Many meetings have seen lowered meeting budgets over the past few years. Let’s focus on creative ways to stretch the dollars allocated for the speaker(s) at your next meeting.

If you would like a speaker to consider accepting a lowered honorarium, consider what you could do for the speaker in return.  Look for a solution that offers the speaker value in return for the expertise they bring to your meeting, while working within your budget.

Following are a few good tips for dental planners working with a budget:

Multiple Presentations /Functions (Same Meeting)
Consider asking the speaker to provide additional session(s) rather than hiring an additional speaker. Could the speaker provide an additional break-out session or help with other functions, such as Facilitator or Emcee?

See this post on securing sponsorships.

Make a Trade
What can you offer a speaker in trade? I’ve seen meeting planners offer a weekend stay at a beach resort as incentive for a speaker to work within their budget. Are resources available from members, suppliers, exhibitors or sponsors that are tradable?

Travel Expenses
Negotiate for “expenses not to exceed” or “travel expenses included in honorarium“. Understand that absorbing travel expenses can run from $500 to $1000 for the speaker. Be willing to offer something in return, such as back of the room sales or the ability to bring in a sponsor to help offset the costs (or both!).

Working with a budget - dental meeting plannerMarketing Assistance
Your audience members are potential clients for most speakers. Consider offering the speaker:

* Approval for back of the room sales
* Membership or attendee contact/e-mail information
* A link to the speaker’s website from yours
* A testimonial letter and/or referrals
* An article and/or complimentary advertising in your trade publication/newsletter
* A booth, if applicable

Finding the Win/Win

Ask the speaker for ideas.  Get creative.

* Is your meeting at a popular travel destination?
* Does the speaker have relatives in town?
* Does she prefer to be paid in advance?
* Can he invite guests to attend his presentation?

Keep the lines of communication open until you discover a situation that works for both of you.