As a speaker, it’s helpful to know what the person hiring you to speak is most concerned about. You never know. You may have skills that can help them in problem solving, and that will go a long way when it comes to hiring and rehiring you. Always help make their job a little easier.

In a recent study conducted by Development Counsellors International, who polled over 200 North American meeting planners, over half of them are struggling with limited budgets and felt they were being overworked on top of it.

An article in Meetings and Conventions Magazine listed 25 ways meeting planners could cut their budgets. Two things on the list are of particular concern to speakers. The first one said to look within the organization for talent, offering them a free ticket to the conference in exchange.

This is something I’ve been hearing a lot lately from meeting planners, so it backs up what the article says. This is why it’s so important to have a portfolio of your own sponsors, so you can offer that to a meeting planner as an option when they don’t have the money in the budget. It’s possible they may find a good speaker from within to do it for free, but my guess is they would prefer to have a professional speaker with outside knowledge if they could.

The other thing on the list was to get more from your speakers by getting them to add a breakout session to their keynote fee. Another way speakers can add value is by helping to promote the event. This is something you should do anyway if you are working with a sponsor.

Here are other concerns from meeting planners:

“As an event and meeting planner with more than 25 years of professional experience, these are a few things that keep me up at night.

1) A speaker who manages to engage the attendees, but whose message provides no real teachable lessons — or the flip side — a speaker who  provides a plethora of good information, but goes too deep in the weeds and bores the attendees is a major consideration.

2) Attendees who pay a significant amount to attend a meeting or conference, but feel as though they didn’t get the value out of their investment is always a concern.

3) Equipment and tech failures with microphones, audio, etc., can keep one up at night. While you can test the equipment and conduct sound checks,it’s those phantom times when the PowerPoint and audio has a mind of its own and does not work properly.

4) Will the the meeting rooms be too cold or too hot? Will attendees be able to find their sessions? Will the meeting and seminars run on time? Will the speakers all show? There has been an occasion where there is a no-show.”

Greg Jenkins

PartnerBravo Productions


“My biggest concern: how to a leverage the event and how do I create an experience to get people excited to show up live.

 As far as an event, it’s never just the event. I have to consider if I live stream the live event, turn it into a podcast, transcribe it for blog post, turn into an article, pitch to media, create social media posts, and leverage every single second to justify the event cost. Some people just won’t attend a live event. I have many that will watch online so I have to make certain I’m on the platform and medium they desire and allow them to do so on their own time.

Experience. I definitely am more focused on creating unique events. How to I elevate the live event where people won’t want to miss it. Is it the mix of people in the room? Is it a special venue? Do attendees get something special? Is it going above and beyond to make people wowed?

Interesting example:

In 2011, I live streamed a four hour event via a rigged Go-To-Webinar trick. We had 100 in the audience, and we had 80 people show up from all over the country the entire time. After the event, I produced the video on our YouTube channel (with permission of all speakers). This one speaker, really used the video. She’s had almost 55k views on the video in five years. She still gets people that call her because of this event.

Aaron Norris,MBA, APR,CSPG

The Norris Group

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