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  • Writer's pictureJeff Harry

Advice From An Event Producer On How To Get Hired As A Paid Speaker

Updated: Apr 9



I recently spoke with Stephanie Scheller, founder and chief event producer for Grow Disrupt, who shared some amazing advice on how to get hired as a paid speaker from an Event Producer perspective. Stephanie also wrote this article: How to Get Booked as a (Paid) Speaker, which you can find on her website.


  • Treat this like a job interview...as a booker, I'm looking at the little things to help figure out if you're going to be the speaker that I regret hiring because, unfortunately, once I pull the trigger if I missed something...I can't always un-pull the trigger...so sometimes people get moved off my radar for something that might look REALLY silly...because I get one chance to figure out if this is going to be the speaker that is going to drive me crazy OR get on stage and possibly pull down the entire event...

    1. Show up on time to your call with the producer.

    2. Be professional (My least favorite call ever was the guy who turned on his Zoom, in his car and had me looking up his nose the entire time while explaining to me that he was driving to a really cool speaking engagement for this fantastic group right now, which is why he had me on in the car...it did not give the impression I think he was aiming for)

    3. Don't gatekeep your content... inexperienced speakers think their content is the only reason they are getting booked. Exceptional speakers know that I'm booking the SPEAKER...who happens also to have content that makes sense for my event. If I, a non-expert, can present your content better than you can, bluntly speaking, I'm not going to pay for that. Speakers who worry about this automatically tell me that they don't have the presentation skills; otherwise, they recognize the importance of them over pure content. 

    4. Be mindful of time - not a hard and fast rule because there are always exceptions.... if we get distracted talking about non-relevant stuff, I'm usually watching. If they can't manage their time during the interview, I'm wondering if they can manage their time onstage.

    5. Be specific - when speakers tell me that they can talk about anything, all I hear is, "I'm a jack of all trades and a master of none," - which might work for some events but not mine...so that might be specific to me. 

  • Payment Varies

    1. Corporate can typically pay more than a small conference - if you want to get into the really big bucks in speaking, you're going to need to look at getting a few things going for you:

      1. Have some kind of claim to fame that gives you recognizability and makes you WORTH a large portion of their speaker budget

      2. Get in with the corporate gigs and the larger organizations, etc

      3. Put in some reps - yes...some low or no-paying gigs

      4. Get a good speaker reel! There are a LOT of speakers...it's hard if I can't see you onstage before I risk putting you on MY stage in front of my audience who is trusting me! 

  • Pricing $$ - $$$:

New speaker that I'm going to have to work with extensively to help design their content & provide a lot of guidance on delivery OR pay for them to work with my speaking coach so that they can hold their own on a stage filled with professionals

Little to no speaking assets that I can use to promote them

$$$ - $$$$:

Slightly more experienced speaker, has a solid idea of their own content but might need help refining either content or delivery...possibly both, but not an insane amount on both

May have a few speaker assets (flier, good photography, talk descriptions, great bio, some speaking footage, solid online presence)


$$$$ - $$$$$:

Experienced speaker. Knows their content. Has a good grasp on the power of performance as well as great content. 

Definitely has some speaker assets - maybe not the greatest, but they've got speaking footage, talk descriptions, bios, and some decent photography

$$$$$ - $$$$$$:

Experienced speaker with most of the speaking assets I could possibly want to promote them to my audience + charisma/dynamo that draws people in to want to learn more

Probably has some claim to fame that will matter to my audience


Big Money:

Experienced speaker with all the speaking assets I could want

Some substantial claim to fame that is going to matter to my audience OR butt-seat power (i.e. people hear they are speaking and go "Great....how do I get a ticket?" not "how much?")


$20k+: 

Experienced speaker with all the speaking assets I could want

Has a substantial claim to fame that is going to matter to my audience 

AND has butt-seat power! I can sell tickets based on their name alone. 

Note: I've paid this only a handful of times in my almost decade of event production


Be open to negotiations - I've regularly adjusted my rate based on the non-cash value items that have been offered, like videography, photography, producer longevity (I.e. I can trust that it will be a good event) knowing that a good audience will produce other sales down the road, and one speaking gig can spark multiple because you never know who's in the audience. Best way to say that? "My range falls in X to Z, but I'm open to negotiations if you have in-kind value to discuss" have in-kind value to discuss."


New speaker that I'm going to have to work with extensively to help design their content & provide a lot of guidance on delivery OR pay for them to work with my speaking coach so that they can hold their own on a stage filled with professionals

  • Little to no speaking assets that I can use to promote them



Speaking fees vary widely based on industry, event format, and more, but here is a basic breakdown of industry average ranges based on our experience:

  • $2,500–$5,000 — Brand new speakers with no or very little speaking experience

  • $5,000–$10,000 — Newer speakers and speakers in the education industry

  • $10,000–$20,000 — Experienced corporate speakers

  • $20,000–$50,000 — Bestselling authors, professional athletes, and B-list celebrities

  • $50,000+ — Celebrities, high-ranking politicians, sports superstars

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