Working with a Speakers Bureau is another way of getting paid speaking engagements.
The bureaus book speakers that are available to work with any bureau. There are bureaus that also co-broker speakers that have an exclusive contract with another bureau.
A small number of speakers will add the Bureau’s fee to their fee. The Bureau’s fees are between 25 – 30 per cent which is worth based on the opportunities speakers receive.
Working on commission, Bureaus want to be able to book as many speakers as possible. They work mostly with the high demand speakers and those that have the proven ability to do an outstanding job.
Speakers must provide a “bureau friendly” DVD, promotional materials, and sometimes a website. This means that nothing has any contact information for the speaker. The bureau will use the materials with the client so the client must contact the bureau and not the speaker.
The bureau offers several speaker options based on the client’s request. The speaker chosen is not contacted until the client asks if they’re available. This is when the speaker needs to be easy to work with, return the bureau’s phone call a/s/a/p, the speaker will be asked to place a “hold” on their calendar for the bureau. Some bureaus will share the client’s name if they know the speaker well and know that they will not try to contact the client directly. This is definitely unethical if they do contact the client directly! Bureaus share information with each other and the speaker needs to maintain integrity in all their dealings with them if they want to receive future offers.
Once the speaker has committed to, and placed a calendar hold, should they receive another inquiry for the same date, the speaker should contact the bureau that they committed to and hold the date for 24 hours to allow the bureau to contact the client to ask them to make the decision that day or get a different speaker.
Celebrity speakers may receive $40,000 or higher fees for their appearance and speaking. They normally work exclusively with a bureau or an agent. All bookings must go through the agent holding the contract. Their contract usually lasts for one year. If the Speakers like the agent that they are working with, they can share referral of agents with other speakers.