What Does a Speakers Bureau Do?
The bureau’s job is to help you find the right speaker for your event, send you materials to review, schedule conference calls, contract the speaker and facilitate financial arrangements. If you were to research and try to book your own speakers, you’d spend hours gathering information that may or may not get you somewhere. Sometimes finding the contact information is the easy part, but you never really know a speaker’s presence like a bureau does.
Bureaus act as partners for researching speakers and finding the perfect match for your event. They can assist with determining the appropriate mix of content, personality and entertainment for the presentation. Bureaus generally represent a large roster of speakers (ranging from local business experts to worldwide celebrities), and can also book speakers they don’t exclusively represent.
Speakers bureaus work with professional speakers who are seasoned experts and have demonstrated excellent speaking skills, professionalism and expertise of their topic. Finding the right speakers who meets your needs and budget is the bureau’s objective. And, since speaker bureaus get paid from the speakers fee, they receive compensation only when you book a speaker they suggest.
Working with a Speakers Bureau
Initially, bureaus will ask you about the goals and objectives for your event and about your organization. During the interview, a bureau agent will listen to your program needs and assess what type of speaker would fit your program objectives and budget.
Next, your bureau agent will research the large pool of available speakers to develop a short list of the top candidates for your event. Your agent will then compose an email with links to information about the speakers you find most interesting (videos, profiles, program outlines, etc.). Finally, they will confirm availability for the speaker(s) you have chosen and will arrange all contracting, finances and presentation and travel requirements.
The benefit of working with a Speakers Bureau is that, instead of having to contact the speaker’s agents, assistants, etc., you will be able to work with one team member throughout the entire process. Your sales agent will know you and your event, so there is no need to continuously repeat your event details. They will make you aware of any meetings, changes in details or updates. They are responsible for making your choice of speaker for your event a success.
Communication is the Key
Booking a speaker can be daunting if you are stuck doing it by yourself. Finding a speaker fit for your budget and theme can be a challenging task. However, when you book through a Speakers Bureau, it can be a little less stressful, and their team will seamlessly coordinate all speaker logistics.
Bureau agents work hard to help meeting planners book the perfect speaker. So it’s important to clearly communicate throughout the speaker search process. Give your bureau agent as much information about your goals and your chosen event theme as you can. Provide clear and quick feedback on speakers they may suggest and keep them informed about your selection process.
The event planning process is fast paced, especially when committees run the selection processes. Your bureau agent knows this, so express any concerns or challenges you are facing, even if it means letting them know the budget has been cut this year or that you need help convincing a committee of the right speaker choice.
If you are using other sources, it is always a good policy to let your bureau(s) know others you may be working with. Let them know immediately if you are considering booking a speaker from another source. This way, multiple bureaus won’t continue contacting the same speaker trying to secure “holds” for the same event date.
We know what speakers do well in what situations and on what topics. Speakers Bureaus learn about your event from the information you provide in order to provide you the best speakers for your event and in your budget. Their job is to take the selection process, hiring, contracting, updating and billing off of your hands.
Bureaus take care of many of the details for booking speakers — from locating the perfect speakers available for your event to contracting negotiations and programming details — which ultimately saves you time and money. Working with bureaus is a time saving and rewarding experience.