I’ve just put up another “highlight” post about the fascinating events that I’ve keynoted or spoken at for the 2nd quarter of the year. It’s a good overview of the unique topic areas and clients that I take on.
So how do these events come about? I’m often asked by people as to how clients discover and book me. Some of it happens directly – through word of mouth, previous clients, or by people finding my Web site and learning about the highly customized keynotes that I do. But a good number of my bookings also come in from a number of major global speakers bureaus who have actively represented me for a number of years.
These bureaus are aware of my expertise, the topics I cover, and most importantly, how I work with their clients to build a highly relevant customized presentation. (Should you have found me through one of these bureaus, let’s make sure they are involved in any contracting process. It makes no difference to your cost, and they can help to ease the contracting and logistics process. They are also an invaluable resource when you are looking for other speakers or people of note).
Given their role, I invest a lot of time with my bureau partners. They are critical in helping people find the right experts for particular meetings, and only represent people who have proven themselves in terms of insight, content, and presentation capabilities. Some of my partners are the biggest in the industry: they range from groups such as Dallas based Gail Davis & Associates (who booked me into the PGA of America and an event in St. Andrews Scotland in one year!!!), the Washington Speakers Bureau, Keppler Speakers, Leading Authorities (all in Washington), and the Toronto based National Speakers Bureau, among many others.
I often take the time during my travels to visit with these folks to keep them up to date. This quarter saw two great visits, to the Washington Speakers Bureau and to the Harry Walker Agency.
Walking into WSB was fun — for my visit, they did place my book, The Future Belongs to Those Who are Fast, next to those of some other folks they represent.
(I am not under any delusions; the spot is used regularly, and it was replaced shortly after when Simon T. Bailey visited…)
In any event, I met with 25 folks on the WSB team and had a great discussion on the trends, topics, business issues and more that I am seeing in the industry. I ended up writing a blog post that they distributed to their client list: take a moment to read Keeping Up with the Speed of Change: Future Trends in the Speaking Industry.
I also had the chance to visit one of the other bureaus that represents me, the Harry Walker Agency in New York City, just a few weeks ago. They have a great client list; for example, they booked me in to headline the Sports & Fitness Industry Association leadership meeting, where I had the distinct honour of being followed on stage by Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL.
The neat thing about Harry Walker is that they are the exclusive agent for another couple of folks new to the speaking circuit. (What I would give to share the stage with either of them! Being an optimistic futurist, I am pretty certain that this will happen! Michelle and Barack, here’s to a great keynote together at some point! I’ll cover the future trends, and one of you will talk about what we need to do to get there — or something like that…..)
I take a lot of care to ensure that all of my bureau partners are kept in the loop on my topics, and these visits are a critical part of the process. These are but two; I’ve visited many of my other partners through the years.
To close out this post, here’s one other speakers bureau item of note: just the other day, I had a session with the Board of Directors of a major credit union in Toronto; it was held at the Westin Airport Hotel in that city.
Driving in, I realized that this was the very hotel where I did my very first speaking gig, way back in October 1993, for a packaging company. That event, which would launch a career that now spans 24 years and over one million people, was arranged by my longest surviving speakers bureau parters, the National Speakers Bureau in Toronto.