by Bruce Myint | December 01, 2004
Speakerville web pageFor planners seeking a high-profile speaker, the Internet can be a confounding place. An online hunt for motivational speakers, for example, might turn up more than 40,000 presenters, according to Michelle Lemmons, president of the Dallas-based International Speakers Bureau ( And even though many speakers have glitzy websites, Lemmons says, there’s still no guarantee they will be able to deliver at the lectern.
    To help prospective clients wade through the online morass, ISB recently launched Speakerville (, a virtual town divided into distinct neighborhoods, each representing specific areas of expertise. 
Visitors who click on town hall, for example, will find a list of political speakers, and the town’s Wall Street district is populated by a cadre of world-class economists and futurists. Users can access biographies, presentation topics and videos of the speakers in action.   
    Want more advice for sifting through the crowd? Following are some helpful tips offered by ISB.
    " Start looking for a speaker as soon as the meeting date is set, since many speakers book engagements up to a year in advance.
    " High prices don’t always mean high quality. Although a famous speaker might be a big draw, a name doesn’t guarantee a memorable presentation. Be sure to interview candidates, view their tapes and call references.
    " Find out if the candidate is certified. An experienced speaker who has evidence of client satisfaction can earn a Certified Speaking Professional designation.