A good conference speaker delivers a mixture of inspiration and insights. The best guest speakers share their experience and invite the audience to draw parallels, without telling them how to run their organisation. As with all speeches, the secret lies in story telling rather than graphs.
A speaker bureau advises which speakers, presenters or performers match the buyers’ objectives and budget. They do not normally represent the talent exclusively, so the advice offered is ostensibly impartial. Unlike theatrical and model agencies, the buyer is the client – not the talent.
The best speaker agencies listen to the brief, deliver on their promise and elicit the desired audience reaction. This is still a ‘human’ business – relying on in depth knowledge, relationships and integrity. The last matters because speaker fees vary enormously, giving free range to rogue agents.
Keynote speakers are a conference highlight, so the stakes are high when setting out to find one. Unless you know who you want and you’ve seen them speak, you will need expert advice from a reputable agency or bureau. Write a detailed brief, interrogate their proposals and ask for relevant reviews.
There are as many types of motivational speaker as there are styles of dress – from Paralympians to entrepreneurs to so-called ‘performance gurus.’ And there are good and less good in each category. The best way to find out who’s right for your audience is to ask a speaker bureau for a range of suggestions.