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how much should you pay for a motivational speaker 

Planning a fantastic retreat, conference or company event involves careful attention to elements ranging from the budget to the quality of seats to what food is served.

Of course, the purpose of the affair is to deliver high-quality content that has a long-term impact on the attendees and to meet this goal you will need to book the right presenter for the occasion. With motivational speaker rates ranging from a few hundred dollars up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, nailing down the details is key.


Before you start the talent search, follow the tips below to create a compensation plan that works for everyone.


Compare the Budget to Your Itinerary


All event planning begins with a budget in mind. Hard costs like venue, food and equipment are relatively easy to work with and predict. In contrast, paying for a speaker’s time, energy and unique abilities can be more abstract and variable.


To determine what influences the budget you create for a speaker, look at the event details and consider the following:


  • Location: If the function takes place in an urban setting where a lot of talent can be found, travel may not be an issue. On the other hand, travel expenses will be a reality for rural locations, or areas lacking an abundance of professional speakers.

  • Lodging: Where will your speaker stay? If the leadership team is meeting in a remote location, the only rooms available will be at the resort. However, less expensive accommodations can often be found for events that are closer to a town or city.

  • Meals: Everyone needs to eat but depending on the situation, meals may not be easily accessible. Decide now where your speaker can get their meals and if it makes sense for them to be fully or partially included in the budget.

  • Itinerary: Note the number of days you will need to have a speaker present their material and when they should arrive and depart. Additionally, does the schedule call for stage events only, or are there breakout sessions in-between or after the speech?

  • Content: Though you need to be aware of what the speech will be about, when it comes to budgets, decide on how long the speaker will be on stage. Regardless of the subject matter, the length of their speech is what will affect the cost.

  • Attendance: For some logistics, preparing for a large group is not much different than getting ready for an intimate crowd. However, this not the case with speaking engagements, so be clear about how many people are expected to be in attendance.


These are a few of the major factors that will help determine what your speaker will need, what will be expected of them and what costs will be associated with each one.

Begin Looking for Your Speaker


With the budget completed, it is time to begin looking for the ideal presenter for your event. There are many professionals on the market, so sifting through each of them can take a lot of time and energy.


You can narrow this search by having clearly defined outcomes for the engagement, and established topics you want the speaker to focus on. If team building is of interest, then look for an individual whose scope of work supports that subject. Similarly, for a group concentrated on networking, find speakers who have experience and material that facilitates that process.


Being clear and transparent about the type of content and outcomes you envision is a foolproof method to point you towards the pool of talent that can serve your purpose.


Conduct Fair and Respectful Negotiations


Once you find a speaker that meets your criteria, you can initiate the conversation of fees and compensations. With your budget and list of requirements in hand, you and the speaker can look over one another’s proposed expenses and work towards a contract.


On both sides of the partnership, these are some helpful ideas and tips to keep in mind:


  • Repeat business matters: If you both feel confident about working together, consider future events you may need to book talent for. A speaker might offer discounted rates if you book them in advance for upcoming functions.

  • Travel stipends or reimbursements: Many professionals prefer to have their additional expenses taken care of in advance. Whether calculating a fixed amount to be managed by the speaker or having expenses covered directly by you, set the terms now.

  • Books or other promotional materials: Some speakers have products they are looking to sell at the events they are booked at. If this is the case, discuss how this would fit into your schedule and ways in which it should be arranged.

  • Help build their portfolio: Though it may not affect the speaking fee, it is thoughtful to let the speaker know you will share video and photographs of them from the event. Helping the individual add quality material to their portfolio is a great way to start the relationship.

  • You get what you pay for: Some factors can be negotiated but remember that you get what you pay for. With reports showing that approximately 70% of employees feel disconnected and detached from their work, you want a speaker who can lift spirits and renew energies.


Ultimately, you want to enter all negotiations and discussions with respect and fairness to ensure everyone feels eager to produce an incredible event.


The Bottom Line

Though no function is identical, there are reliable measures that can be applied to all events making planning less complicated. When arranging the details for the next seminar or conference, simplify life and keep these helpful tips nearby.


Whether you need guidelines for itinerary development or reminders on factoring costs for your motivational speaker, the help you need is never far away.




Pandit Dasa is a mindful leadership expert, motivational keynote speaker and author who has spoken at Fortune 500 companies and helps organizations improve employee engagement, retention and workplace happiness. He helps individuals develop positive leadership qualities, lower stress and anxiety, increase focus and productivity and boost emotional intelligence.


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