Finding Speakers And Experts
Other than the topics, the main attraction of every seminar is the speaker. Seminars are such big
business these days that sometimes, the personality of the speaker is the bigger draw. When so
much rides on who leads your seminar, it's important that you put some effort and research in
finding speakers and experts.
Unlike trainers, seminar speakers are not required to get certifications, unless they will be
dealing with a specialized subject matter. You'll want a speaker who has the background,
experience, reputation and expertise that will sell the seminar and help it succeed. Don't focus
too much on the fees the speaker is charging. Someone who charges a low rate does so for a
reason. The question here is: why? Often, in the seminar business, the quality of a speaker is
directly proportional to how much he charges. Not always but often. So do be careful.
Find Out About Your Speaker's Experience.
An experienced speaker is confident, capable of keeping the audience's attention and delivering a
terrific lecture. Do some research about your speaker like how long he has been speaking at
seminars, what types of seminars he has conducted in the past, what industry or subject areas he
focuses in and the degree of success he's had.
Where To Find Speakers And Experts For Your Seminar
Start with locally-based speakers. If you will be conducting your seminar in the same area, look
for speakers who live in the vicinity. The benefit here is two-fold; it's a lot easier to get in touch
with them personally and there is no need for you to pay more for travel expenses and
accommodations. That way you can keep the seminar rates low, attract more people and still earn
a good profit.
You might also want to go co-op. Check with your local convention bureau and seminar planners
if there are speakers who might be available on your preferred dates. It's common for speakers to
handle two or three seminars in the same area, usually with different topics.
If you wish to shop around, get in touch with a seminar agent or group that regularly conduct
seminars. Established clubs are reliable sources of good quality speakers and often act as
middlemen for locating and scheduling presenters. They also know which speakers are best for
the type of subjects you want to discuss.
If you need experts for the lecture or panel, ask clubs, professional associations and groups for
referrals. You could also search for professionals online. Many of these men and women are
often asked to speak at talks and seminars, so they should be familiar with what you have to
Most agents and groups have nationwide operations or at least have contacts with speakers who
may be working in your locality. They can also match you with the speaker who best fits your
requirements and your budget. They also take away the hassle of searching for speakers and
negotiating their fees, so there's no need for you to go through all that trouble.
If you want to do it on your own, place an ad in the newspaper detailing your speaker
requirements. You can then audition each applicant to see who has the best fit.
Negotiating Speaker Fees
Generally, you could save more if you book a speaker earlier. In the seminar industry, speaker
fees increase each year. By booking them early and then paying a deposit for their services
(usually 30% to 50%), you can 'lock in' the cheaper fee within that period.
Some speakers charge a standard fee for their services which only vary depending on the subject,
location and number of participants. You will also be paying more for experts, especially if they
will be using new material.
Although you'll want to get the best possible price for the speaker's services, there are certain
unwritten rules about negotiating with seminar presenters and experts. One of these is: never
negotiate to get the price down, even if your budget doesn't meet the asking price. What you
should do is to trade the asking fee with value.
For example, if the speaker has a product to promote, you could trade a portion of the fee by
allowing them to use your seminar as a venue to advertise and sell their products. If you agree to
have a speaker promote his products at your seminar, he might be willing to negotiate and offer a
great package deal. Also, with so many speakers and experts out there, finding one is really just a
matter of hard work. With a bit of effort, you should be able to hire one who matches your needs.