HR / Lifelong Learning / Project Management / Relationships / Speaking / Success / Training

Five Things HR Execs Should Know About Speakers for 2014

Human Resources and Training executives torn between getting top-notch speakers, facilitators, and trainers and spending top dollar can find a happy medium in the year ahead. There are several ways you can find great presentations with your budget. Here are five simple ways to cut costs without cutting corners.

1. PLAN FAR ENOUGH AHEAD. The advantage goes to the organization that puts a program on the calendar four to six months in advance and starts looking for speaker/trainer/facilitators 90 days out. Scheduling always gets tighter for presenters facing last minute opportunities. A smart presenter will negotiate a greater discount with a greater lead time to secure business. It is not unusual for a twenty percent discount to be applied when a twenty percent non-refundable deposit is made for a date 60 days or more in advance.

2. LOOK FOR NEW TALENT. There is plenty of new talent looking for opportunities and they will negotiate a very competitive price. Look for three things to increase your confidence in the speaker: referrals, videos, and “chemistry” when you call on the phone. Not everyone is going to be certified with ASTD or NSA; many are working toward accreditation and need the hours and engagements who are extremely talented. These diamonds need to be discovered before their fees go out of site.

3. SHOP LOCAL. Going to Orlando? Heading for Houston? Meeting in Montreal? Look at the regional presenters. The Internet makes this extremely easy. One great resource is a new service called GIG SALAD. This digital talent agency will help you find a speaker in most cities in the US with ease and simplicity. Look for it at

4. DOUBLE DOWN. Consider offering the speaker/facilitator more than one opportunity. For example, a speaker does a daylong program on more effective customer service and then delivers a 90 minute program on strategic planning to your board the next day. Use your calendar to get a “double down” rate that can save you hundreds of dollars in travel expenses and discounted fees. Almost every speaker/trainer will work with you to extend opportunities.

5. ON THE ROAD AGAIN. Presenters travel a lot. If you are flexible, you can save big dollars by asking a simple question: “When you are in town, would you be willing to add a day to an existing trip and come join us for a program?” Your HQ is in Boston and you really want that Florida speaker, but the travel pushes the fees beyond your budget. Negotiate a variable date and fee if the speaker can find additional work in Boston. This is done more frequently than one would imagine. Now the speaker has two or even three jobs, but only one airfare.

Douglas Arnold is a professional speaker, trainer and executive coach from Tampa Bay. He frequently speaks in Orlando, throughout Florida and the nation. His 2014 signature keynote, ‘LEADERSHIP IN THE AGE OF DISRUPTION’ debuted at the annual meeting of the Florida Parking Association in Ft. Lauderdale.