“The internalizing and transfer of information has been pivotal throughout human history. It led our ancestors to build stone tools, then communities then agriculture. It built our cities has dispelled our false understandings of our world and universe, it literally evolved our brain and will continue to change every aspect of human existence whether you like it or not.”

Daniel A. Janssen

Professional Speakers Guide

  1. Dealing with the Public

What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it.

~ Alexander Graham Bell ~

    1. What Meeting Planners look for in a Speaker:

      1. Advice from the National Speakers Bureau


Working with a Public Speaker: The applause could ring in your ears for weeks – a resounding echo of approval from 250 of your colleagues. The keynote speaker you chose for the company’s biggest sales meeting, the only meeting your CEO was going to attend this year, was a hit.

The following is a step-by-step process to ensure that your conference or meeting is a success and speaker choice warrants a standing ovation.

Program: In determining the most appropriate speaker for your program, consider: your audience, theme, organization, and the purpose of your conference or meeting. Determine your budget

for the speaker and decide whether you are looking for a speaker to provide information, inspiration, entertainment, or a combination of all three. Are you looking for a profile speaker who will be a draw for delegates? A motivational business speaker to address key issues for your organization? An expert in the field of new technologies, managing change, or emotional intelligence?

Recommendations: Once you’ve decided on the type of speaker you are looking for and a topic focus, your speaker search should start with asking colleagues, a speakers bureau or meeting planner for their recommendations of great speakers they’ve heard and/or speakers who can identify with your organization and your needs. A speakers bureau (like the National Speakers Bureau) can be your most experienced source for leading speakers across North America and around the world. Typically, bureaus provide a complimentary service to assist you with recommendations and securing speakers. In some cases, bureaus are the direct agents to the speakers they represent. Ask your bureau or the speaker for presentation fee information and any additional fees or expenses you might incur.

Fees: Most speakers have keynote (1 – 1.5 hrs ), half day (2 – 3 hrs) or full day (4 – 6 hrs) fees. Fees quoted are normally “plus expenses” from the speakers home base. These expenses can include: airfare, ground transportation, meals, presentation materials, accommodation and audio/visual requirements. Note that speakers’ fees are for the presentation itself. Some speakers will charge additional fees for attending pre or post presentation events.

Profile: Ask for a speaker’s profile kit, including a biography, one page summary sheet, featured media articles, a list of their topic specialties, a client list and testimonial letters. The testimonial letters are often unsolicited and provide further confirmation of the speaker’s talent and previous client response. Speakers may also be able to provide a copy of a book they have written for your review and consideration for purchase as a value added incentive or gift for delegates.

Viewing: Try to see the speaker at another event in advance of confirmation for a first-hand view of their style, content and audience response. If you are unable to attend an event to see the speaker in advance, ask for an audio/video of a presentation. When viewing, watch mainly for style and content, as the speaker’s energy and audience dynamics don’t often project well in a video.

Holds: Once you’ve obtained recommendations, reviewed the recommended speakers profiles and type of information they present, you are ready to narrow down your preferences and check availability. This decision will be based on matching your needs with the most appropriate speaker. Ask to place a non-obligatory ‘hold’ on the speaker’s calendar, in order to secure the speaker’s availability for your group while you take some time to make a final decision and confer with your colleagues or committee if need be.

Confirmation: You’ve envisioned what your ideal speaker can do for your group and can’t wait to plan for the presentation! When confirming the speaker, either your bureau or the speaker should send you a contract directly outlining the terms of the presentation as discussed. These terms often include: the speakers name, date and time/length of presentation, topic, speaking fee, location of event, audience information, a pre-event questionnaire, travel, accommodation and audio/visual requirements, as well as terms outlining cancellation and payment policies. Request a presentation evaluation form, a photo of the speaker and complete biography for your promotional purposes. This information can be used in your event brochure, on signs at the event, etc. The person introducing the speaker should receive a biography as well.

Additional Events: Consider additional events featuring the speaker – pre/post event receptions, media opportunities or book sales and signings. These events can bring more profile to your conference or meeting and provide value-added opportunities for delegates to meet the speaker personally. Ask your bureau about the details or additional costs involved with incorporating these events.

Your Organization: Once you’ve contracted the speaker, be sure to be in contact with the him/her, in order to discuss your organization’s needs and the focus of your event. This will help ensure a customized presentation. The speaker should want to know: – the nature of your organization. – description of the audience – ratio of men/women, size, management or front line employees, etc. – type of event – conference, sales meeting, client appreciation, etc. – theme or key focus of the event – topics to avoid and/or to focus on – other elements of the event – key issues for your organization – length of the presentation and timing – opportunity for a question & answer period.

At the event: Once you are at the event, ensure you know what time the speaker is arriving and where he/she is staying. Try to meet with the speaker in advance of the presentation, to review the event so far and ensure everything is set up as discussed, especially any audio/visual. Let the speaker know if everything is running on time and allot an additional 15 minutes after each to for any delays. Most speakers will want to arrive approx. 1 hour in advance of the presentation to get a sense of the room, to check audio visual equipment and to set up their materials. Ensure the speaker meets the person introducing him/her. In addition, the speaker may meet with audience members and key influencers in your organization which can lead to a more customized, anecdotes or information provided just prior to the presentation.

Enjoy! Sit back and enjoy the inspiration, information and entertainment! Have someone scheduled to thank the speaker and comment on the presentation afterwards. At this point, introduce a question and answer period if appropriate.

Evaluation: After the presentation, meet with the speaker to provide instant feedback and ensure plans for his/her departure are arranged. Compile an evaluation from audience members and your own views to provide the speaker and their agent/bureau with feedback on the presentation. This evaluation will also assist you in determining the success of your event and in choosing speakers for next time. Your bureau and/or the speaker will often contact you after the event to get feedback from you directly and ensure all went well. Expect an invoice following the presentation for the speaker’s expenses.

Feedback: If you were very impressed with the speaker or have concerns about the presentation afterwards, don’t hesitate to put your thoughts in writing. A constructive letter helps both the bureau and the speaker improve their services to you for the next event. And a glowing review is a wonderful way to thank both the bureau and the speaker for the presentation.

      1. Speakers International


If you are a professional speaker, celebrity, author, or entertainer, we will be happy to consider

listing you with our group. After we review your materials, we will contact you to discuss our mutual interests and any possible arrangement. Please submit the following non-returnable materials to us:

Biographical summary/one-sheet/overview of qualifications and experience

Topics with brief description

List of published work or samples

Head shot (color)

Fee schedule

Audio or video of you performing

Submit information to: Speakers International Attn: Sean Alexander – District Director

4825 Washington Street, Hollywood, FL 33021

This post was written by Daniel Janssen.

Daniel A. Janssen

4 Comments on “Professional Speakers Guide”

  1. Dan says:

    Great set of content

    1. Russell says:

      Hey Dan,

      I absolutely agree. This guide is a great help to me and it’s very well organized.

  2. Lena says:

    Look forward to more of his work.

  3. Zangwill says:

    It’s a very useful book!


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