How Much Does A Motivational Virtual Keynote Speaker Cost?
This is a question that we have been advising on since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.
It is not only companies and clients asking this question. Speakers are also asking the question as we have all entered into a new world of virtual service delivery. What we have is inexperience and no established cost model in place for virtual speaking. This part of the speaking circuit remains ambiguous in terms of pricing.
After six months of the pandemic and speaker requests both from globally recognized companies and virtual conference organisers, we do observe that unacceptably low offers are being put across for experienced speakers. ‘Don’t pay for a Mini and expect a Rolls Royce!’
In this article, we provide helpful advice on guest speakers and their fees for virtual keynote delivery.
Don’t Assume A Virtual Keynote Speaker Cost Is Less Expensive
Speakers have traditionally factored in travel time to and from conferences.
Consider if a conference location is remote or without nearby airports and regular flights. Unless the speaker is local to the venue their commitment or time away can be two or even three days of travel. This means lost time and for highly in-demand speakers, other bookings can’t be accepted due to travel time.
Just because the talk is online, which means no travel time is needed by the speaker doesn’t always mean the speaker will charge less for their keynote delivery.
Another point of view is that travel time is irrelevant to the speaker’s fee. The speaker is paid to deliver a keynote on a topic in a location. How they get to the venue and however long it takes is unrelated to the guest speaking fee.
Some of our speakers have queried reducing fees for virtual or even pre-recorded inspirational speaking. The valid point that they made is that: ‘ film stars and musicians don’t discount their fees when recording movies or music videos, so why should a speaker.’ Speakers are also performers after all!
The speaker still has to invest the same time and energy in preparing their keynote content and presentation. A briefing call and now added is a check on the speaker’s home audiovisual set-up are mandatory requirements in the virtual setup.
Some speakers report that they are still collecting 100% of their normal speaking fees for virtual talks. This is likely to occur when the speaker has been previously booked by the company with success. Speakers are reminded that agents work in a more competitive landscape than speakers themselves. Agents make recommendations and work to the available budgets. Agents have a wide array of speakers to choose from which is to the client’s advantage.
Our Position on Virtual Keynote Speaker Cost
We advocate finding a balance for virtual speaking costs that sits well with everyone. In this case, it is the clients booking them and the speakers themselves.
A good agent provides strong advice and the ability to generate the best value in selection of the speaker to meet the clients requirement.
(Reaching agreement on keynote speakers costs)
Virtual Speaking – Key Factors
Virtual talks require no travel time
Not all speakers are good or experienced delivering talks to a camera with no audience for feedback
Preparation time for a virtual keynote delivery is significant which includes testing the speaker’s AV and video conferencing set up
Speakers should not be expected to suddenly give talks for free or for a fraction of their standard speaking fee
Virtual talks are normally shorter to keep the user’s attention (20 – 45 minutes we advise)
Virtual talks can be turned into a mini-series focusing one or multiple speakers on bite-sized topics from leadership, sales, coping with Coronavirus etc.
Innovation eg. we can have copies of the speaker’s books signed and sent to coincide with the virtual session
The more well known the speaker, the less likely a discount will be made for a virtual live or recorded session. This also applies to the traditional speaking model
Access to a far greater range of speakers for virtual keynote delivery over the traditional model with travel
Virtual Keynote Speaker Cost: Conclusion
Virtual speaking services should be less expensive. But by how much is based upon an individual basis and the speaker’s status.
We don’t think any speaker should be devaluing their professional speaking fee by more than 25 to 50 percent of their in-person on stage fee. But we do feel that in most cases clients agree that a 25 to 50 percent reduction in standard speaking fees is acceptable. This won’t apply to all speakers as there will be those at the top who clients will need to pay their full speaking fees to secure their services.
We have a responsibility to professional speakers to help not have speakers income reduced further. We have already seen great loss with the temporary shut down of conferences worldwide.
“Our belief is that speakers can and will play a very important role in bringing positivity and learning to companies during and post Coronavirus.”
There should be a higher volume market for virtual keynote delivery as companies familiarise themselves with video conferencing solutions. This is positive for those speakers who’ve made the leap successfully to speaking online.
