Q: Help! I’m new to this world. How does a Speakers Bureau work?

If you have never worked with a speakers bureau before, you may wonder how to approach a bureau. Speakers bureaus exist to assist clients through every step of the speaker booking process, from initial proposal to contact, to the podium. We work on the clients’ behalf (that’s you!). We negotiate, facilitate, and communicate on your behalf, saving you time and providing you support. Because we work with so many speakers, we know who can deliver what–we can give you insights to which speakers will go the extra mile for you, and which speakers aren’t so easy to work with. Working with us helps to ensure a successful event.

Q: What’s the difference between a speakers bureau, a speaker management firm, and an agent?

A speakers bureau (like Goodman Speakers) curates, presents and offers the services of speakers, working as a matchmaker on your behalf to find the right speaker for your company or organization’s event. A speaker management firm provides services to the speaker including managing their bookings, maintaining their calendars, scheduling travel, and often assisting in their marketing. An agent, in this industry, refers to the person in a speakers bureau or speaker agency that acts on behalf of the speaker (the seller) and/or on behalf of the customer (the buyer).

Q: If a speaker has an exclusive contract with a given speakers bureau, must I book the speaker with that bureau?

No. With exceptions, most “exclusive speakers” are available for co-brokering. Think real estate: you generally don’t have to buy your home from the agent that listed it.

Q: Can’t I just book a speaker directly?

Sure—while you can book a speaker directly, there are so many reasons to partner with a speakers bureau. First, consider vetting… anyone can create a website and a 5 minute reel that makes them look and sound great. But, being able to hold an audience captive for an hour or more is no easy thing to do! Most corporate meeting planners would not choose to book direct; they rely on their speakers bureau for ideas and insights, to curate the best speaker for their needs, to oversee the booking and the details of the event contract, and to help simplify the paperwork and billing. Lastly, in the unlikely event of a cancellation, that’s where a speakers bureau can really shine. You don’t pay extra for a speakers bureau, so why not seek the advice of an expert?

Q: A colleague told me to work only with an IASB-member speakers bureau. What does that mean?

What your colleague meant when they said you should work with an IASB-member was that you should choose a speakers bureau that adheres to rigorous professional standards. Sadly, not all speakers bureaus do. Bureaus that belong to IASB, the International Association of Speakers Bureaus, have pledged to conduct their business in accordance to the IASB Code of Ethics.

Q: What if I want a speaker who is not featured on your website?

Don’t worry! Goodman works with many speakers, not just ones listed on our website. If you already know of a speaker you may be interested in, we will get you all of the resources necessary to facilitate your decision and getting you matched up with your speaker. While our website is comprehensive, it is not all-inclusive!

Q: How are speaker fees set?

Speaker fees are set by the speaker.

Q: There are so many good speakers, how do I choose the one “right” for my event?

There are literally thousands of speakers in the marketplace today with more joining daily; selecting the right one is difficult. We help you choose by first getting a basic understanding of your organization and its needs, your budget, and the theme and message you need communicated to your attendees. Then we curate a group of speakers for you to review based on these factors, with accompanying video, biography, head shot, and speech topics they have specific expertise in. Once you select a speaker from our proposal, we follow up by spending the following months with you, personally customizing your meeting down to the finest details.

Q: What’s a Hall of Fame speaker?

The National Speakers Association (NSA) established the Council of Peers Award for Excellence Speaker Hall of Fame® in 1977 to honor professional speakers who have reached the top echelon in the field. Admission into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame® is a lifetime award for speaking excellence and professionalism. Inductees are chosen by their peers. Each candidate must excel in five categories: message, presentation/delivery, experience, professionalism and collateral material. The award is not based on celebrity status, number of speeches, or amount of income. As of 2017, 237 men and women have been inducted into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame®.

Q: Can I speak directly with the speaker before I make a decision?

Most all of our speakers are available to speak with you before you have made a selection and after you have made your final decision. Since we insist on a personal and customized approach to meeting planning, we will facilitate the best communication between you and your speaker possible. Whatever it takes to make you comfortable and content that your decision is the best, Goodman Speakers will be there at every step.

