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February 26, 2019 in Motivational Speakers

The Problem with Booking “Free” Speakers for an Event

The Problem with Booking “Free” Speakers for an Event

As the founder of a small speaker’s bureau, I’m constantly reaching out to prospects. Occasionally, when reaching out to new potential clients, I come across an executive or meeting planner who proudly tells me that he or she hasn’t paid for a speaker in years. This kind of person will usually expect me to be impressed that they’ve managed to get keynote presentations for free. However, I suspect most of them aren’t getting as great a deal as they think they are.

How can organizations lose by bringing free speakers to their events? Let’s dig a little bit deeper into the details…

The Best Keynote Speakers Charge for Their Services

Let’s start with the obvious: someone who is a great keynote speaker will be charging clients money to speak. In all my years of booking personalities, it has been rare for me to come across a man or woman who consistently gave great presentations for free. And even when they did, it was because they had another goal in mind (more on this in a moment).

If you want your audience to be dialed in to what’s going on – and ultimately to get value from a presentation – you should expect to pay something in return.

No One Really Speaks for Free

While there are people who will speak for no money (or for a travel stipend), no one ever really speaks for free. Why would they? It’s hard enough to outline, practice, and deliver a 45 to 90 minute presentation. You wouldn’t go through all that time and effort unless you are expecting to be compensated somehow.

The reality is that most “free” keynote speakers accept invitations because they have something they want to sell to the audience. That’s fine if you want a presentation that comes across like a pitch for a timeshare, but it isn’t likely to be popular with your audience.

A Free Speaker Doesn’t Have Your Goals in Mind

This touches again on the point of a free speaker having their own agenda. When you hire a professional to come in and talk about their expertise, or the challenges you’re facing, they are performing a service for you. Conversely, when someone comes to speak to you for free, they may or may not care what you want the audience to hear.

The point to take away from this is that you want a presentation that lines up well with the goals and themes of your meeting. A free speaker doesn’t have any incentive to customize their speech for your needs.

You Can Get a Great Keynote Speaker without Breaking Your Budget

One of the reasons I started my own agency was to work with up-and-coming speakers who deliver game-changing presentations for reasonable fees. No matter what your budget for a keynote speaker might be, you can get someone to inspire your group, educate them about an important topic, and drive them to greater levels of success and productivity.

For specific keynote speaker recommendations for your event, contact The Aaron Agency today!

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