February 28, 2018

It’s make or break

You have been paid $500,000 to organize a weekend innovation retreat for 100 senior executives of a Fortune 50 company.

It’s a high pressure engagement. There’s a lot riding on you. You really want to hit a home run.

You’ve done these sorts of events before, but this fee is five times higher than you’ve ever charged before.

It’ll make your year if it goes well. It’ll break your year if it doesn’t.

One of your many responsibilities is to hire a keynote speaker to kick off the event.

It’s very important that the speaker “wows” the attendees, but it won’t be easy. He or she must win over a large group of hardened business people, open their minds to a new way of thinking, and set a tone of innovation and growth for the remainder of the retreat.

You ask around and come up with two candidates, Alice and Bob. They have very similar credentials on their websites.

Both have written books, both have had articles published in Harvard Business Review, and both have been quoted in the Wall Street Journal.

You interview both speakers over the phone. They are both articulate, they both speak with authority about their area of expertise, and they both understand the importance of the event.

When you ask Bob what his fee is, he says:

“Well... I guess I could do it for $2,500 plus expenses but if that’s too high, how about $1,500?”

When you ask Alice, she says:

“$35,000, all inclusive. I arrange and pay for my own travel and lodging.”

You had budgeted $30,000 for the keynote speaker.

Who do you choose?



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