Speakers Bureaus

Yesterday I blogged about “Leadership Speakers” and how I helped steer my former client toward some ideal professional speakers for her 2019 conference. Part of my advice was to contact a speakers bureau. A bureau can be a great resource for someone seeking a speaker who has no ideas where to start.

Speakers Bureaus are not agents for speakers. They usually do not represent a single (or small group) of motivational speakers. Instead they work for the client to help them locate a world class speaker for their event. They can pull from any number of available speakers in the clients price range to ensure they get the right fit for their conference.

Speakers Bureaus Are Good For Planners and Speakers

As someone who has run my own speakers business for the past ten years, I have worked with several speakers bureaus. While most of my speaking engagements come directly from referrals, I have enjoyed working with bureaus. They are a good partner for both speakers and planners.

Keynote speakers are not a commodity. You cannot assume that everyone who lists themselves as a “Speaker” has the experience you need to “wow” your audience. Speakers bureaus serve as that go-between who helps vet the right speaker within the client’s budget.

As a professional speaker, bureaus can be a wonderful asset to help me grow my business. The clients they work with are not clients who would have found me organically. Thus any work I get from bureaus is a bonus.

The client is not my client, but that of the speakers bureau. This is an important thing for speakers to remember. In most cases the client does not pay anything to the bureau for linking them with the speaker, but instead they are compensated with a commission from the speaker. This rate varies, but is fair.

If you are seeking a speaker, there are many choices. There are countless speakers bureaus in the United States (and around the world). Many are generalists, and others specialize. Large ones and boutiques. Some focus on specific industries or geographical areas. A few celebrities have exclusive agreements with speakers bureaus and must be booked through that company.

Finding A Speakers Bureau

Most speakers bureaus are members of the International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB). The mission of this organization is to provide global leadership in facilitating the exchange of ideas and expertise, advocating for our value, and promoting standards of excellence, for the speaker bureau industry. If you are seeking a bureau, their membership roster is a great place to look. They have a dedicated page to help planners find what they are seeking.

Another great way to locate a speakers bureau is to ask other meeting professionals or speakers. I have referred several clients to bureaus when they are seeking specific ideas for a speaker who will help their meeting reach its peak performance.
Below are a list of speakers bureaus who have booked and referred me in the past. I have found all of them to be amazing to work with and will happily make personal introductions to the individuals I know personally.

Make Your Event Amazing

The right speaker sets the tone for the whole event. The best advice I can give anyone planning a conference is to talk to several speakers and do not their fame alone be the deciding factor. The speaker is more than a performer who takes the stage for 60 minutes. How the speaker engages with the planners and the audience before, during and after their presentation matters.

If you want a speaker who does more than talks to an audience, make sure the speakers bureau you work with knows what you expect. The earlier you communicate your expectations with the bureau, the easier time they will have selecting a short list of seasoned professionals whom will make your event memorable.

Part Of The Meetings Industry

The meetings industry is made up of many types of businesses: Planners, hoteliers, sound and lighting engineers, transportation companies, caterers, CVBs, technology companies, rental agencies, speakers bureaus, speakers, etc…

When all the moving parts of meetings realize they are all partners working to create the final event, that is where the magic happens. If you are planning an event, do not overlook the importance of getting the right speakers selected for your meeting. Reach out to several speakers or engage a speakers bureau to ensure you have the best choices.

Thom Singer is a motivational keynote speaker and a professional EmCee. He is also the host of the popular entrepreneur podcast, “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do”. He can be booked directly or via your favorite speakers bureau.