If you’ve ever attended a name-brand conference, convention, or corporate event, chances are the keynote speakers were booked through a professional speaker agency. But what exactly is a speaker agency and what role do they play?

A speaker agency, also called a speakers bureau, is a company that represents professional public speakers and subject matter experts. The agency acts as the intermediary between the speakers and event organizers to coordinate booking speaking engagements.

Services Provided
The primary role of a speaker agency is to market and promote their roster of speakers to potential clients like companies, trade associations, universities, and event planners. The agency handles all of the logistics around booking speakers including negotiations, contracts, travel arrangements, and more.

For the speakers they represent, these agencies provide valuable services like managing their calendar, fielding inquiries, setting speaker fees, and identifying speaking opportunities that are a good fit. Experienced agencies also help speakers craft their marketing materials, refine their talks, and build their brand.

From the client’s perspective, working with a reputable speaker agency simplifies the process of researching, vetting, negotiating, and booking high-quality professional speakers. They can browse an agency’s online roster and get personalized recommendations that align with their event goals, budget, and audience.

Exclusive vs. Non-Exclusive
There are generally two types of speaker agencies – exclusive and non-exclusive.

Exclusive speaker agencies represent their speakers on an exclusive basis, meaning that speaker is not allowed to be represented by any other agency. The exclusivity provides more control but can be more restrictive.

Non-exclusive agencies represent their speakers on a non-exclusive basis, so the speaker is free to be represented by multiple agencies simultaneously. This provides the speaker with more opportunities but also introduces more competition between agencies.

Top speaker agencies represent some of the biggest names in various industries and charge premium fees that can reach into the six-figures for a single speaking engagement. Other agencies operate on more of a regional or niche level with lower fees.

No matter the size, a professional speaker agency is a invaluable resource for both speakers looking to get booked and event organizers looking to bring in impactful speakers. With their connections, strategies, and negotiation skills, they help facilitate incredible talks that can shift audiences’ mindsets.