How Do I Book a Celebrity Keynote Speaker?

by Leah Doyle | March 7, 2017


If you’re planning a big event, you likely want to hire a top-notch keynote speaker to set the tone, inspire your attendees, and bring everything together to achieve your goals. It’s natural to want to hire a household name celebrity, someone who will bring instant credibility – and possibly lots of media attention – to your event.

However, it’s important to understand that the bigger the name you want to hire, the more complicated and expensive it may be. Even with a big budget to cover the speaking fee, you need to know the best way to contact a celebrity speaker to start negotiations. To do that, your best bet is likely to work with a talent agency or speakers’ bureau.

What Is a Speakers’ Bureau?

A speakers bureau is a company that helps its clients connect with talent for keynote speeches and celebrity appearances. They serve as a formal way to connect meeting professionals with speakers and big name celebrities to add to their event agenda.

How Does a Speakers Bureau Work?

Generally, a speakers bureau maintains a database of different individuals from a variety of areas and industries, including sports, business, science and technology, entertainment, education, and politics. The speakers bureau provides meeting professionals with the biographies of the speakers they work with, as well as information on the average fee the speaker charges, highlights from their presentations, and topics the speaker generally addresses in his or her talks.

When a client identifies the type of speaker or celebrity they’d like to hire, they contact the speakers’ bureau, rather than reaching out to the celebrity directly. Then the staff at the speakers bureau begins the process of making suggestions, and providing the client on all of the pertinent details on each speaker, including fee, availability, relevant topic information, etc. The speakers bureau usually helps both parties draft an agreeable contract for the speaking engagement and aids in making the booking go smoothly. They can also help their clients and speakers work out details of the speaking fee and travel expenses.

Is There Additional Cost Associated With a Speakers’ Bureau?

No. The vast majority of speakers working with bureaus maintain a high degree of fee integrity, which means they charge the same fee no matter who contracts them.

What Are the Advantages of Using a Speakers Bureau?

Although it’s tempting to convince yourself that contacting a speaker directly would be easier than working through a speakers bureau, that often isn’t the case – especially when you’re looking to hire a household name celebrity as your keynote speaker. Top-level celebrities simply aren’t accessible to everyone. When you’re searching for a celebrity keynote speaker, the best way to contact with one is through a reputable bureau.

Not only does a speakers bureau help with making initial contact with a celebrity speaker, they also help ease and facilitate the entire booking process, allowing their clients to focus on the other details that go with planning a great, successful event. Additionally, when you work with a speakers bureau, you’re able to avoid hiring a speaker who lacks experience and skill that won’t achieve the results you’re hoping for with your event.

Topics: Drive & Optimize

Written by Leah Doyle

Leah originally joined SpeakInc in 2006 and currently serves as their Digital Marketer and Analyst. Originally from Southern California, Leah is a graduate of San Diego State University. She currently lives in Jacksonville, FL with her husband, John, and their two children. If she's not taxiing her kids to the ball fields, you can find her at the beach or a local coffee shop!
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