For 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 (www.internationalspeakers.com
). 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 (www.speakerville.net
), a virtual town divided into
distinct neighborhoods, each representing specific areas of
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
" Find out if the candidate is certified. An experienced
speaker who has evidence of client satisfaction can earn a
Certified Speaking Professional designation.