you should ask: “After your keynote, could you conduct a breakout session?” “While you are here could you emcee one morning?” “Could you moderate a panel?” Speakers and trainers who travel across country will frequently charge considerably less for three consecutive days at one hotel, rather than three separate dates months apart.

The answer is “no” if you don’t ask: One real estate association planner asked her speaker, “After your luncheon speech, could you deliver a breakout seminar on your topic and go deeper?” That thrilled their speaker who wanted to prove to them that he had more to offer than the 45 minutes of ideas presented in his keynote speech.

It’s easier to get sponsors with top speakers: Trading up to a more seasoned or bigger-name speaker makes it easier for you to get sponsors. If you have ever told a top speaker, “We can’t afford your fee,” next time ask, “If we can find a sponsor to help pay for your presentation, would you be willing to have a book signing in their booth?”

At many conventions the sponsor has the opportunity to introduce the speaker and handle the Q&A. Ahead of time introduce your speakers to their sponsors, and encourage them to incorporate a couple of lines into their presentation that tie into their sponsor.

Continuity, during an event or from year to year, means your speakers are able to notice and volunteer to help your organization in special ways you may not have considered.

Get more bang for your buck: Many successful meeting planners are able to negotiate with their speakers for extras. Wise speakers figure that as long as they are there anyway and are being paid well, their time belongs to the client. Therefore, they are happy to take on extra tasks.

The next time you are planning a conference, consider the multiple ways to incorporate your speakers’ talents. In addition to what you are engaging them to do, it doesn’t hurt to ask if the speaker would be willing to do one of these:

  • Deliver one or two breakout sessions
  • Add a partner/guest program
  • Introduce other speakers
  • Emcee part of the event
  • Moderate a panel
  • Sign autographs
  • Coach company or association leaders on their presentations
  • Appear in the sponsor’s booth to make their sponsorship more of an investment

PCT returns to your inbox tomorrow with more great tips.

Source: Patricia Fripp is a National Speakers Association Hall of Fame keynote speaker, executive speech coach and sales presentation skills trainer. Meetings and Conventions magazine named her “One of the most electrifying speakers in North America.”