Setting Fees for Speakers

Nick Gold 29 April 2014

We have started this blog to get some interesting insights from speakers and discussions with our clients and community, so that readers can gain a better understanding of our speakers but also so that we, at Speakers Corner, can keep learning and improve our service to clients.

Many of the blog postings will come from speakers to give a deeper understanding of their subjects, thoughts and content but also from the team at Speakers Corner who will be writing and engaging in their thoughts about the industry and how it can be improved.  Please do engage with us by leaving comments, and we will always reply. The conversation will leave both sides with a better understanding of what we do and of how we can do our work better and assist you in securing the perfect speaker for your event.

In my inaugural post, I have decided to avoid sensitive subject matters and I am easing myself in slowly to the wonderful world of blogging. Here goes, fees…how much should a speaker charge? How much should a client pay? These questions are often where discussions start and end in the office.

When we are in conversation with a new speaker, the topic invariably turns to what fee they should be charging.  Speakers Corner does not set speakers fees, it is completely up to the individual speaker. We offer advice based on our experience of the marketplace and our feelings towards it.

The marketplace drives the fees that a speaker can charge, based on a number of factors such as credibility, sector, content, experience and profile.  But there is another factor that is often over- looked, which is whether the speaker considers their speaking as a ‘strand’ of the career or just a side-line to their primary job.  This will drive whether they want to receive numerous enquiries and pick and choose which engagements they accept or whether they want to minimise the enquiry levels and accept whatever comes.  This will drive their fee as, the bottom line is the higher they set their fee, the lower the number of enquiries they will receive.

We would love to be in a position whereby the last conversation we have with a client is budget and our focus of discussion is what they are looking for the speaker to deliver in terms of content and what the conference is looking to deliver to both the delegates and to the organisers.  But, while we may be getting there slowly, (and we are working hard at Speakers Corner to influence this), budgets are still a vital component of focussing on the right speaker for an event.  This is a subject matter I will definitely return to in a future post as I feel this is critical to the value of using a speaker bureau and its role and purpose.

Once a speaker has made the decision about whether they would like to receive many enquiries or fewer high value enquiries, we discuss comparable speakers in the marketplace and value.  This is always an interesting conversation with a high degree of sensitivity.

Profile and ‘celebrity’ status whether driven by media profile or sporting success is a massive influence on fee but can be the biggest red herring in terms of real value of a speaker.  If someone has achieved something amazing then their fee invariably reflects this as there is tremendous feelgood and motivational factor to having an inspirational person simply appear at a conference.  But if they can’t deliver real value and content on stage, then ultimately the delegates will gain short term value but no long term sustained impact and the organiser and budget holder will feel short changed.  If the speaker is happy to maximise their returns off the back of their achievement, this is not a problem but if they are looking to turn their speaking into a career, then this long term impact needs to be considered when setting fees.

I hope I have explained why speakers have different fee bands.  There are still many more considerations and I intend to write my next piece on the client perspective of speaker fees and budgets.

It would be great to get your feedback. Was this post of interest to you? Please do let me know your thoughts and if there are subjects or specific areas you would like me to discuss.

Thanks for reading!

Speakers Corner Newsletter

* indicates required

Have an enquiry?

Send us a message online and we'll respond within the hour during business hours. Alternatively, please call us our friendly team of experts on +44 (0) 20 7607 7070.

Speakers Corner (London) Ltd,
Ground and Lower Ground Floor,
5-6 Mallow Street,