There are several directories which list "speakers bureaus." The trouble with most of them is that there is no qualification process. Many speakers list themselves as a way to get those planning events to call them.
Here is an overview of many methods of obtaining contact information for speakers bureaus.
Finding Speakers Bureaus On the Internet
One simple (but VERY time consuming) way to find speakers bureaus is to simply:
- Go to http://www.google.com
- Type in quotes: "speakers bureau." (remember the quote marks)
This will pull up 358,000 websites. This is REALLY time consuming to check each one. However,att the end of the Google search results page you will an option called SEARCH WITHIN THESE RESULTS.
Type in motivational speaker (or whatever your area of expertise is, perhaps "time management"), this narrows the results down to 10,200. Now you start to search.
The bad news is that within those results will be all of the free public service speakers bureaus that companies and groups create to promote their group or cause. What you are looking for are the commercial speakers bureaus. Using the term "commercial" will not assist in your search as bureaus do not use that term in their site descriptions. You need to check one by one.
Also, go to one of the many on-line phone books. These allow you to use the term "speakers bureau" to access phone records. Try again using "lecture bureau." You will need to search one state at a time. I found that about every one in 12 of those listed there were actually commercial speakers bureaus. The rest were speakers.
Once you get to a real speakers bureau's site, you need to discover if they are still in business. The industry as a whole has had a huge upheaval in the past three years. Many are no longer functioning, even though their websites are still up and running.
An additional challenge is that many bureaus have several addresses on the web, and use many companies names as methods to make sure they come up more often in search engines. You need to create a database and compare each mailing address and/or 800 number to determine who is who.
So, you are looking at weeks of work to go through each off those sites, and comparing data. Long days, and long weeks, trust me, I do it all the time.
Consider ways to purchase the information someone else had assembled.
Here are several you can try:
2004 Grand Master e-List of Speakers Bureaus and Agents
This e-book has hyperlinks to 407 speakers bureaus, lecture agents, and entertainment agents around the world. Just click on the bureaus name, and you will be taken to their website to see what they consider to be the hot topics TODAY. Noting which speakers and topics the bureaus are currently pushing will give you a very good idea of what products and directions you might consider.
Many bureaus have a page with a heading like, "ARE YOU A SPEAKER?" Click on that to see what they want you to do before you approach them about working with them.
As all of the bureau's current contact information is at their website, no other contact information is included on this e-book.
$39 e-book. Or, the $59 on CD which includes two books that are essential to your success with bureaus.
Emailing Speakers Bureau Blast
A service that will email your 100 word news release to over 400 speakers bureaus and agents, with over 500 email addresses. This service is highly restricted regarding for whom it will send messages out. You must have the sort of topic and materials which bureaus want to hear about.
You are not given the email addresses of these bureaus. This information is closely protected, which is why there are so many bureaus and agents on this list.
Cost $199 if you qualify.
International Directory of Lecture Agencies and Speakers Bureaus
Walters Speaker Services produces a directory of agents and bureaus. It contains over 430 agents and bureaus around the world. I find that they are not very current as they have no system in place to surf the net for new contacts. On the other hand, they are very well known, and bureaus often send them information, especially those bureaus just entering the industry. Their list includes the bureau name, and address. In several cases they also include one email address, contact names, a phone, fax and specialties. This directory is given away when you subscribe to their magazine, $95 (US).
National Speakers Association
NSA has a searchable website, in 2003 there were 27 members who said they are connected to the world of speakers bureaus. In looking over that list I felt that most are actually speakers bureaus. This is free information.
IASB (The International Association of Speakers Bureaus)
Formerly IGAB, International Group of Agencies and Bureaus. In May of 2003 IASB has 107members. Members must meet this criteria they have been in the
business of booking speakers for a two years
they must book four or more speakers
75% of their revenue must come from booking speakers.
If they qualify they are allowed to join.
Although they do not give out their list of members, non-member of IASB can access the database from their website. However, you will need to search one state at a time.