Great Meeting U
Should I Get a "Free" Speaker?
It's possible to get a speaker "for free", and some free speakers can even be pretty good speakers. A few can be great speakers (more about them in a minute). But unfortunately, with some "no cost" speakers, you get what you pay for.
Let's start with industry experts. They are sometimes free, although some expect a small honorarium. They might also require you to cover their travel expenses, so a "free" speaker can sometimes cost you more money than you were expecting to pay.
Industry experts certainly know their stuff. But are they entertaining and dynamic speakers? Possibly. Or maybe they're incredibly boring. If they are salaried (paid by their employers), then powerful platform skills are not a job requirement. If they have them, great! But if they don't, too bad!
Getting an industry expert at no cost may help your budget, but if your expert bores — or worse yet, antagonizes — your audience, it'll cost you in other ways. Big time!
But there are other reasons why a speaker might speak for free. Some professional speakers may choose to speak without a fee, hoping to sell their products or services to your audience. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as their sales pitch doesn't antagonize your audience.
Other pro speakers may opt to speak for free in hopes of getting future business from you. Or speakers may choose to speak for free when they're positioning themselves as an authority in your industry.
Finally, a professional speaker may accept compensation that's not in the form of money. Your organization, for example, may be able to provide them with a product or service at a substantial discount (or possibly at no cost at all). Technically, they're a "free" speaker, but they're receiving their compensation in other ways.
In summary, a "free" speaker can be a good deal... or it can be a disaster. Whether or not you're compensating your speaker, it's important that you always evaluate your speaker's platform skills before you "hire" them!