Earning as a keynote speaker
5,000 euros, 8,000 euros or 10,000 euros for a 30-minute performance – not a bad hourly rate, is it? For professional speakers, that’s the nice reality. You actually get so much for a single speech, whether it lasts 15, 20 or 45 minutes. And at 10,000 Euros, the end of the line is far from being reached. Of course not all professional keynote speakers get the six-digit fee of a Barack Obama – but some stars of the scene reach quite high five-digit fee sums. As a beginner you can only dream of such numbers. But they don’t have to remain a dream. I myself started small and then continued to improve – more about that later.
How much can you earn?
Well, which fee you can call up personally as a keynote speaker with a performance depends on exactly the same two factors as with me and as with any other speaker in the world. It results from the sum of only two factors: the value you deliver to your audience and the degree to which you are known.
Before we get to concrete figures, let’s think about the formula “value + awareness = fee”. What is this value and how is it created? In order to answer this question, it makes sense to deal with the goals of the organizers who invite keynote speakers. If a company books an external speaker for an event, it may have the following reasons, for example:
#1 Professional input
The company needs professional input, which the speaker can provide with his expert knowledge. Either the specialist knowledge is not there or the in-house experts cannot convey it, or they are not taken seriously in the organisation.
#2 Event to become a kick-off
The event is the kick-off for a new project in which managers and project participants are sworn to common goals. External speakers can support the background for the meaning of the project and convey a vision.
It is important to spread uncomfortable messages and to cushion them, for example when restructuring is on the agenda. Management would like an external expert to explain what the background is – for example, how digitalization is changing the world of work and why traditional companies can’t just go on like this. An event can help break the negative mood and motivate employees.
#4 Eager change in perspective
The company freezes into routine, and the employees of the company cook too long in their own juice. There is an innovation backlog. It needs a different perspective, a new way of looking at things, an impulse from outside.
#5 Convenient interaction to customers
The company wants to show its customers, employees or business partners that it is doing something for them. An event with top-class speakers costs money and is time-consuming – and it is an appreciation that the company shows to its guests – regardless of whether they are employees, suppliers, dealers, representatives or customers. Those who book prominent speakers also show the audience that I have bought them for you.
True value of audience
The value for the audience is also that the speaker transforms complicated facts into simple ones without it becoming tedious. He does this work for his listeners by conceiving, writing and fine-tuning his speech over weeks. The audience can easily comprehend these thoughts and either hear something new – or something familiar is performed in such a way that an aha-effect occurs. This can be done, for example, through a new perspective on a known fact.
Or the speech is brought so clearly on the point that with the public a moment of the clarity adjusts itself. A Keynote Speaker like Alan Stein, Jr inspires humans to make in their job or in their life in the future somewhat differently, for example by provoking questions and amazing answers. It gives food for thought and the impulse for change. A somewhat more profane, but also important value is to give the audience a good feeling and entertain them. The ideal case is when the speaker simultaneously inspires the audience and encourages them to act.
For professional speakers, the market becomes interesting when corporate customers come into play. The fee for professional speakers then starts at 3,000 euros per appearance. If you have just gained a foothold in the speaker scene, the rate is more likely to be at the lower edge than at the upper edge of the scene, at around 6,000 euros per performance. In order to be booked for more than 6,000 Euros, you need a certain public awareness and a high relevance for your audience, for example as a Spiegel bestseller author.