Finding Speaking Engagements and Agent Representation for Motivational Speaking

12 Jan

Hello and welcome to my blog designed to assist motivational speakers from all backgrounds whether famous or not to increase their speaking engagements.  Last time I talked about what I thought 2009 would bring for the UK’s motivational speakers and how they could up their game.

Motivational speakers are in constant demand in the UK and around the world. At Pro-Motivate we can even tell you who is hot at the moment and who is not. We provide ongoing updates on our website of who our Top 10 speakers in demand are at any time for all to see. At present I can say that this is legendary British adventurer and ex-SAS soldier Sir Ranulph Fiennes, by virtue of the fact that he has over 40 years of fascinating stories and is amongst the world’s leading public speakers.

So what happens if you’re not Ranulph Fiennes and you’re looking for opportunities without a natural pipeline of business?

Put simply, you’ve got to work bloody hard to find it. This is where you need the help of speaker bureaus. In the UK the speaker market is fairly mediocre by comparison to the USA where agencies have been churning out speakers since the middle of the last century. In the UK the speaker market didn’t really exist prior to the 1990’s. There are a small number of reputable speaker bureaus and within them, agents who know their stuff and have the contacts that you would like them to have. There are also many web based bureaus that are effectively ‘skims’ of the leading bureaus – you should avoid these and can tell them usually by the poor quality of imagery and incorrect text that the speaker biographies contain. 

Speakers rely on bureaus for business. Sure, companies can go directly to a speaker via their website but this is additional hassle and the speaker agent is better placed to negotiate fees, suggest perhaps better alternative speakers and ultimately manage the entire booking to a satisfactory conclusion. The leading speakers will all derive about 90% of their business from the speaker bureau so getting into bed with a speaker bureau is highly recommended. I and Pro-Motivate would also strongly recommend a relationship with more than one agent, ideally 3 – 5, one of which should be in the USA if you have a particularly interesting background. But be aware in order to maximise your opportunities you’ll need to spend time building rapport with your bureau. 

A further option when working with a speaker bureau is to sign an exclusive contract with one bureau. This means that only this bureau will represent you in the open market. Unless you are Tony Blair or Bill Clinton who understandably cannot manage their own diary this is total waste of time. In the UK there is simply no need for exclusive speaker representation. Going exclusive means that you kill off gaining opportunities from other bureau and you’ll lose a lot of income at the same time. One speaker bureau doesn’t like booking via another speaker bureau especially if they know the bureau is also adding on a healthy commission. In the USA the speaker bureau’s split the agents commission 50/50 – in the UK this does not happen, the client two sets of commission without realising it. Pro-Motivate would like to see this overcharging by the few exclusive bureaus stopped immediately. Effectively the exclusive bureaus are getting the work from other agents and earning a full commission at the same time. That’s unethical business. 

Hopefully these tips are helpful and I wish you good luck in 2009.

If you require any further help feel free to drop me a line at Pro-Motivate.

Jonathan Curran

Founder & Director

Pro-Motivate International Speaker Bureau – London


9 Responses to “Finding Speaking Engagements and Agent Representation for Motivational Speaking”

  1. red August 18, 2009 at 4:29 am #

    hi… your blog is all good.. can we exchange links… thanks.

  2. Edward George Udell, I August 20, 2009 at 9:58 pm #

    I have been a free-lance speaker in churches, schools, youth organizations and for conferences for about 40 years (part-time). This year I began planning to go full-time.

    My daughter and her family are currently living about 80 miles south of London (Lymington, Hants). I will be visiting them over the Christmas holidays and would like to see if I can get some speaking opportunities.

    My African American/Cherokee maternal grandmother has slave-owner descendants from the Guptons, in Dorset. I believe they were related to Ncholas Gopheye from Somerset (between 1312-1377) and Robert Guppey (around 1392). My maternal grandfather’s name (Roland/Rowland) also comes from England and is a derivative of Germany.

    While in England visiting my daughter and her family, I plan to do some research on the people from which the names Gupton and Rowland/Roland come from.

    My stories about me discovering my ancestry, including why my mother and paternal grandmother named me “Edward George” have been interesting to some audiences. Perhaps English audiences would also find them interesting and would pay to hear me speak.

    I am also a descendant of a Buffalo Soldier from WWII who served in England. And, I am a minister who has also been a militant, community activist, and community consultant helping the poor and disenfranchised.

    Let me know if there might be places for me to speak while I am in England.

    Thank you!

    Edward George Udell, I

  3. Iyiola September 24, 2009 at 1:14 am #

    Can you link me to such forum in Nigeria

  4. MATTHEW OYE ARIKANKI January 13, 2010 at 7:01 pm #

    Matthew oye Arikanki is a leading motivational Speaker in Ghana, West Africa. His cutting-edge is how to turn failures around.His book CHANGE YOUR CHOICE, DESIGN YOUR FUTURE is a bestseller all over Ghana. Matthew will be in London from 30th January and would like to speak in any forum. How can you please arrange speaking engagement for Matthew.
    please contact through

  5. Yvonne M. Bennett March 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I am seeking opportunites to speak at schools, churches, and others events. The subject matter is not limited.

    Thanking you in advance

    Yvonne M. Bennett

  6. Ruby Clifton May 14, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    I sincerely appreciate your efforts to help out the budding new motivational speakers. The Bureaus like yours are a sort of a bridge between the clients and the speakers. Hats off to you!

  7. Gabriel Sawma July 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    I am a professor and author, and would like to be able to be a speaker on the topic of Islamic Shari’a in the area of banking and finance.

    Today, major banks in USA and Europe are introducing Islamic banking and finance to attract Middle Eastern investors who want their assets to be invested in accordance with Islamic laws.

    This topic can be of interest to US banks, financial institutions and multinational corporations who have business dealings with the Islamic countries in the Middle East, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

    Currently I am a professor of Arabic, Middle East Constitutional Law, Islamic Shari’a and Arab Culture and Civilization. I teach at a major university in New Jersey and author of a good selling book on the Aramaic language of the Quran.

    I am a lawyer with Middle East background, admitted to the Lebanese Bar Association and have done extensive legal work in the Arabian Gulf region.

    Associate Member of the New York State Bar Association and Associate Member of the American Bar Association.

    I feel strongly that there is a demand for speakers who understand Islamic Shari’a in the field of banking and finance, and would like to discuss with you or your representative this issue in detail, if possible.

    I have been interviewed by the BBC and CNN on the topic of Islamic Shari’a law.

    Thank you

    Prof. Gabriel Sawma
    Tel. (609) 915-2237

  8. Dr. Grant Kruhly October 1, 2010 at 12:09 am #

    Hello Mr. Curran

    I am interested in finding a agent who works on commission to find me speaking engagements in the mind/self help/health/spiritual area. I have always wanted to do this, I simply don’t know how to go about it. Can you help? I live in Georgia USA, age 53, qualifications that never end.

    Sincerely, Dr. Grant Kruhly, DC, Sensei, CEO Stronghammer LLC


  1. hard work - May 7, 2012

    hard work…

    […]Finding Speaking Engagements and Agent Representation for Motivational Speaking « Motivational Speakers Forum[…]…

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