Trying to explain to people exactly what my job is has turned out to be more challenging than I’d originally expected. I’m an assistant in a Speaker Bureau, but to those not particularly au fait with the world of speakers and corporate entertainment, the term ‘Speaker Bureau’ is often pretty meaningless. I reckon the following conversation has happened at least six times:
“So where do you work?”
“In a Speaker Bureau.”
“A Speaker Bureau?!?!”
“Yes, a Speaker Bureau.”
…What’s a Speaker Bureau?”
Following this all too familiar exchange, I’m forced to try and string together a vaguely coherent way of summarising what my job is. In future, I shall just direct them to this blog and be done with it.
As an assistant in our Speaker Bureau, I am assigned to three agents. At the most basic level, my responsibilities are geared towards making sure that any speaker/presenter/entertainer ends up in the right place at the right time, ready to deliver the goods. So far in my time working at our speaker bureau this has all gone smoothly, and thankfully I’m yet to receive a panicked phone call telling me that Natasha Kaplinsky is stranded in a lay-by off the M11 with three minutes until she’s due on stage.
I spend my working day at our speaker bureau constructing a series of plans and strategies that mean it will quite literally all be all right on the night. I can say without a shred of exaggeration that as an assistant, lists have become my new best friend and there are few things I enjoy more than the sound of my biro drawing a sharp line across a recently completed task.
You’ve got to be pretty organised over here, especially when you’re juggling a lot of speaker engagements at once, so as an assistant in a speaker bureau it seems fitting that one of the most important things I can do is keep speaking to my trusty agents. As in any assistant-senior working relationship, this is how we can establish that cars, trains and planes have been booked, briefing calls done, book orders placed, requirements met, and (most importantly) all parties happy.
Working as an assistant in a speaker bureau, I’m frequently rushed off my feet, but very few two days are the same. I tend to think that if I’m not making at least one person’s life just a tiny bit easier, I’m probably not doing my job properly. Whether that’s assuring one of our speakers that they’ll do a great job and the audience will love them, or even just making Jeremy a cup of tea with milk and two sugars, I’ll finish by saying that no matter how it happens, I hope that the many cogs of our metaphorical speaker bureau machine are able to turn just that little bit more smoothly with a handful of us assistants standing on guard at the helm.