How much does it cost to hire a keynote speaker?

I’ve spoken at hundreds of conferences, seminars, business shows and networking events. I deal with conference organisers all year long as they plan their events and, of course, one of the first questions I am always asked is “how much does it cost to book you as a keynote speaker?”.
It’s a difficult question to answer without knowing all of the details of the event, and what will be required of me, but I shall try here to explain some of the factors that will influence the cost of a speaker.
If you would like a definite price to hire me to speak at your event, once you’ve read this article, please do Email me with details at – this article will prepare you for some of the questions I will ask.

  1. Where is the event? I don’t own a teleport machine (yet) so even if you only need me for an hour, it could take me several hours to travel to and from the event. That’s why I typically only work on a day rate, or half day rate if the seminar or conference is close by.
  2. How much travelling and expense will be involved? If I need to book flights, or hotels, I will need to account for that. If you are proposing to cover expenses as well as the speaking fee, this will make a difference. Some of the events I speak for book my hotels and travel for me, some leave it to me to organise; either way is fine, it is just worth understanding that up front.
  3. Do you want bespoke material – tailor made for your audience? If so, we should account for some time to write material and work alongside you to make sure it is absolutely what you want. I always check with my clients whether they want specific messages included in what I am talking to their attendees about. I am very happy to have meetings or telephone conversations in advance to get that absolutely right. Of course, this can involve more charges than if I am presenting one of my normal networking seminars or keynotes.
  4. How long is the event? Attendees often enjoy having access to the speakers before and after their keynote presentations or seminars. This gives them the opportunity to ask questions and engage with the presenter or speaker. I much prefer this and it’s worth discussing this right from the outset.

Typically, you should expect to budget for anywhere between £2500 – £10,000 per day for a credible speaker who will give your audience real value. Anyone who speaks professionally and is used to speaking in front of large audiences is likely to charge within that range.
In my opinion, it is vital to get your choice of speaker right from the outset, so that you know your seminar or conference attendees will be engaged throughout, will enjoy the presentation and, crucially, will leave with information they can actually use.

Stefan Thomas is the author of Business Networking for Dummies and Instant Networking. He is regularly in demand as a speaker at conferences and events and works with individuals and teams to increase their ROI from business networking.

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