I know this is hard to believe, but not everything on the internet is true! I am not trying to crush your dreams, but it is time to face reality.
I remember when I was 10, my dad told me that the WWF was fake, and that Hulk Hogan could not really take 15 punches to the face without going down. It was crushing, but something I needed to hear. It was time for me to put on my big boy pants.
One of my biggest pet peeves in the speaker world is bad info on the good ol' internet. Event Professionals, be wary of what you read. It can only get you frustrated and add more work to your day.
A few thoughts:
Oprah will not speak at your event! You can search “Oprah Winfrey Keynote Speaker” and a few options will come up, but don’t believe the hype. I am not sure why these speakers bureaus list people like Oprah. She will only speak to groups related to her and does not work with bureaus. My hunch is that these bureaus post these names to get you to come to their site, contact them, and then lead you in a different direction. It is a case of the "old bait and switch," or as I like to call it, “speaker catfishing.” If you are on a dating app and a pic of Chris Hemsworth shows up, you don’t believe that Hemsworth is really that guy, do you? It’s the same in the speaker world.
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is! You are not going to get the lobster plate at your event for $10 a head and you are not going to book a former US President for $10,000. If a speakers bureau is giving you ridiculously low quotes, it is too good to be true. The majority of speaker fees quoted will be pretty consistent. Be realistic with your expectations as to what is quoted on the internet.
Some speakers bureaus do a great job promoting their website, but make sure it is legit. Just because they are the top find in a certain SEO category, does not mean they are the best in the industry. It means they are paying a lot for SEO ads or that they are great at SEO marketing. Granted, some of the top searches are great bureaus, but that's not always the case. I find it weird when I search an individual speaker’s name and a bureau is the top result, while the speaker's direct site is below them. To me, it looks like they are trying too hard. It reminds me of my dating days!
Look for speakers bureaus that are members of IASB. I am not vouching for all of them, but they are usually pretty good. There are standards to being a member of The International Association of Speakers Bureaus, and there is even an ethics committee. Yes, we have our own association! http://www.iasbweb.org/
I am all for social media and promoting speakers on the web. Heck, I am writing this blog and Speakinc is doing our fair share to get our name out there. All I am saying is to do your homework and, again, it if looks too good to be true, it probably is.
My dad taught me this lesson at 10 years old with the WWF and my big boys pants. No one is giving you a $1,000 gift card for sharing a post on Facebook, and no one is going to book an A-list celebrity for $3,000.
Save yourself some heartache and put a little more time into your research. Trust your partners and your speaker will create a fantastic experience at your next conference.