Speakers Bureaus FAQs

What are speakers bureaus?

Speakers bureaus are companies that act as a bridge between organizations wishing to hire keynote speakers and hard-to-reach keynote speaking experts. Bureaus can provide guidance, assurance, and expert advice to help create perfect engagements for both the speakers and event organizers.

What services do speakers bureaus provide?

Many speakers bureaus provide marketing, finance, contracts, sales, and event coordination services for both the keynote speakers and the event organizers.

What do speakers bureaus charge?

Speakers bureaus fees and commissions vary on the size of the bureau and where they are located in the world. Some bureaus charge a flat commission to companies to book a speaker while others may charge up to 30 percent of a keynote speaker’s fee. For companies hiring speakers, the speakers bureau commission is often included in the keynote speaker’s flat rate, so it does not appear as an additional charge. 

Do all keynote speakers work for speakers bureaus?

No. Keynote speakers can be freelance or exclusive. Some keynote speaker experts work exclusively for one speakers bureau, while others are completely freelance doing all their own marketing, event coordination, and sales. Some keynote speakers do both: they are listed with various bureaus and also market themselves.

What are the benefits for event organizers using speakers bureaus?

Speakers bureaus provide expertise and experience for event organizers to help select the perfect speaker for the event and guide them every step of the way so the event goes off without a hitch. Bureaus also provide insurance. Bureaus have relationships with many keynote speakers and can often quickly provide a replacement speaker in case your selected keynote speaker is unable to perform due to illness or unforeseen events.

Why should keynote speakers work with speakers bureaus?

Speakers bureaus have relationships with many event organizers and can broaden the reach of any keynote speaker who wishes to speak more often. Speakers bureaus can also take care of all the administrative details—from vetting leads to collecting payment—so the only thing a speaker has to do is show up and perform their talk.

What types of speakers bureaus are there?

Not all speakers bureaus are the same. Here is a sample of the types of speakers bureaus you might encounter: 

  • Local (city, town): Represent speakers in that municipality (e.g., City of Durham Speakers Bureau).
  • University: Represent university professors and administrators (e.g., Stanford Speakers Bureau).
  • Literary: Represent authors and writers (e.g., Harper Collins).
  • Celebrity: Represent famous actors, athletes, and musicians (e.g., CAA).
  • Political: Represent politicians, news anchors and journalists (e.g., WSB)
  • Business: Represent CEOs, thought leaders, tech experts and motivational speakers (e.g., BigSpeak Speakers Bureau).
  • International: Represent speakers and have offices around the world (e.g., London Speakers Bureau).
  • Boutique: A small agency representing a few select and notable speakers (e.g., D’Amelio Network Speaker Management).
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