Should Your Trade Show Speakers be Compensated? 6 Meeting Professionals Speak Out
Dec 20, 2013 by DeDe Mulligan
Traci Browne, a trade show consultant with Red Cedar Marketing, moderates a weekly Twitter session called #ExpoChat where meeting professionals around the world can chime in about the latest topics facing the expo and trade show business.
Last month, Browne took up the topic of compensation for presenters — should they be compensated or not and if so,what is the right amount.
Below is a summation of the responses and how interactive technology tool rentals can help spread the speaker’s message without adding a lot of cost to your event.
Question: Do you think all speakers should be compensated for delivering education at a trade show? Why or why not? 
SHOULD BE PAID
Stephanie Selesnick, President of International Trade Information stated the following, If you want to hold speakers accountable for great work, pay them. If not, use volunteers.”
Justine Savage, Marketing Coordinator at Nimlok shared, Event planners might assume that the exposure opportunity is payment enough for their time, expertise and insights. I don’t agree.” 
Marlys Arnold, Founder the Exhibit Marketers Café said, “Show organizers and planners don’t work for free, why should we speakers be expected to do so?” 
SHOULD NOT BE PAID
Scott A. Lee, Principal at S.A.L. Event Consultants stated, “Speakers from exhibiting companies should be rewarded with better promotion and free registration.”
Dana Freker Doody, Vice President, Corporate Communications at The Expo Group chimed in with this comment, “The trouble is, by me speaking, my company gets attention which is better than payment. I’m accountable to my company to get asked to speak again. I want to do well.” 
Question: If I do pay my speakers, what is adequate compensation? 
Sanne Jolles, Market Research Manager at Amsterdam RAI felt, “The payment should depend on the request whether it’s a keynote speech, participating in a panel or presenting a short session.” 
“At least a minimum stipend should be paid to all speakers. Several meeting associations offer one or two nights and partial registration, but very few help with travel expenses,” stated Arnold.
HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP
If you cannot pay the speaker their full payment, the results from this Twitter chat state you should offer them at least the following:
  • A stipend
  • In kind offering, such as free registration and sponsorship or
  • Reimbursement for their travel expenses

However, sometimes this is not enough to draw in the type of presenter you really want. Here are some ways that technology can be used to help promote your speakers:

  • Allow them to run their videos, photos and bios on charging stations, video wall rentals or touch panel kiosks
  • Put their information on the Wi-Fi splash page
  • If you rent iPads, put together a gamification app where attendees can win a prize by learning more about the speaker
  • Put all presentations on SlideShare and encourage attendees to follow along on their second screen technology
  • Let presenters guest blog and promote their content during the meeting

In the end, you need to find out what your speakers want and be willing to customize your offerings to meet their needs.

SmartSource Rentals is a total technology solution provider that has 21 locations to serve you! Contact them today to learn more about their state-of-the-art offerings!

 

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