What a Speaker Bureau Does: How to Find the Right Event Speaker

5 min read
Get the most from your speaker bureau
A good speaker bureau is the event manager’s best friend. They are experts in sourcing speakers to fit your event goals, delight your audience and deliver an exceptional event experience everyone will remember.

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Your questions answered - the what, why, how and when of event speaker bureaus. Click To Tweet

What is a Speaker Bureau?

A speaker bureau is an agency that supplies speakers for corporate events. The speaker bureau keeps a database of keynote speakers, expert speakers, Masters of Ceremonies (MCs) and facilitators suited to different event styles, formats and budgets. A bureau’s speakers include household-name celebrities, industry experts, former politicians, sports stars and inspiring people who’ve made incredible achievements. A good speaker bureau does much more than simply book talent. They provide expert advice on choosing the right talent for your specific event needs, which is essential for a successful event.

A speaker bureau provides expert advice on choosing the right talent for your specific event needs. Click To Tweet

Why Use a Speaker Bureau?

Professional event managers use speaker bureaus for speakers, MCs and facilitators who’ll make their event a big success. Speakers and entertainers, can ‘make or break’ an event so it’s a really important decision to make. A speaker bureau provides expert advice to help you choose speakers to fit your event objectives, format and audience tastes. If the speaker you want isn’t available or is beyond your budget, they’ll recommend other excellent talent. A speaker bureau is best placed to advise speakers with personality, tone and delivery to suit your specific event.

A speaker bureau provides expert advice to help you choose speakers to fit your event objectives, format and audience tastes. Click To Tweet

How Does a Speaker Bureau Work?

Speaker bureau provide event speakers using the following process:

  1. The speaker bureau consultant asks the event manager about event goals, format and audience demographic.
  2. The speaker consultant uses insider knowledge and makes interim contacts to find suitable and available candidates.
  3. A shortlist of speakers is provided to the event manager.
  4. Once a speaker is chosen, the speaker bureau confirms the booking. They brief the talent on all details so the speaker can prepare the delivery and customise accordingly.
  5. The speaker bureau deals directly with the speaker for travel, accommodation, transfer, and walks them through the event run sheet.
  6. Speaker bureau fees are often charged directly to the talent, so you benefit from their expertise at no extra cost.

When Do I Need to Use a Speaker Bureau?

You need to use a speaker bureau to book speakers who’ll make your event a success. While celebrities – actors, former politicians, comedians, sports stars – are popular choices, hiring a speaker who fits the audience is what takes an event from average to awesome. A good speaker bureau has a huge range of keynote speakers, facilitators, Masters of Ceremony (MCs), and they know exactly who suits which event. If you’re managing a professional corporate event and you want fantastic results, you need to work with a speaker bureau.

Where Can I Find a Good Speaker Bureau?

Use your industry networks to find a good speaker bureau. Ask experienced event professionals which bureau they work with, and why. Choosing the right speaker is key to successful events, so it’s important to do the groundwork on finding a good speaker bureau you can partner with longer term. You can also search online for speaker bureaus. Most bureaus have a website listing their featured speakers, and with many more not listed online. A good speaker bureau supports you at all stages: advising, booking, briefing and managing the best speakers for your event.

A good speaker bureau supports you at all stages: advising, booking, briefing and managing the best speakers for your event. Click To Tweet

Partner With a Speaker Bureau for Event Success

Once you find a good speaker bureau with industry expertise and great networks, and who offers exceptional service at every step, it pays to stick with them. Partnering with a regular speaker bureau means they’ll get to know your business needs inside and out, making speaker selection even more efficient and effective over the longer term. You’ll have more time to focus on other aspects of the event, because you know the talent sourcing is taken care of by your best friend, the speaker bureau.


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About the Author

Alison Clarke

Alison is the founder and director of Enhance. It turns out she has a flair for connecting talent with clients. A classical pianist graduating from the prestigious Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Alison spent a decade performing on the international stage, was twice awarded scholarships to the Chamber Music Residency Program in Canada, and was invited to International Musician’s Seminar Prussia Cove. She now manages talent and events worldwide.

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