Maximize Your Speaker Budget: Before, During & After the Meeting

by Liz Piacentini, CMP


Are you overlooking key opportunities to maximize your speaker budget?  Meeting professionals understand that selecting a professional speaker requires a keen understanding of the audience and program objectives.  However, when this task has specific budget limitations, planners need to maximize their return on investment AND avoid unexpected costs.  A speaker’s bureau can guide planners through the selection process and provide recommendations for increasing the event’s success.

Here are a few tips that add value to your event by maximizing the role of the Speaker you hire:



  • Articles – Drive attendance through your newsletter, website and social media by having the speaker submit a short article that builds excitement for the keynote.
  • Conference Calls – Speakers not only learn about your audience and objectives, they may offer recommendations on room layout or stage set-up to enhance interactive activities and content delivery.
  • Audiovisual Requirements – Request the speaker’s audio-visual requirements before contracting with them.  Remember, sound and A/V are not places to cut back on your budget. These services are critical to focusing the audience’s attention on the speaker’s content and delivering a professional-quality program.
  • Multiple Dates – Some speakers offer lower rates for multiple engagements, such as several regional meetings, contracted at the same time.
  • Recording Permission – Always obtain your speaker’s written approval in advance.  Depending on your intended use, fees may apply. Keynotes typically contain the intellectual property of the speaker and may have recording limitations.



  • Keynote AND Breakout – Consider having your speaker conduct a breakout session (or moderate a panel discussion) after the keynote.  With the speaker already on site, this is less expensive than bringing in another professional.
  • Meeting Activities – Invite the speaker to the welcome reception, lunch, VIP meet & greet, or golf with company executives.  Attendees often appreciate the extra attention.  Speakers learn more about an organization before a speech, increasing its relevancy and impact.
  • Enhance Learning – Increase retention and engagement by structuring 10-minutes of round table discussion and 10-minutes of wrap-up after a 45-50 minute keynote.
  • Tools & Take-aways – Speakers can bring handouts or books, if appropriate. Attendees gain something to review after the session, increasing content retention.  If the Speaker is an author, arrange a book sales and signing session after the keynote, or purchase books at bulk rates in advance.
  • Master of Ceremonies – Consider an after-dinner comedian (or professional speaker), who is also a skilled Emcee!   By combining their ability to build energy with an Emcee’s ability to enhance program continuity, you hire ONE entertaining individual to introduce executives, present awards, and deliver comedy.



  • Follow-up webinar – Provides an opportunity to engage those who were unable to attend, while offering additional value for those who did.
  • Postevent Conference Call – Some organizations may wish to continue the dialogue between the speaker and key executives.  Often an ideal option for organizations trying to implement strategic initiatives presented during the keynote.
  • Evaluations – Review your feedback!  The information guides next year’s speaker search and program development.


Professional speakers want to deliver their best and may even offer additional ideas.  Not all speakers can accommodate every option and may have a different fee structure based on what they’re asked to do.  Feeling overwhelmed?  Working with a speaker’s bureau offers a solution.  For no additional cost, a bureau provides appropriate speaker recommendations, conduct negotiations, and coordinate the logistics – helping you select the right speaker AND maximize your return.


Liz Piacentini, CMP, is Director of Sales & Marketing for the Goodman Speakers Bureau in Windsor, CT, which provides guidance and advice to meeting planners in selecting the very best professional speakers for their event –  She is also the Director of Leadership development for the Connecticut River Valley Chapter of Meeting Professionals International and has been the chapter’s Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) study group leader since 2006.  Reach her at



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