These days, speakers bureaus are getting lots of requests for presenters on the cheap. But industry veteran Diane Goodman of Goodman Speakers Bureau suggests that

“Planners should focus instead on trying to get more for their money when working with speakers.”

”Make better use of their time,” she suggests. For example, book a keynote presentation and then ask if the speaker will conduct a breakout session later in the day.

Goodman sees financial services companies booking economists and other financial experts for attendees who are clamoring for outside perspectives on the global economy and how macroeconomic forces will affect their industry. When you book an economist for a keynote, she suggests, ask if the speaker will attend a VIP breakfast as well, for some back-and-forth discussion about the issues of the day. Or how about a webinar one month after the conference, to be sure the messages “stick” with attendees?

Another value-add is pre-program promotion. Consider having the speaker record a one-minute video encouraging meeting attendance. Some speakers might also write a column for your corporate newsletter or a guest blog entry for your Web site.

“Especially now, communication is key,” Goodman says. “Be honest about everything that is going on with your company. The more you can share, the easier it will be for us to recommend the right fit for you. And we really encourage conference calls with speakers, even before you’ve made a decision. Many times a speaker will say,

“How else can I help you have a great conference?’ It is all about partnerships.”