Importantly, virtual keynote speaker delivery is easy to set up, test and when prepared well is surprisingly good. It is also far less expensive than running a traditional conference gathering which involves expense for venue hire, set production, event management, branding, travel, and downtime by employees who attend. We believe as people become familiar with the video conferencing platforms that these will evolve faster and be far more widely used.
We have collated the information we have, which includes client feedback and our own assessment of how well the internet-delivered video conference worked. We’ve also kept a close eye on how the session was prepared and the speaker’s participation to help this process.
We’ve considered speakers from not just in Europe but other regions who we work with and listed our top 20 virtual keynote speakers who we recommend and are doing this well.
Our Top 20 virtual keynote speakers list is far from conclusive and these names will change as more and more strong speakers become familiar with the required set-up. The majority of speakers should be able to deliver high-quality professional virtual keynote speaking from remote locations to hundreds of users online. Our role is to help this process along.
Organizations have the capability to deliver many more virtual amazing keynote speaker sessions to their audiences than they would have done before pre-Coronavirus. In the longer term, we look forward to traditional conferences returning but also combining into an evolved new world with multiple web-based virtual keynote speaker events.
Example: Sir Clive Woodward – Live Q&A, June 2020 (in the midst of lockdown)
The virtual keynote speaker solution we recommend involves short sharp keynote delivery or targeted Q&A delivered by a known and proven expert in a field. With relevance to the business unit.
For example, whilst writing this post, we had Sir Clive Woodward the former coach of the winning 2003 England Rugby World Cup tested and prepared earlier in the day for a live session on leadership that went live to a technology client later that day.
Clive is a renowned expert in leadership, change management, and high performance. He started his business @hivelearning in 2012 to harness the power of mobile phone technology to deliver continuous high-performance leadership programs.
As Clive does a lot of television rugby commentary speaking to a camera, as opposed to an audience comes naturally to him.
There are well known international speaking circuit speakers who are not comfortable speaking for a prolonged period of time talking into a camera without feedback or audience interaction.
‘There are many well-known speakers who don’t like and are unwilling to do virtual keynote speaker delivery. So it’s worth asking this question early in the discussion’
For most established speakers speaking without an audience, interaction is a new skill. This provides speakers with a fresh challenge but one they can adapt to with a little effort.
There are also many innovative ways in which video conferencing can be used. Yesterday we watched this fascinating virtual collaboration via Zoom between leading sales speaker Frank Furness and Grammy-nominated Freddie Ravel of Earth, Wind & Fire, Santana, and more. How does music influence people’s lives? Frank was in his studio in London and Freddie on his keyboard in his in L.A. It was a very good live production with strong audience engagement.
Tips On How To Upskill As A Virtual Keynote Speaker
For speakers who lack the skills and confidence to deliver virtual keynote speaking sessions here are some helpful points that will lead to a better output:
Work with a strong moderator in advance to build a good rapport
Upgrade the home office to have a studio look with strong AV
Have a briefing call and test run on the video con platform in advance
Take questions via the moderator at the end of the virtual talk
Do as many virtual keynote deliveries as possible for practice
With the client’s permission aim to have a few sessions recorded to demonstrate capability and content to share with potential clients
Our Top 20 Available Virtual Keynote Speakers – International & Evolving Quickly
1. Duncan Wardle (U.S): ‘Innovating in Crisis’
Duncan Wardle spent his 25 years career at Disney developing some of their most innovative ideas and strategies. Ideas that would forever change the way the company expands its impact, trains its employees and solves problems creatively.
“Duncan’s workshop sparked our creative minds and gave us tools that will pay dividends for years to come. My team was thoroughly captivated, fully engaged, energized and inspired. Look no further than Duncan for one of the best investments you will ever make in your business.” Orlando Magic
2. Robert Muggah (Brazil): Latin American specialist in smart cities, security, migration, and new technologies
Robert is at the leading edge of debates on the future of cities, disruptive technologies, digital and real threats, and the future of liberal democracy. His experience covers over 20 years’ working on the frontlines of many world conflict zones and criminal hotspots. Using exciting data and visual tools, he addresses corporate, public sector, non-profit, and academic audiences worldwide on global challenges and solutions.
