Motivational speakers are typically the top and tail of your conference, convention or event. They present a motivational keynote speech that sets the tone at the beginning of your event or a motivational keynote speech that leaves your delegates on a high before they leave your event.
What is a motivational speaker?
The term is a bit of a misnomer. It’s a catch-all phrase for a subject matter expert shares his or her content to an audience; normally in the form of a 45 – 1-hour keynote address. Motivational speakers are also known as:
- Business speakers
- Conference speakers
- Keynote speakers
- Inspirational speakers
- Professional speakers
Most professional speakers do not only deliver keynote addresses at conferences. They are typically subject matter experts who deliver information of value to their niche market in various forms, including:
- Keynote speeches
- Training sessions
- Online training
- Membership sites
- Distance learning
- Skype training
- Products: DVDs, CDs, MP3/4s, books
Why hire motivational speakers for your event?
Motivational speakers add that extra pizzaz to any event. Before hiring a speaker, make sure that you know what the objective is that you’re trying to achieve:
- To teach specific subject matter
- To entertain
- To motivate and inspire
Conference speakers help spice an event up. Often a conference has a lot of information being imparted by the role players in that organisation. This could lead to an overload of information. A motivational speaker can break up the monotony and add something extra to the proceedings.
How do you hire motivational speakers?
Be sure what your goal is for your event before looking for a conference speaker. There are 4 ways to go about finding a right-fit speaker for your event:
- Contact your contemporaries in your industry and find out who they have used for their events. If they can recommend a conference speaker, then that gives you some kind of peace of mind that you’ll hire the ‘real deal’.
- Search the Internet. There are two challenges associated with this. One, it’s time-consuming …- You have to search
– You have to find out if the speaker is available
– You have to find out if the speaker will work for the fee you offer
– You have to interview the short-listed speakersAnd, two, unless you’ve seen the speaker in action or have a solid recommendation, you never quite know what you’re getting. Most professional speakers have well-designed marketing websites and marketing collateral. So, you could be won over by the presentation. If you have never seen the speaker in action, try and source a video clip of them in action.
- Use a professional speakers bureau. Credible bureaus have seen all of their speakers in action. They also know which speaker will work for which audience or industry. They know the price range of the speaker so they can cut out the wasted time it takes to find the right-priced speaker. They handle the contracts, the bookings, the payments and sometimes the travel arrangements as well. They protect both the organisation and the speaker. The one disadvantage is that being human, speakers agencies have their favourites. So, they might recommend someone who isn’t 100% right for your event. And, of course, they might recommend someone who will bring them in more commission because they charge a higher fee. But, if the fee has been set upfront, that shouldn’t be an issue. By the way, most speakers agents take 20% commission from the speaker’s fee. So, if the fee is 20 000, the agent will take home 4 000 and the speaker will get 16 000. Unethical speakers agents will add a fee onto the speaker’s full fee, disadvantaging both the client and the speaker. An unethical speakers bureau will add the 20% fee on (and, it has not been unheard of that the fee to the client has been doubled). So, in the case of a 20 000 fee, the client gets billed 24 000. The speaker still gets 16 000 but the speakers agency walks away with 8 000. Fortunately, this is more the exception than the norm.
- Use a professional conference organiser (PCO). For the bigger events, it’s probably advisable to have an outside resource running the whole thing. PCOs also have a database of speakers who they turn to and in many instances they have relationships to speakers bureaus and will be able to source excellent speakers. It works the same for PCOs. They get 20% of the speaker’s fee if they’ve negotiated. Sometimes they only charge the client a management fee and either pass the 20% discount onto the client or let the speaker speak at full fee. If they’re in a relationship with speakers bureau, the PCO will agree a commission with the speakers bureau. It could be anywhere from 20% to 50% of the agencies commission. But, whatever the financial arrangement, it shouldn’t affect the client or the speaker adversely.
What fees do motivational speakers charge?
Fees vary. Former President of the USA, Bill Clinton charges between $250,000 and $500,000 per engagement. He once earned $750,000 for a single speech in Hong Kong in 2011. You can bet that former President of the USA, Barrack Obama is raking in similar fees.
But for us mere mortals in South Africa (ZAR):
- A top-end speaker will charge between R20 000 – R45 000 for a 1-hour keynote address. Some celebrities charge as much as R100 000 per keynote
- A mid-range speaker will charge between R15 000 – R20 000
- A fledgeling speaker can charge from R5 000 – R15 000
Accommodation and travel is excluded from the speaker’s fee and is for the client’s account.
Note that the speaker’s fee is not an indicator of how good he or she is.
The main trick to hiring a right-fit motivational speaker is to know what you’re trying to achieve with that speaker and then to give a proper briefing.
Which motivational speakers Does Jacques de Villiers know?
These are some I’ve seen in action, made friends with and broken bread with. Some of them are on this website.
- Stef du Plessis (Certified Speaking Professional)
- Paul du Toit (Certified Speaking Professional)
- Billy Selekane (Certified Speaking Professional)
- Gavin Sharples (Southern Africa Speaking Hall of Fame)
- Douglas Kruger (Southern Africa Speaking Hall of Fame)
- Richard Mulvey
- Nikki Bush
- Steph Vermeulen
- Charlotte Kemp/Mulvey
- Andrew Butters
- Andrew Horton
- Al Prodgers
- Dawn Klatzko
- Sharon King (Certified Speaking Professional)
- Joni Peddie
- Jurgen Tietz
- Carl Schultz
- Adolph Kaestner (Distinguished Toastmaster)
- Richard Riche (Distinguished Toastmaster)
- Erich Viedge (Distinguished Toastmaster)
- Erik Vermeulen
- Michael Jackson (Southern Africa Speakers Hall of Fame)
- Colleen Qvist
- Colin Heaney
- Clive Price
- Pierre du Plessis
- Trevor Ketler
- Mavis Ureke
- Adele du Rand
- Martin Brown