In AAE’s 2023 Speaking Industry Benchmark Report, we answered all kinds of questions about the state of the industry — things like booking timelines, budgets, speaking fees, priority topics, measuring event success, and so much more.

We also captured more open-ended input from event organizers, that insider knowledge you only get from years of being an event pro. Just like last year, our respondents did not disappoint us, providing valuable advice to carry with you throughout your 2023 events.

Below, I’ve compiled a collection of the top responses for the main themes that emerged.

Plan and book as early as you can:

“Engage your stakeholders in the process as early as possible.” – Kaleigh Imbriale

“Plan well in advance. It always takes 50% more time than you think.” – Mario Peraza

“Plan as much in advance as possible; Engage your communities; Seek partnerships.” – Anonymous

Go with the flow and be ready to adapt:

“Flexibility is key! Also, be nice. We’re all running the same race, just at different speeds.” – Mary Spadoni

“Stay open to change…there have been times where the direction the speaker went was not my plan but was exactly what my audience needed to hear.” – Anonymous

“On the day of the event, embrace and accept the day as it unfolds. Even if things don’t go quite as you planned, the audience doesn’t know anything is amiss as long as event organizers are collected and calm.” – Anonymous

In your speaker search, keep an open mind:

“Plan ahead of time to try to find a speaker that fits your mission and goal of the event in advance (6 months to 1 year).” – Richard Yonck

“The big names don’t always sell — find a lesser known speaker who has really good reviews.” – Jena Gardner

“Try to find speakers that fit the event, rather than the other way around.” – Heather Marks

A few other general words of wisdom:

“Make your in-person meetings fun — do something fun and exciting. Give your attendees free time to enjoy the venue.” – Kathi Bretcko

“Be clear in expectations and requests from the get-go. Adding on requests later creates headaches for all involved.” – Sean Lashley

“Be patient and kind to those you want to work with.” – Mary Rauchut

Where do you line up?

AAE's 2023 Speaking Industry Benchmark Report

Many of you reading this have learned your own lessons over the years. We’d love to hear your thoughts. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to continue the conversation.

Looking for even more insights? Your free copy of the full report is waiting for you. Download now to dig into the numbers. If you’re short on time, skim through these five fast facts from the report we covered on our blog.