Former Formula One driver turned gold para-Olympian, turned 2018 Ironman World Record Holder. Alex’s life-changing story from near-death and losing both legs leading an Indy Car race to what he decided to do next is incredible and extremely inspirational.
“As you approach the finish line, you go through a tunnel of people, all of them cheering and encouraging you. Then I heard the speaker say, ‘Alessandro Zanardi, you are an Ironman!’ It was something phenomenal, something amazing. … I got very emotional at that point. Normally I don’t let things like that get to me, but yesterday I was in tears. It was truly amazing.” Alex Zanardi
4. Nando Parrado (Uruguay): ‘Alive – Miracle in the Andes’
Nando Parrado tells one of the greatest ever stories of hardship and heroism. When the plane with his school rugby team and mother and sister crashed in the High Andes in temperatures of -30°. Resorting to the only option of cannibalism for food, only 16 of the original 45 survived the 72 days it lasted.
“Nando Parrado is the best speaker that I have seen in all my corporate life…and what a charming, candid and respectable person. Through all my years in the business world, I have seen and listened to many speakers. There have been average speakers, good speakers, excellent speakers, but EXCEPTIONAL speakers only one. Nando Parrado ranks above them all.'”Yahoo!
5. Ricardo Diniz (Portugal): ‘It’s All About The People”
Ricardo in a widely sought after inspirational speaker in Portugal. Comfortable in front of the camera he talks about his humble beginnings in a fishing village before becoming a renowned sailor and author, co-founding and becoming the President of the Portugal Ocean Race.
“Ricardo really captured the audience and told a very engaging story to the event participants. He was vocal, interesting, spoke to the point and managed to convey the message that we wanted. At the end of his speech people stood up and were applauding him which is an excellent testimony to his brilliant presentation. We were very glad to have him as a speaker at our event.” Louis Vuitton
6. Rasmus Ankersen (Denmark): ‘Hunger in Paradise’
Rasmus Ankersen from Denmark is a bestselling author, a speaker on performance development and a trusted advisor to businesses and athletes around the world. Back in Denmark at the MCH Arena, the home FC Midtjylland, his childhood football club where Rasmus is the Chairman, they have created the world’s first drive-in for football. The players play in an empty stadium, the fans are parked in their cars outside the stadium watching the game live on a huge screen. Innovation for helping to live with Coronavirus!
“CCI hosted Rasmus Ankersen in One Team leadership event held in Turkey. Ankersen in his speech ‘Hunger in Paradise’ abolished the correlation between strong performance and great results through ‘Outcome Bias’ concept. Rasmus made audience to think about the ideal condition for success and asked them to leave the comfort zone to reach real improvement. His real life examples on the issue of saving the success from failure made important contribution to the meeting as well as provided valuable insights to CCI’s leadership team.” Coca-Cola
Jim is a wonderfully energetic motivational speaker who practices what he preaches. Hugely in demand for businesses seeking a conference speaker on improving Performance, Change, Communication & Leadership. Jim has entertained and inspired over half a million people on five continents, plus many more through his bestselling book ‘Taming Tigers.’ In 2020 Jim was voted #1 speaker outside of America and #6 in the world’s Top 30 Speaking Gurus. and he has successfully taken his performance online. Highly recommended for injecting the ‘bold decision making’ needed to find and adapt to our new world.
“Hi Jonathan, thanks so much for your support and that of your team in arranging for Jim to work with us. He was fantastic—I have had nothing but extremely positive feedback from my teams. Jim was easy to work with and flawlessly integrated key meeting themes into his message. I am thrilled he was able to join our meeting.” Crocs EMEA – Split, Croatia
8. Frank Furness (U.K) – ‘Managing Disruptive Change’
Frank is an internationally sought-after motivational speaker. His lively, enthusiastic and humorous style has inspired audiences all around the world. He is a specialist in sales, technology, social media and goal setting and how they work in tandem to produce great results for organizations. In the past 3 months, he has done over 30 virtual presentations to audiences as small as 20 to groups of over 600 and has mastered the art of virtual keynote speaking.
