How these expert agents can save you time, money and stress

A keynote speaker can make or break an event. Relevant and inspiring messages that align with your event and resonate with your audience is crucial; so is the personality of the speaker, their delivery and their ability to connect with an audience.

With so many pieces to consider and factors that can go wrong, it can be difficult to find the perfect speaker to bring your meeting to life. That’s where speakers bureaus come in.

Learn more about the 2021 trends for speakers here. 

Speakers bureaus are like matchmakers for planners and speakers. They vet and maintain a database of highly professional speakers from all walks of life and they work with planners to find the perfect match for their events. Bureaus run the gamut, from small and domestic to large and international. They may work with thousands of nonexclusive speakers or they might focus on a few hundred exclusive professionals. No matter the style, they all have the ability to deliver peace of mind. Here are five ways they can help planners choose the right speakers.

1. Connections

NBA Hall-of-Famers, high-ranking celebrities and professional motivators have full schedules and layers of gatekeepers, making them hard to reach—unless you’re with a speakers bureau. These agents have extensive networks and all the right connections to make things happen. “We go out, we find the right people…we’ve been doing this for years; it’s all we do,” says Susan Lauterbach, president of RedPropeller Speakers Bureau.

2. Expertise

“We talk to people all day long, so we know all the questions we need to ask up-front,” Lauterbach notes. Fill in some details: What’s your objective, your attendee demographics and the theme for your event, and what message you want to get across? This will enable the bureau to dig into its vast data pool of speakers to narrow down the best matches for you. Its databases provide transparency in terms of cost and availability, so there’s no guesswork.

What the most common speakers in the world have in common. 

3. Negotiation

Lauterbach advises that when looking for a speaker, “Don’t go by fee alone. A lot of times, agents can negotiate a bargain.” Speakers bureau agents are power players when it comes to negotiating. Since agents often book the same speaker for multiple events each year, they have established a relationship with the speaker and have some leverage when it comes to negotiating fees.

4. Savings

Some planners think it costs more to work with a speakers bureau than to go it alone, but the reality is a good speakers bureau not only saves planners valuable time: It’s also cost effective. “Speakers pay [speaker bureaus] fees, not the planners,” Lauterbach emphasized.

5. Security

It’s a planner’s worst nightmare: There’s been an emergency, requiring the keynote speaker to cancel. Or their flight is delayed (sometimes indefinitely). Or they simply just do not show up. If you’ve worked out a contract with them on your own, you may be out of luck. But a speakers bureau can provide the safety of a backup, even if it’s last-minute.