How has the Internet changed the
process of hiring speakers?
The Internet has made the process so
much faster. A meeting planner does
not have to wait for the speaker or the
bureau to mail a video, a DVD, or any
other marketing collateral. Videos and
brochures can be emailed to committee
members for immediate review.
edge, but also on my insider’s perspective about what is going on at that
moment with my organization and the
Why would you refuse to
hire a speaker again?
What I mentioned earlier, in addition
to speakers who only focus on making
the sale and don’t “wow” the audience.
While on the subject
of online videos, what
gives any speaker the
best opportunity to be
I only view videos containing a topic relevant
to my meeting, and
then I hone in on the
• How well does the
speaker connect with
• Is it a canned speech delivered
beautifully, or is the speaker live
in the moment with the audience?
I prefer “live” speakers because I
trust they can better adjust if there
is a problem.
• Shorter clips (five to eight minutes)
are preferable, especially when I have
to review several speakers.
• Higher quality videos tell me a
speaker has been around long enough
to spend the time and money on a
professional production. Low quality
might indicate a speaker is new to the
circuit or has had small venues.
What can professional speakers, or
their staff, do to help a planner get the
convention committee’s approval for a
Speakers need to add value, look at
ations, and offer
other benefits or
goodies for attend-
ees, such as their
book, DVD or CD
products at greatly
when the sponsoring
organization buys for
to add value,
look at financial
and offer other
benefits or goodies
What speaker fee levels are getting
the most action today?
Corporations and associations are
looking hard for better value. Now is
the time for speakers in the $5,000 to
$15,000 range to shine and grab the
In this difficult economic time, should
professional speakers lower their fees?
No, speakers just need to add value
that will help planners stretch their
meeting dollars, such as a flat-rate
travel fee, two presentations for the
price of one; multi-event or multi-year
deals; or a complimentary Webinar.
How important are DVDs and printed
Not as important as in the past. So
much gets lost or thrown away. Most
planners are happy to print speakers’
brochures from the Internet and distribute them to conference committee
In fall 2003, meeting
Jane Esparza started Esparza
Speakers, LLC, in Arlington,
Va. She has 25 years of
Why would you hire a speaker for
From a planner’s perspective, be a
team player and make me a hero for
experience booking speakers for events, and
now uses that expertise to sell speakers. For
more information, contact her at jane@
esparzaspeakers.com or visit http://www.
When you’ve narrowed your list to two
speakers, what’s the deciding factor?
I have a “sixth sense” about selecting
the right speaker for the event. This is
based not only on a speaker’s knowl-
What do speakers do that
drives you crazy?
It irritates me when speakers don’t
customize their presentations for the
group, or when they show up 15 minutes before their presentation and want
to change the whole room.
Ed Rigsbee, CSP, is an
expert and author on
strategic alliance development and implementation.
He also is the founder and executive
director of the Cigar PEG, a 501 (c)( 3)
non-profit public charity. For more
information, visit www.rigsbee.com or