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Top 5 Speaker Bureaus for Finding Conference Speakers

by Chris Dyer

The demand for engaging knowledgeable, and impactful speakers has never been higher. Whether for corporate events, educational seminars, or inspirational workshops, the right speaker can truly transform an occasion. But with such a vast sea of speaker bureaus claiming to be the best, how do you determine which one aligns perfectly with your needs? Each bureau brings its own blend of expertise, connections, and history.

A speaker’s bureau is a specialized intermediary agency that connects professional speakers with those who are looking to hire them for various events. Think of them as talent agents, but specifically for motivational speakers, educators, celebrities, industry experts, and more. These bureaus have extensive networks, ensuring that event organizers have access to the right speakers who not only fit their theme but also resonate with their audience. Beyond just providing contacts, they oversee negotiations, planning, and often offer a layer of security in case of unforeseen issues.

Understanding the nuances and offerings of each bureau can be overwhelming. However, worry not! We have undertaken the heavy lifting on your behalf. Presented here is a comprehensive guide to the top five speaker bureaus, meticulously curated to simplify your decision-making process. Dive in and equip yourself with the insights needed to make a well-informed choice.

1. Executive Speakers Bureau: Crafting a Legacy in Public Speaking Starting its journey in 1993 in Memphis, Tennessee, the Executive Speakers Bureau was the brainchild of Angela Schelp. With Richard Schelp later joining the venture, this bureau soon rose to prominence. If you are mulling over how to find speakers for a conference, their extensive selection of professional speakers is a noteworthy resource.

Venturing Beyond Borders When seeking conference speakers, the Executive Speakers Bureau presents an unmatched range. By the dawn of the new millennium, they expanded their footprint beyond U.S. borders, offering both keynote speakers of national acclaim and local guest speakers tailored to specific event management needs.

Commitment to Superior Service Their primary goal is unambiguous: Deliver unmatched service. They pride themselves on offering premier customer service, making the process of selecting conference speakers seamless for clients worldwide.

2. BigSpeak: Business-centric Approach with Precision For those specifically seeking speakers for events that address business challenges, BigSpeak emerges as the top contender. Operating on the core tenets of Communication, Optimism, Accountability, Collaboration, and Healthy growth (COACH), it ensures best practices for hiring conference speakers.

Enhancing Performance and Culture does not just provide guest speakers; they specialize in expert keynote speakers. They target specific client business challenges, igniting organizational performance and bolstering cultural enhancement.

3. Key Speakers Bureau: Pioneering as a Global Women-Led Initiative Key Speakers Bureau sets itself apart as a global entity both operated and owned by women. If you are exploring tips for selecting conference speakers with a global touch, this bureau offers a rich tapestry of choices.

Legacy Spanning Three Decades For three decades, they have catered to a spectrum of organizations, ranging from Fortune 500s to nonprofits. Their professional speakers not only inspire but also enlighten audiences, ensuring impeccable conference planning.

Awards and High Standards With the distinguished recognition as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), Key Speakers Bureau upholds unparalleled ethical standards and professionalism in the realm of public speaking.

4. A-Speakers: Acclaimed and Recognized Globally Renowned for its award-winning stature, A-Speakers presents a cornucopia of speakers from varied disciplines. Whether you need insights on presentation skills or guidance on how to negotiate with conference speakers, this bureau is your ally.

Reputation Built on Excellence Their reputation is backed by their history: orchestrating thousands of keynotes annually. Their experience, coupled with their vast network, propels them as top consultants in the industry.

Diversity in Expertise From business paradigms to stress management strategies, they maintain consistent interactions with their roster of speakers. This ensures that clients receive up-to-date and pertinent information.

5. AAE Speakers Bureau: Holistic and Vibrant Approach AAE Speakers Bureau’s comprehensive nature sets it distinctively in the landscape of professional speakers’ bureaus.

Booking Experience From initiation to culmination, they guarantee an unparalleled booking journey. Catering specifically to the intricate needs of event professionals, they elucidate the benefits of hiring professional speakers for a conference.

Pioneering Through Innovation With a finger on the pulse of the latest trends in event management and public speaking, their team is ceaselessly updating its repertoire. This initiative-taking approach ensures that they identify and secure the most apt keynote speakers, custom-fit for each event’s unique requirements.

The Value of Collaborating with a Speakers Bureau In the vast, varied world of events, one component often stands out as the most memorable: the keynote speaker. However, the path to securing the ideal speaker can be winding and fraught with unexpected challenges. Enter the speaker’s bureau—a bridge between event organizers and the perfect speaker.

