A snapshot into the lives of the people who hire us
Sharing a Piece of the Pie
Most professional speakers want the inside
track on how meeting
and conference planners in specific industries select speakers for
their events. Linda Keith, CMP, vice
president of meetings and conferences
for Macfadden Protech, the parent company to Pizza Today™ Magazine in Louisville, Ky., and producer of Pizza Expo®
Tradeshows, dishes out the details on
hiring speakers in the pizza industry to
Ed Rigsbee, CSP.
to rent a booth. A few years ago, one
session speaker boldly promoted his
product, according to three or four
evaluation forms. I haven’t invited that
Does the Certified Speaking Professional
(CSP) designation hold special meaning
Yes, because I have earned my Certified
Meeting Professional (CMP) designation.
Ed Rigsbee: How long
have you been hiring
Linda Keith: About 38
combined years in the
tobacco, healthcare and
pizza industries. We
produce one to three shows annually.
Our big event, the International Pizza
Expo, attracts about 6,000 attendees.
How many CSPs did you hire for your last
International Pizza Expo?
CSP does not trump expertise; however, two of the
30 speakers were CSPs.
Keep it pure!
3. Be affordable. It would be helpful if
speakers posted their fees on their
How many speakers do you hire for the
International Pizza Expo?
I hire approximately 30 speakers to fill
about 50 seminars.
What role does the Inter-
net play in your search
for speakers? Do you do
online research to find
experts in a given field?
I rely on submitted proposals from
speakers rather than searching the
Internet for specific content speakers.
I use the Internet, however, to learn
about speakers who have mailed a proposal to me, made an email introduction, or contacted me by phone.
What do you typically pay a professional
speaker for a 90-minute session?
$3,000 to $4,000 per session. I try to
negotiate multiple presentations by
one speaker for a discount. Generally,
$7,000 for multiple presentations by
a single speaker is more attractive and
cost effective. Fewer speakers mean
fewer hotel rooms and airline tickets.
Do you work with speaker bureaus?
I used to, but I haven’t used a speaker
bureau in eight years.
Do you like receiving electronic newslet-
ters from speakers, or are they a pain?
I enjoy receiving speaker newsletters,
and try to read as many as time permits.
In selecting speakers, what percentage
of familiar speakers as compared to new
speakers do you choose?
The International Pizza Expo attracts
approximately 40 percent first-time
attendees annually, so I try to add one
or two new professional speakers into
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How do you feel about speakers selling
from the platform?
Keep it pure! Seminars should be educational, not promotional. Some exhibitors want to conduct educational seminars, but if I allow one, then I’d have
to allow them all. The same goes for
content experts, who should only share
their expertise. Otherwise, they need
How do you determine who to look at
I would advise speakers to:
1. Convince me that your seminar,
workshop or keynote is relevant to
the pizza industry.
2. Assure me that you will customize
your content for pizza restaurateurs.
Linda Keith, CMP, is the vice
president of meetings and
conferences at Macfadden
Protech, LLC, in Louisville,
Ky. She plans over 50 seminars, special events and trade shows for
International Pizza Expo® annually. For
more information, visit www.pizzaexpo.com.