So your company or organization would like to hire a motivational speaker for an upcoming conference, internal meeting, fundraiser or other special event. Where do you start your search? Who do you call? How do you know you’re speaking with the right person? In a day and age where there are countless speaker booking agencies and speakers bureaus claiming to have the best motivational speakers, what is truly the best way to hire a motivational speaker for events and appearances?
At Celebrity Speakers Bureau (CSB), we’ve simplified the speaker booking process into 5 straight-forward tips that should be ubiquitous to any staff member, executive, entrepreneur or entry level employee searching to hire a motivational speaker for an event:
#1: Know Your Budget – No really, know your budget! We speak to hundreds of prospective clients weekly and more than 75% of them do not know what their true budget for talent is. While you might think this is normal, it is very challenging for an agency like ours that works off of a percentage of revenue for every deal. When you call or email us, we are vested in your success before we make any money. We are the best resource in the business and are doing work without a contract or a guarantee of payment. We don’t want to waste our time or yours so the only way we can determine legitimate buyers is your budget.
The conversation goes something like this, “Hi, I’m ________, I work for Mr. Johnson at company X. Mr. Johnson wants me to inquire about Will Smith the famous actor in the video above or GMA co-host Robin Roberts for an upcoming event in Dallas in 2018. We have no idea what our budget is. Can you check availability and fee?
If only we had a dollar for every time our speaker booking agents have had this conversation! Agents for celebrities like the two above and a 1,000 others will NOT check availability nor quote a fee without more concrete details. It doesn’t matter how many millions of dollars we spend with this particular agency a year, they have a process and policy and they stick to it. So the single biggest expenditure of time unaccounted for AKA wasted time, is this scenario. Tire kicking is ok, let’s just be transparent about it.
#2: Determine your theme/event messaging BEFORE researching speakers – It does seem a little bit like the chicken or the egg here, but trust us when we say it’s better to choose your theme first before building your event around any one speaker. Your first order of business when booking motivational speakers for any event after determining your budget should be to develop your theme/event messaging and THEN hire a motivational speaker whose speech best aligns with your theme.
We’ve found that there is a lot of wasted time in the planning process for event planners who utilize the shotgun approach to get fees/availability on a long list of speakers when there’s really only a handful of them that actually make sense for their event. A specific, narrowed speaker search of 5-10 good names produces far greater results in a more expedient fashion than a laundry list of desired motivational speakers.
#3: Figure out what you want your audience to take away from the event – We know you aren’t just expending extra budget that needs to be spent. You are vetting and hiring a motivational speaker because there is some greater good you hope to achieve with your event. Maybe it’s for customer retainment or increased corporate moral; maybe it’s to motivate your sales team or to drive new business or or or or… The list is endless right? But what is the actual reason for having a speaker? Define the purpose behind the mission and hire accordingly!
#4: Articulate the full scope of work for your speaker – This is absolutely imperative! You need to have a pretty good idea of what the talent’s scope of work will be before you reach out to them for fees. This is crucial from a cost and executional standpoint. Many speakers’ fees can fluctuate depending on the amount of time on-site and the full range of activities they will be involved in. Articulating the full scope of work for your speaker also assists when gauging interest from the speaker. Some speakers will not do a stand-up keynote but rather only make themselves available for moderated Q+A sessions. It’s super important not to put your speaker in a position in which they won’t perform at their best. Figure out everything you would like the speaker to do on-site and
#5 Make sure you can trust the agency you are working with – There are a lot of charlatans with nice websites. We see it all the time. Just because a webmaster has created a pretty site, doesn’t mean they can walk the walk. When you’re determining the best speaker booking agency to work with, ask the hard questions! Find out if they really know their stuff. Who are you speaking to? An aswering service based abroad or someone with decades of experience? Can they give you suggestions or just service your request? Are they who they say they are? Such a hard question but this is a big decision and you need to be sure of who you are dealing with and the legitimacy of their claims.
The process to hire a motivational speaker for an event isn’t rocket science but it isn’t baking a cake from a recipe book either. The more you bond with your speakers bureau and your representative, the more vested they will become in your success. Be personable and warm to the person on the other side of the call even though you are the client. As the old saying goes, you attract more flies with honey than vinegar!
If you would like to work with Celebrity Speakers Bureau to hire a motivational speaker for your next event, contact our team of speaker booking agents via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.