Understanding the Role of a Speakers Bureau A speakers bureau functions as a conduit, connecting clients to the most fitting keynote speakers for their specific events. Depending on a client’s unique goals, objectives, themes, and budget, a bureau advisor sifts through a plethora of potential speakers to recommend those most likely to resonate with the audience. This not only saves organizers considerable time and effort but also ensures the chosen speaker aligns perfectly with the event’s tone and message.

Reasons to Partner with a Speakers Bureau:

1. a. Expertise: Drawing from their experience, bureaus excel at matching event needs with expert speakers. They understand that while many speakers might be famous or highly recommended, not all of them would necessarily connect with every kind of audience. Bureaus, with their finger on the pulse of the speaking circuit, possess a nuanced understanding of how each speaker engages with diverse crowds.

b. Extensive Networks: High-profile speakers are surrounded by layers of gatekeepers and have packed schedules. With a speaker’s bureau, you gain access to their vast network, ensuring prompt responses and clarity on speaker fees.

2. a. Logistics Know-How: Behind every successful keynote address lies meticulous planning. From ensuring the audio-visual setup is flawless to handling travel and accommodation logistics, bureaus guarantee a seamless experience for both the organizer and the speaker.

3. a. Quality Assurance: Bureau’s vet every speaker they recommend. This ensures that you are not just getting a well-known name, but a speaker who consistently delivers impactful, engaging keynotes.

4. Peace of Mind: With a bureau handling speaker coordination, organizers can focus on other critical aspects of their event. Trusting the experts ensures the keynote will not only meet but often exceed, expectations.

Expectations When Collaborating with a Speakers Bureau:

  • Guidance and Support: Navigating the intricacies of hiring a speaker can be overwhelming. Bureaus simplify this process, especially when it comes to logistical and contractual details.

  • A Safety Net: Unforeseen challenges can arise, such as speaker cancellations. Bureaus provide insurance against such issues, swiftly finding replacements and handling fund transfers.

  • Pre-Event Coordination: Bureaus facilitate crucial pre-event calls between the speaker and client. These interactions help fine-tune event themes, objectives, and the overall keynote message.

  • Deep Speaker Insight: With their fingers on the pulse of the speaking world, bureaus offer unbiased perspectives, ensuring the best fit for each event.

  • Marketing Support: Many bureaus proactively promote your event on various platforms, amplifying its reach.

  • Transparent Costs: Bureaus embed their commissions within the speaker fee. This ensures clarity and helps avoid unexpected costs.

  • Event Planning Simplified: The convenience offered by a bureau goes beyond just speaker recommendations. They holistically support organizers throughout the event lifecycle, providing logistical coordination, contract negotiations, and an additional layer of protection against potential speaker complications.

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice Selecting the right speaker’s bureau is not merely a choice—it is an investment in the success of your event. Your choice can influence the atmosphere, impact, and overall reception of the occasion. While each event’s requirements and objectives differ, this comprehensive guide offers clarity and direction, simplifying what can often be an overwhelming decision-making process.

Whether you are seeking a bureau renowned for its experience, commitment to promoting diversity, specialization in business-focused narratives, or one that holds international prestige, rest assured that there is a perfect fit awaiting your discovery. By making an informed and discerning selection, you are not only ensuring the dynamism and relevance of your keynote speaker but also setting the stage for an event that resonates, inspires, and leaves a lasting impression on your audience. Remember, the choice of a bureau is more than just logistical; it is about creating moments that matter. So, arm yourself with knowledge, weigh your priorities, and confidently pave the way for an unforgettable event.

CHRIS DYER Chris Dyer is a recognized company culture and remote work expert. As a former CEO managing thousands of people, his companies consistently were named a best place to work. They have also been named a fastest growing company by Inc Magazine 5 times. Chris routinely consults and speaks, and Inc Magazine ranked him as the #1 Leadership Speaker on Culture. He has two bestselling books The Power of Company Culture and Remote Work, and has been named #5 on the Leadershum Power List, a Top 40 Change Management Guru, a Top 50 Global Thought Leader, and a Top 50 leadership podcast just this year. As a leadership speaker his goal is to inspire audiences with a straightforward delivery, insightful candor, and engaging humor. His talks leave audiences permanently transformed, offering innovative perspectives on leadership to improve company culture, and empower organizations to discover new successes. Countless companies have unlocked productivity, performance, and profits by implementing his 7 Pillar Strategy.

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