The Green Room

I book high profile speakers for events. AMA

Hello,
I’m Dwight Ireland, Vice President of US and International Sales at Speakers’ Spotlight. I have worked in the events industry for over 10 years and I believe that honesty and integrity are the keys to building long lasting relationships.

I developed my expertise for matching the right talent with the right event through my experiences working with musicians at a national music agency, followed by a role as the Associate Director of Speaking Engagements at a globally recognized social enterprise. I am based in Canada and have worked internationally in South Africa, Los Angeles, and New York.

I’ll be here to answer all your questions live about booking speakers for your events on 2020-11-03T16:00:00Z2020-11-03T17:00:00Z

You’ll need to sign up to the forum to take part. Once you have signed up, add this event to your calendar by clicking the three dots in the invitation above. See you soon!

Hi Dwight,
Thanks for doing this AMA, looking forward to chatting on Tuesday! Can you tell us the best experience you have had working with a speaker and the worst?

Hello Dwight
I would love your advice on once you book a speaker how much time do you think you need to spend briefing speakers? I often find speakers are tight on time and especially with online events, I only get to speak to them for about 10 - 15mins on briefing them. How can you brief a speaker effectively?

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That’s a great question. I’ve had many amazing experiences working with speakers, and it’s a result of them being prepared, engaging and connected to their audience. The testimonials we receive after their events from attendees, are a good measure of a great experience. There isn’t a terrible experience that I can think of, we expect a high standard of professionalism when recommending a speaker and when adding them to our roster.

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My recommendation would be to set the expectations with speaker before going to contract. I think it’s reasonable to have a 60-minute pre-event call with a speaker 2 - 4 weeks before an event. Ten minutes isn’t enough time for them to get to know you or details about the audience.

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Hi Dwight,
I have a question about budgets. Sometimes the fees for a speaker can be prohibitive. Is there much room for negotiation in the listed fees? What should we do if we have very little budget?

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Hey! Thanks for this AMA, in your opinion, what makes a speaker really engaging and what would be your tips for speakers presenting online? :slight_smile:

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Hi Jonny, yes I totally understand where you’re coming from in terms of limited budgets. When I’m doing an initial call with a client, I try to get a sense of alignment in terms of content (what’s the topic that you want covered) and budget (what is your range). There can be flexibility in terms of budget with some speakers, so it doesn’t hurt to put your best offer forward and see if they accept. I know that some speakers may reduce their fee because they’d like to get in front of a certain audience. Or they may be doing an event in a city nearby the following day. There’s definitely more flexibility now, with speakers not having to travel due to COVID-19. There’s an opportunity to do multiple engagements in one day.

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Hi Dwight, It would be great to hear your thoughts on getting the speakers involved with promoting the events they’re participating in, high profile often means large reach, which is such a great opportunity for raising awareness for the event. What’s best practice for getting them involved with the event promo

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Hi Shelby, I think audiences today, really like a speaker that has a sense of humor and is being themselves on camera. Some tips for presenting online, invest in good lighting, a great internet connection, and find ways to engage with your audience (whether it be polling, stopping to ask questions, etc…) Speaking for 60 minutes into a camera is a much different experience than being on stage, and I think audiences like the idea of having someone that involves them online during a virtual keynote. We’re seeing a tendency for shorter keynotes (30 minutes) with a 20 - 30 minute Q&A for virtual presentations.

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Hi Lau, my recommendation would be to set expectations before you go to contract to see if the speaker is comfortable with promoting your event. I’ve found that some are comfortable with doing short announcement videos that you can use to market to your database. In some cases, they may not want to promote an event to their followers, as it may limit future opportunities to speak at events within the same industry.

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Hi Dwight,
As event organisers, one of our no 1 nightmares is a speaker not turning up for some reason! Can you give us some tips on how to manage that? Has it ever happened on an event you have worked on?

Thanks that’s useful to know!

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Also, do you have any resources or documents you could share on how to brief speakers and/or adapting to online events?

Yes, that would be a nightmare. I’ve never had a situation where a speaker just didn’t show up for an event. However, I have had situations where there has been a flight cancellation or an illness the night before or the day of an event. One of the benefits of working with a Speakers bureau is that we have a team working in the background to ensure that the speaker is well prepared and has a complete travel and event itinerary leading up to the event. If a speaker’s flight is canceled or is too ill to travel, we have a database of speakers that we can pull from at the last minute to replace the one that can’t attend the event. We want the Event planners to sleep well at night, knowing that we’ve got all bases covered.

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We actually do, and you can find the link here It’s a resource we created to help Event Professionals, understand some of the questions to ask when preparing for an online event. Some key points include: knowing what platform you are using (Zoom, WebEx, etc…), will you be recording the event, will the recording be used again in the future.

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We have worked with some amazing speakers at live events but some have found it really difficult to present online in this new virtual world of events. Have you any tips to help them overcome the nerves?Thanks

I think it’s important for them to understand that what worked for them at in-person events, may not work online. As a speaker it’s hard to get a feel for what’s working or not, when you can’t see the reaction of the audience while delivering a virtual keynote. It’s important to do a tech rehearsal a few days in advance, to eliminate any nerves about tech issues. Then the best thing to do is get out there and have fun, believe in your message and be authentic and the audience will love you.

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:smiley: That’s a wrap y’all! Thank you so much Dwight for sharing your expertise and thanks everybody for all of your questions.

If you have any other questions for Dwight, you can contact him on here @dwight.ireland or on the Speakers’ Spotlight website.

Join us in the Green Room same time next week for another Ask Me Anything!

It’s been a pleasure. Thanks for all of the great questions, everyone!!!

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