If you’re a keynote speaker new to the circuit and don’t know where to start to get your name out there… look no further! Here we’ve compiled a few tips from our expert speaker agents on how to make yourself present on every bureau’s radar and break into the industry:

1. Establish a basis of credibility as a speaker. We know that you are credible and established in your respective field, but the speaking industry is a whole other beast. Prep and establish yourself by: joining a local TEDx conference, enrolling in a program like 3 Ring Circus. Bonus points for writing a book!

2. Gather all the materials that a speakers bureau will be looking for. Bureaus are more likely to be interested in listing you on their roster if all of your information is presented straight from the get-go:

  • Short bio: It is important that you define yourself as more than a “public speaker”. It is more ideal to be a public speaker as a result of some other greater accomplishment or knowledge base. The short bio is your chance to sum your expertise in a few sentences. Tell us why we should suggest you as a speaker to our clients.
  • Long Bio: Expand on details you introduced in your short bio. This is not a resume and not a list of all the fortune 500 companies you’ve spoken with—we prefer a third person narrative of what makes you unique.
  • Headshot: It’s best to provide two options. Attach one horizontal and one vertical photo so bureaus can decide which option looks best on their website.
  • Videos: Be sure to send us at least two videos which show at least one uninterrupted minute of your speaking style. Please no over the top demo videos; we find that less is more. Also, make sure your videos are “bureau-friendly” and unbranded, AKA no personal website links or phone numbers on the video or in the video description, please.
  • Speech Topics: Define and refine your different areas of expertise. It is a good idea to include key takeaways and target audience.
  • Publications: Include a brief list of books, if any, that you’ve authored or co-authored. We love to include Amazon links on our speaker’s web pages so that our visitors can purchase your books.
  • Fee and travel details: Finally—please include your speaking fee (and be sure to specify if your quoted fee is net to you or commissionable). Also please detail your travel information; don’t be shy about listing your requirements (Do you require first-class travel or is coach acceptable? Do you have any specific hotel preferences? Or do you simply prefer a travel buyout?) It is a better route to state your requirements up front rather than request them later on. IMPORTANT: Your standard speaking fee should be based on the quality of the service provided, rather than the planner’s budget. It is seen as inappropriate to ask what the budget is before stating your honorarium.

3. Make sure you understand the difference between a speakers bureau and a speaker agency or management company.

  • speakers bureau serves as a resource for event planners, our clients. The bureau reaches out to collaborate with the speaker who meets (and hopefully exceeds!) criteria set forth by our client and the objectives for their event. The relationship is a partnership, in which both the bureau and speaker are focused on the common goal of bringing satisfaction to the event planner and attendees; and producing a smooth and successful event. Bureaus work with a wider range of speakers, on a case by case basis—as an open relationship.
  • speaker agency or management company is more so speaker-oriented. Management companies focus efforts on cultivating the speaker’s materials and stirring up engagements and press. They have a roster of exclusive speakers who they represent and are actively marketed to planners. Speakers bureaus work hand in hand with management companies and are often referred to synonymously. But from a speaker’s perspective, they are quite different.

4. Check out this video on how to become a keynote speaker.

So, have you established your credibility, gathered your materials, understood the role of a bureau, and now you’re ready to take the next step? Send an email to speakers@keyspeakers.com with your materials and introduce yourself! We are not always looking to add new speakers to our roster, but we will always circulate your info around our office to see if we have a need for your specific niche in our speaker repertoire. We’re excited to hear from you.