why book a professional speaker leanne spencer keynote - delivering keynote with back to camera facing a live audience sat at round tables

Why book a professional speaker for your event?

To the great delight of both companies and speakers, the last 12 months has seen the return of live, in-person events. I do know a few people who enjoyed virtual speaking, and believe there are many upsides. However, as a professional speaker myself, I can say most of us thrive best in a live environment, with a room full of people. 

Speaking is an energy exchange: I bring my best ideas to you through storytelling, with as much energy as needed to make the point. The speaker feeds off the audience’s emotions and responses, which are always different. For example, towards the end of my keynote, I tell a story. Some audiences will laugh at me, which is what I gently encourage them to do, whilst others might laugh sympathetically with me.

More than just a keynote

Occasionally, my company receives a call from an event organiser who has allocated a relatively small budget. We’ll present our fees, and if an agreement cannot be reached, we will respectfully decline the opportunity. Usually, a prospective client will appreciate that a lot of their budget will go on the speaker. But perhaps it hasn’t been explained well enough exactly why that should be. And it’s this that I want to talk to you about today.

When talking to prospective clients, I make it clear that in hiring me, they get more than just a keynote. I do not just arrive, do the keynote and then just leave. Instead, I become a part of their team for the day. Partnering with the events team, my goal is to deliver an amazing and memorable day for the audience – their people. That, in my opinion, is what you should expect of a speaker. They bring the energy to the day, perhaps starting with an icebreaker, but generally during their talk and with their presence in the room.

What makes a good professional speaker?

On several occasions I’ve helped clients to fill time whilst waiting on another speaker delayed in traffic. But a good speaker doesn’t just arrive early, they also acknowledge the business messages shared by the leadership team. Above all, they will deliver a world-class keynote that is not only entertaining, but inspires people to think differently about the topic, as well.

Imagine if 50% of your audience felt motivated to make a small change in thinking, attitude, or behaviour? The net effect of that on your business could be huge. 

Staying on after the keynote is a must for me. Allowing audience members to engage with you afterwards helps to reinforce its value. For many, it might be the first or only time they’ve been able to ask questions of an expert. Moreover, they might feel more comfortable confiding about a personal matter (this happens a lot). That is gold. 

Don’t underinvest

Going back to the fees, I believe companies should allocate most of the event budget to the speaker. You may argue that as a professional speaker myself, I’m biased, and that may be true. But here is why I think that:

Audiences will forgive low quality food and an average venue if the speaker has inspired and entertained them. They will not, however, rave about the stunning venue and food if they were compelled to sit through 45 minutes of irrelevant content delivered by an average speaker. Similarly, my advice is not to underinvest in the AV team either. You simply cannot appreciate an amazing keynote speaker if the people at the back can’t hear because of a crackly microphone (or no microphone at all). Both speaker and sound system are critical to a successful event. 

To illustrate my point, I’d like to share what a client recently said to me after we delivered an amazing first post-pandemic away day for his team. He said he’d “initially baulked” at the size of my fee, but that it was “worth every penny”. Not only did we create a huge amount of value for his team – they still talk about it to this day – but they also said how they appreciated the obvious investment he made in their wellbeing. 

Time is precious, and if you’re taking your team away from the business for a day, investing in a world-class professional speaker shows that you value theirs. Finally, it creates an opportunity to give something equally as valuable back to them: a chance to grow and learn.

Helpful Resources

In my latest book, Cadence, I break down each stage of burnout using stories and examples including tips to help you apply each principle of the simple and effective Cadence Approach™ to your life. Available to buy now on Amazon.

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