"The Connection to the Best!"
How to Work with a Bureau
Founding member and Past President of IGAB
Meeting and program planners who have developed a partnership
with a speakers bureau have found distinct advantages and numerous benefits
in the relationship. The planner and the bureau are each experts in their
respective fields of endeavor. The combined efforts of the planner and
the bureau provides an enhanced program for the attendees of training conferences,
special events and national conventions.
What are some of the advantages of working with
a speakers bureau? A professional bureau can save a planner time and money.
Bureaus have background information and insight into the professionalism
of a speaker. They are aware of the contents of the speaker's presentation.
Instead of a planner spending valuable time and dollars "chasing down"
a speaker only to find that a specific individual is not available or the
fee required is not within budget limits, a planner can make one call to
a bureau which can access the information within a short period of time.
An Established Network
Thanks to a global professional association of speakers bureaus,
there is an excellent network of information available to member speakers
bureaus, hence superior service to bureaus' clients. Through the use of
current technology, the associations member bureaus have immediate access
to thousands of professional speakers, trainers and celebrities worldwide.
This is certainly a valuable resource for planners.
Develop a Working Partnership
By establishing a partnership with a bureau, a planner not
only saves time and gains information, there are other benefits. Bureaus
may be aware of a speaker who can fill your request, who also happens to
be scheduled to be in the area at the time of your event. When it is possible
to couple two separate events within the same area, the expenses for travel
can be considerably lower.
Another important aspect of partnering with a bureau is
evident in another area related to transportation. Any planner who has
had a speaker stranded in an airport due to snow, or wind shear has suffered
the trauma of finding a replacement within a short period of time. This
is a set of circumstances that can bring the vast network into action when
the speaker has been scheduled through a member bureau. A substitute speaker
can be obtained via a few faxes and telephone calls. If a planner has scheduled
a speaker directly, the same assurances may not exist. This also can be
true for situations in which the speaker has a serious illness or a family
emergency. The bureau partner is definitely a safety net for planners.
When a planner contacts a speakers bureau, the bureau
contact will ask specific questions designed to help determine the particular
needs and objectives of the event. The more information the planner provides
during the preliminary conversation with the bureau, the better the service
by the bureau. The use of "guessomatics" is not the expedient way to secure
the services of a professional speaker.
Speaker Selection Checklist:
Date and time of event
Location (country, state, city, facility)
Type of meeting/event
Budget for speaker(s)
Budget for expenses
Have you contracted any other bureau or directly contacted a speaker
Name of the decision maker
There are subjects listed on the checklist which may need
First, the area of special requests can be a point of miscommunication
between planner and bureau. Speakers instruct the bureau about what they
will or will not do for a specific fee. It is standard that an extra fee
will be charged for audio and video taping. Other additional services require
more of the speaker's time, therefore, an additional fee is usually charged.
A good rule to follow is to never assume a speaker can or will agree
to special requests, and if an agreement is reached, then anticipate an
Keep Communications Open
Why does the bureau ask if you have contacted either another
bureau or speaker? Due to the vast network it becomes apparent very quickly
when "yellow page" shopping occurs. For example: A planner calls three
bureaus asking all three of them for the same speaker. The first bureau
the planner called was the "parent" bureau of the speaker. The other two
bureaus follow through and contact the speaker's "parent" bureau only to
find that a tentative hold for the speaker has already been placed by the
same planner. What creates even more confusion is when two or more persons
are calling on behalf of the same planner. Do not risk losing the speaker
you would really like to have because of a mix up or due to inaccurate
preliminary information. Once a planner has developed a "partner" bureau,
this type of problem is eliminated.
Other questions frequently asked are, "Does it cost more
to use a bureau and who pays the bureau?" Rarely is there an additional
charge unless there are additional services involved. The speakers pay
the bureaus for placement.
Like Charisma Pros (CP), some bureaus have
several aspects to their businesses. These bureaus are established as "full-service"
companies. Entertainment and professional emcees including local, regional
and national talents are available. They have highly qualified and experienced
program consultants on staff. And, like CP, a few bureau owners have past
experience as meeting planners and/or association managers. They have previously
worked in the field of hotel sales, or have catering backgrounds. The level
of understanding between the planner and the bureau is certainly enhanced
when a bureau owner has a clear comprehension of the overall industry.
Because of their past experiences these bureau owners not only emphasize,
but they are willing to share their expertise. For example, one of my standard
inquires to the client is about the color of the room in which the speaker
is scheduled to appear. (A speaker in a dark brown suit will be "lost"
when standing in front of a dark paneled wall. By knowing the color in
the room the speaker can plan his wardrobe accordingly.)
Read the Contract
And last, however, not least - read the contractual agreement.
Do not hesitate to ask questions. An industry-oriented, professional bureau
will welcome the opportunity to develop a complete understanding about
speaker(s), fees, travel expenses and time schedules. When you find a bureau
that has an understanding of your organization's needs and gives you the
quality of service you prefer, you have probably found the right "partner."
All contents Copyright © 2006 by Charisma Pros unless
otherwise specified. This information is provided "as is" without warranty
of any kind, either expressed or implied, including, but not limited to,
the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose,
or non-infringement. This information could include inaccuracies or typographical
errors. Changes may be periodically added to the information herein.
Contact: Charisma Pros, a division of ARREC
116 West Osage
Greenfield, IN 46140 USA
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