Q: How much time does the speaker actually spend with us?

For a keynote, typically the speaker comes in the night before the mainstage and will often join your welcome event. There are always opportunities for speakers to do small group sessions after the keynote or special workshops. Tell us your needs and we’ll help make it happen.

Q: Do longer presentations cost more?

Generally, yes. Since each speaker sets their own fee, fees vary from speaker to speaker. Some have a flat cost, others will have a 1-hour (keynote), half day, and full day cost.

Q: What happens if my speaker cancels?

Fortunately, cancellations rarely happen. When they do, that’s where we shine. For every meeting or event, we always have a Plan B ready to go.

Q: Will speakers do extras?

It depends on the speaker. Let us know your needs early in the meeting planning process.

Q: Can we make audio or video recordings of the speaker and his and her content at the event?

Speakers own their content and they vary in regard to the protection of their intellectual property. We are happy to advise you on a speaker’s attitudes about recording and to ensure that the details are noted in your contract.

Q: What should be in the contract?

We will guide you through the process of what should be in your contract start when we start working together.

Q: How do you measure if a speaker is successful?

Aside from counting standing ovations … how do you measure success? We are happy to partner with you to provide results from informal conversations with stakeholders, to attendee surveys, and more.

Q: I’m a speaker and I’d like to develop a relationship with Goodman Speakers. What do I do?

We’re always on the lookout for professional speakers. Read the speaker submission criteria. Submit your materials, and we will contact you if we believe there’s a fit.

Q: What does a speakers bureau charge?

In most cases our services cost you nothing, because Goodman Speakers retains its fee in the form of a commission from the speakers we book.

Q: What kind of budget do I need for a speaker? What if I have a limited budget?

Spending a lot of money does not always mean you will get the best speaker for your event. We have relationships with a variety of speakers from which to find you a speaker that best fits your needs, at a price you can afford. Keynote speaker fees generally start at $5,000 and up. In general, the fee for a professional speaker will vary based on experience, skill, reputation and notoriety of the speaker.

Q: What else do I need to include in the speaker’s budget?

When you’re budgeting, plan for the speaker’s fee + expenses. The speaker’s expenses, such as travel, hotel accommodations, meals, and out of pocket expenses, are usually considered additional to the speaker’s fee.

Q: How far ahead should we book a speaker?

Choose and book your speaker as early as possible. However, it’s never too late to try to book a speaker. Just ask!

Q: Which speakers does Goodman Speakers have relationships with?

Goodman Speakers has relationships with hundreds of speakers. The speakers you see on our website represent of snapshot of who’s available.

Q: Do you vet your speakers?

Absolutely! Vetting speakers is a priority and an ongoing process. We regularly meet with professional speakers to find out who they are, their area of expertise, their passions, their strengths … and their limitations. We want to understand their message, presentation/delivery, experience, and professionalism.

Q: I can’t find a speaker I want on your site. Help!

Don’t worry! Goodman works with many speakers, not just ones listed on our website. If you already know of a speaker you may be interested in, we will get you all of the resources necessary to facilitate your decision and getting youmatched up with your speaker. While our website is comprehensive, it is not all-inclusive!

Q: Size-wise, would you describe yourself as a boutique bureau?

Absolutely. Goodman Speakers is small by design. This is what enables us to have principal involvement on every project and keeps our office feeling like family.

Q: When I work with you, will I work directly with a partner?

Yes! Goodman Speakers is devoted to its clients, and every client works directly with a principal or partner. Our small size enables us to do what we enjoy most: working 1:1 with clients and speakers.

Q: What areas do you specialize in?

Goodman Speakers works with clients across most major business sectors; we make it our business to understand the factors shaping business today and the key influences across industries. With geographic roots in the insurance capital of the world, we bring deep expertise in the world of insurance and financial services.

Q: How much does it cost to work with Goodman Speakers?

It doesn’t cost anything to work with us!

Q: Can you provide referrals?

Absolutely. Just ask!

Q: How can we start working together?

Easy! Email Jenna Jorge at jenna@goodmanspeakers.com or contact us here.

As Your Partners

We have created a resource to help you plan the best meeting for your organization.


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