“Frank came to our recent sales conference in Athens and gave an energetic and informative presentation on ‘Hunting with Tigers’, this was excellent as it fitted perfectly with the theme ‘Hunting to Grow’. A very insightful view on how top salespeople work and many key lessons were presented. Thoroughly enjoyable and I would recommend to any sales organisation” GE Healthcare
Mark has managed teams in Formula One. His insights into how F1 teams need to adapt and innovate to change or fail is highly applicable to the Coronavirus situation. As a result of Coronavirus, most organisations will need to implement change quickly across leadership, marketing, technology and beyond. Mark has this experience and is a leading international speaker in this area.
“Having heard him speak at an EADS Engagement Forum in Paris I asked Mark to speak at our Leadership Conference for Airbus in the UK. He was able to combine his experiences of F1, leadership and engagement in a humorous and enlightening way that really connected with the audience” Airbus
10. Sir Clive Woodward (UK): ‘How To Win’ (In these difficult times)
Sir Clive Woodward is a high-performance Coach of the England Rugby and the British Olympic Team for London 2012. He led England to win the 2003 Rugby World Cup and worked for six years as Director of Elite Performance for the British Olympic Association. He’s also a designer of executive leadership programs on the science of winning having been a successful businessman for prior to his involvement in sport.
11. Ann Daniels (UK) – ‘How Anyone Can Change Their Outlook In An Instance’
Ann Daniels is a record-breaking polar explorer and a renowned international speaker. Daniels is the first woman in history, along with expedition teammate Caroline Hamilton, to reach the North and South Poles. Aged 30 Ann was a mother of triplets, working in a bank and had never had a rucksack on her back. She has turned ordinary into extraordinary.
“Your talk and contribution to the day was a great inspiration to us all. We were fascinated by your achievements and you brought a new dimension to the event.” IBM Europe
12. Marc Lammers (Netherlands):’Adapting to Change, Teamwork & Focus’
Marc Lammers is the former Dutch Olympic Hockey Coach who introduced technology and innovation to improve performance and develop winning teams. He has coached Spain, Netherlands and the Belgian national sides leading the Dutch to Olympic Gold in Beijing in 2008.
The relevant strength to Covid-19 is that he is an expert at guiding people to adapt, to be better team players, handle stress and learn from failure and difficulty.
“Marc gave an energetic presentation at the launch of our company 2ndSense. Where a crisis is an opportunity. Just the nail on the head when it comes to our attitude and our philosophy. Our guests were full of praise for Marc, even those who have seen him before.” 2ndSense
13. Araceli Segarra (Spain): ‘What Lessons Can We Learn From The Mountains’
Araceli was the first Spanish woman to conquer Everest. She is a model, television and radio personality, author, and children’s illustrator A multilingual speaker who is fluent in Spanish, Catalan, French, and English. Expert in leadership, teamwork, goal setting, organization, and risk management.
In her virtual keynote, Araceli discusses characteristics that the virus pandemic has placed upon people which include; frustration, isolation, uncertainty and lack of motivation. All mountains are different and require a different focus and each requires a new skill to overcome them.
“Araceli helped us communicate to our team that to get through rough times the keyword is teamwork. She made a superb presentation that made everybody leave the room with a completely different view of work and life.” Bulltick Capital Markets
14. Bruce Dickinson (France): ‘Don’t Be Afraid of Failure’
Although the lead singer of Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, is probably best known for being a global rock star, he is also a polymath who has enjoyed great success in diverse areas. He is a commercial airline pilot, the driving force behind Cardiff Aviation, Vice-Chairman of Pouncer, Chairman of GoldiLox, commercial entrepreneur, and an excellent fencer.
“Bruce Dickinson is a superstar… When you dig deeper, you find that his tremendous sense of humour facilitates the telling of an epic story. This man has an enormous heart and fighting spirit.”
15. Stefan Hyttfors (Sweden): Managing Disruption, ‘We are ALL SUFFERING, but this is also an OPPORTUNITY.’
Stefan Hyttfors is a brilliant international conference speaker and author of the highly-acclaimed business book: Yoga For Leaders: ‘How to Manage Self-Disruption in a World of Self-Destruction’
His skill set is very well-tuned to provide expert advice and guidance on how to manage the disruptive change that the CORONA-19 virus has placed on all us world-wide.
