You’ve spent a long time researching the perfect speaker for your event: finding someone with the experience and expertise in your topic, watching videos to make sure their presentation style is compatible with your audience, and justifying the fee in your budget negotiations. After all this work, it seems a waste to hire them for just the keynote and a photo opportunity. Savvy meeting planners are asking speakers for additional activities before, during, and after the event to make sure their attendees get the full benefit of the speaker’s knowledge and enjoy a more memorable event.
Diane Goodman of the Goodman Speakers Bureau says clients, “Want to dig deeper. They don’t want just 45 minutes from a keynote, they want something more.” According to Goodman, this could take the form of an all-day leadership seminar or a follow-up webinar to discuss how to put the ideas from the keynote into practice. In some instances, a keynote can act as a catalyst for an organization, a way to introduce ideas to the audience and then have the speaker become a consultant as their business or work strategies are adopted.
Brian D. Palmer, president of the National Speakers Bureau, says, “It is becoming much more accepted to have a well-known speaker participate in a moderated Q&A.” A question-and-answer session can insure an audience gets its money’s worth, particularly if the keynote presentation is not customized for the event. Request some questions ahead of time, for example, at registration, so attendees feel they have access to the speaker’s expertise, and arrange the session for later in the day when people have had time to digest the initial presentation and can prepare to pose questions in person. In between sessions, host the speaker for lunch with a select few lucky attendees—another opportunity to make the most of him or her!
Tim Mathy of SpeakInc agrees that more is being demanded than just a talk. “People are taking advantage of the speaker more,” he says, “They ask them to write an article before the event, or agree to breakout sessions after the keynote.” Depending on the speaker, the advantages can go both ways. For example, the event can include a book signing with sales of the speaker’s book, and local press interviews can boost the profile of the event and the speaker. In most cases a speaker will be open to cross-promotional activities, including using his or her social media to reference an appearance at your event, adding links to your registration page on their website, and after the event, posting photos of themselves with your attendees. Clarify ahead of time the way in which you intend to use the speaker’s appearance after the event.
Bob Mitchell, a senior director at Keppler Speakers, says, “The most important thing to understand is that for the most part, the events our clients produce are not just about that production, but about the brand. The content provides the sheen on the brand after the event is over.” Repurposing that content, including the speaker’s contribution, in blog posts, video clips, and photos can burnish the reputation of the event holder and the keynote speaker—and remind everyone of your triumphant speaker selection until the next annual conference.