Rachelle Gardner, Guest Author
If you’re a speaker, or you’re trying to build yourself into one, then your most immediate challenge will be, “How do I get speaking engagements?” In your quest to get bookings, you’ll probably want to know whether you need to consider joining a speakers’ bureau. Here are a few things to know before you get started:
1. It can be helpful to be part of a speakers’ bureau since it’s one way to get potential speaking engagements, but its usefulness will depend on who you are, how “in demand” you are as a speaker, and who your speakers’ bureau is.
2. Speakers bureaus are NOT a magic ticket to lots of speaking engagements. Most of them are not proactive, i.e. there is nobody out there “pitching you” as a speaker. Most are basically a listing service.
3. If you’re gaining a reputation as a great speaker, AND if you have an effective, dynamic website website with plenty of information about your speaking topics, a speakers bureau can be valuable for getting more traffic and increasing your bookings.
4. Speakers bureaus used to be much more necessary and effective before the days of the Internet. Nowadays it’s more common for speakers to do most of their bookings on their own through their websites.
5. Many speakers feel the best thing a bureau does for them is manage the billing and the event contract, which can be valuable and save a lot of headache.
6. A speakers bureau is probably worthless if you’re not yet an accomplished speaker, or if you don’t have a compelling website.
7. You could be rejected as a potential client by a bureau. Most won’t take you on if you’re not already commanding a minimum of $3,000 to $5,000 per booking.
8. It’s usually not a good idea to sign an exclusive agreement with a bureau, which would mean they’re the only ones allowed to book you. Maintain the freedom to book your own engagements independently, and to sign with more than one speakers’ bureau.
9. Whether or not you’re with a bureau, always have a “speakers packet” ready to send upon request. Have an electronic version available that you can email, and a print version to mail if they want a hard copy. Some speakers have their complete “speakers packet” available online as well.
10. Getting to know other speakers and networking with them, both in person at conferences and online, is much more effective than waiting for a speakers bureau to book engagements for you.
If you want to know more, I recommend you ask as many speaker friends as possible: what speakers bureaus are you with? Are you happy with them?
Copyright 2012 by Rachelle Gardner. Rachelle Gardner is a Literary Agent with Books and Such Literary Agency based in California, founded by Janet Kobobel Grant. She works at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Visit her Blog.
Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com
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