“Stefan is a combination of a stand up comedian and thoughtful key note speaker. He delivers energy and laughs while at the same time making you reflect upon todays challenges and how to tackle the unknown future. We really appreciated his key note and I highly recommend him if you want an inspiring talk about change. He was also very easy to work with.” Spotify
16. Erin Meyer (France) – ‘Driving Cultural Change’
An expert on cross-cultural management, Erin is the author of ‘The Culture Map’, a Professor of Organisational Behaviour at INSEAD, winner of the Thinkers 50 ‘On The Radar Award’ and Top 30 HR Influencers. A perfect candidate to speak to companies now needing to redefine cross-cultural leadership due to remote working. Erin teaches speaks on ‘Leading Across Cultures’ and ‘Managing Multi-Cultural Teams’.
“Whether you are sitting at a desk in Boston or eating at a restaurant in Beijing, communicating across cultures is the great challenge of the global economy. Getting it right will be the the difference between success and failure. Erin Meyer shows you how to get it right.’ Founders of the Thinkers50
17. Dr Steven MacGregor (Spain): ‘Wellbeing In A New World’
Barcelona based Chief Wellbeing Officer and a top expert in leadership, health, and wellbeing, Dr. Steven MacGregor founded The Leadership Academy of Barcelona (LAB) to help deliver global programs for his impressive list of clients. His build’s positive cultural change into organizations, much sought after in managing to deal with Coronavirus.
“I have worked together with Steven in different projects. His performance and attitude have always been excellent. He is very proactive and he knows very well how to manage things. You feel that you can leave things on his hands, and they will be done on time and with high quality. He is creative and imaginative, but at the same time very pragmatic and result-oriented. He is a person to work with, without any doubt.” IESE Business School
18. Benedikt Böhm (Germany) – ‘Accepting The Situation’
Extreme mountaineer Benedikt Böhm is the international managing director of Dynafit, a leading global ski touring brand. He is also a speaker whose talks, managed with great finesse, sees him develop ties between the world of extreme mountaineering and the business world.
“You have really inspired us with your presentation, and have clearly hit right to the heart of the big overlap between the mountain world and the business world. Based on your presentation, topics such as communication, decision-making and speed can be discussed anew with a totally fresh perspective. Many thanks for that!” Linde AG
19. Ian Bremmer (U.S) ‘Calculating The Political and Economic Risk of Cororonvirus’
Ian Bremmer created Wall Street’s first-ever global political risk index. As the president of Eurasia Group, Ian Bremmer is a sought after adviser on international risk management on the geopolitical and economic landscape.
Ian provides an informed view as to where we are likely to be headed and the consequences we will face or avoid.
20.Steve Wozniak (U.S) – ‘Networking & Technology Post Coronavirus’
Co-Founder of Apple and builder of the world’s first home computer. A pioneer of the modern technology era who had a desire to build a home computer that was easy for everybody to use and that he could about teach to the younger generation which he remains very passionate about. Woz provides virtual speaking keynote delivery from his home recording studio.
“I’ve had the pleasure of featuring Steve Wozniak across several conferences and enjoyed working with him immensely. His enthusiastic personality translates to a fantastic keynote, and his generosity off stage connecting with attendees had the entire event buzzing. Woz is akin to the Santa Claus of technology – all those that cross paths with him can’t help but be charmed and delighted.” TechMedia
As we mentioned earlier in the post. This Top 20 list is not conclusive, it will change as more speakers adapt to provide strong virtual keynote delivery capability. The speakers named above are those that have been working on their complete package and we are aware of.
We are all in the process of learning to adapt to new ways both during and post-Coronavirus. These are challenging times, but it also creates an opportunity for success. In these times, great speakers help by inspiring and motivating when it’s most in need.
Now the ability exists to reach far greater audiences using rapidly developing, but already great video conferencing packages. Without the large costs of running traditional conferences, clients can save small fortunes but still by using a virtual speaker to connect with their employees and run virtual client events.
A few speakers will be uncomfortable, but many like we do will see an exciting new way. Speakers could, with this positive outlook achieve many more virtual bookings, especially as travel and the associated time it takes are temporarily on hold.
If you have questions about any of our speakers listed here, or you would like guidance or recommendations on selecting a great speaker for a forthcoming conference, please contact me T: +34938004890 or email us here.