Info for Speakers

Whether you are a novice, rising star, or professional, SEATTLE BOOKINGS has the information you need to succeed!

Guidelines for Speakers

Congratulations - the public speaking field is an exciting and growing career choice! Because there are so many people entering the field and wanting information, we have prepared these guidelines for individuals at varied levels of their speaking career. It is our way of responding to the many inquiries we receive. Many of you have similar questions regarding how to work with a bureau and "how to climb to the top." For purposes of clarity, we are using three categories to delineate where you might be on your path:


If you are new to the business, no matter how good you may be, you are in this category. For the most part, don't expect to be paid. Almost all professional speakers started here! To break into the market, you will first have to decide what it is you have to say, hone that message and your delivery skills and then market diligently. We have provided you with some ideas about how and where to market.



Check yourself on the following:

a) In what subject area are you an "expert?" Look at your experience and education.

b) How can you make your material original and unique?

c) Are you willing to market a "free speech?"

NOTE: Most successful speakers have given 50-100 free presentations. (Sometimes a modest honorarium or a dinner with travel expenses will be offered.)


Here are a few "tried and true" steps you will need to take.

a) Create a simple flyer which outlines your background and what you have to offer.

b) Research civic or community groups who use speakers but don't expect to pay. Typical groups include: rotary clubs, chambers of commerce, neighborhood associations or councils, libraries, senior citizen homes, church groups and some professional and trade associations.

c) Mail your flyer to them with a cover letter.

d) Phone the organization's chair person to follow up.


Preview good speakers any time you can to see what you can learn from their technique, style and content. You will always find something useful and it's fun.

Rising Star

Perhaps you have delivered presentations successfully to corporate, community or professional associations and experienced the "thrill" of influencing, inspiring or entertaining audiences. Now you want to convert your talent into a money-making enterprise. Before you quit your "day job," consider the steps outlined in the information below.

Do not quit a full-time job to go into speaking full-time without consulting other long-time professional speakers. Most say it requires a two to three year transition period.


1. Be sure you have all your "technology" in place. Prospective clients want information NOW.

2) Create a one-page e-mail sheet - a critical tool in marketing to meeting planners. Include your bio, the topic(s) you offer and some quotes from pleased clients.

3. Create an evaluation which captures positive feedback from your participants.

4. When appropriate, request a letter of appreciation from your contact after your presentation - worth their weight in gold!

5. Record your presentations. The recordings will serve as an excellent means for you to critique yourself and to provide a sample of your work for meeting planners. You will eventually want to produce a short demo (approximately 5 minutes) which you can make available online.

6. Prepare a double-spaced generic introduction to keep with you at all times. Don't leave your introduction to chance.

7. Create "jazzy" titles. "Your Sense of Humor - Don't Leave Home Without it" will get more attention than "Humor in the Workplace."

8. Write and submit an article on your topic to a local business publication. Try to get published.

9. Get a separate phone line for your business calls - land or cell.  

10. Are you ready to invest in a website? Study other speaker sites and put a lot of thought into yours.


You consider yourself one of the "best of the best" and have been paid for your services. What you're looking for is supplemental marketing or help in handling leads during your busy periods of presenting or traveling. We'd like to know more about you, so read the information included here on "bureau friendly" materials.


Bureaus offer professional speakers many benefits and allow you to provide consistently outstanding customer service to clients. Most bureaus work on a commission basis. Once you begin to receive solid fees for your presentations, you are ready to contact bureaus for representation. Bureaus supplement your own marketing efforts and can offer you opportunities to work with a variety of groups. We can be your best customers!

Most bureaus book speakers on a non-exclusive basis so you can be listed with several bureaus. You build collaborative relationships with bureaus who book you.

SEATTLE BOOKINGS will always request to preview your work "LIVE" as your guest. We also require references, so please be prepared to share that information with us.

Be prepared to answer or send information that explains:

What is your main focus? Various titles?

What is your major market?

What is your range of fees for private, public and non-profit groups?

What other services or products do you offer?

What other speaker's bureaus are booking you now?

Are your presentation kits prepared - CDs with one-page sheets with your background and topics?


The key to success in working with bureaus is BUREAU FRIENDLY!! We want materials which are totally free of your address, phone number, e-mail and website. This enables bureaus to tailor their packets with your materials. Obviously, you will include all this information on the sets you use for your own marketing, but these are not appropriate for those you deliver to a bureau. Taking the time to create a bureau-friendly set of materials will indicate you're a professional who understands how we work.