Welcome, my fellow voyagers, to a journey of exploration and enlightenment in a deep dive into the speaker bureau industry’s post-COVID world. On board with us are three renowned navigators – Koby Fleck, EVP, Crown Speakers Bureau; Bernie Swain, Founder, Washington Speakers Bureau; and David Stollman, President, EVERGREEN Speakers. Their combined expertise sheds light on the opportunities, challenges, and future trends reshaping the speaking world in the post-COVID era. As a highly experienced speaker who partners with speaker bureaus frequently, I found my interviews with them enlightening and revealing.
Scene One: New Horizons of Opportunities
As our journey begins, Fleck paints a panorama of emerging opportunities post-pandemic. New areas of expertise have developed from the accelerated change in our society and economy. These areas bring a tidal wave of demand, with companies needing speaker bureaus to bridge the gap between them and the right speakers.
The landscape has also been reshaped by virtual and hybrid presentations, removing geographical barriers and providing global access to renowned speakers. Notably, the pandemic has accentuated the significance of the human connection. With a renewed sense of empathy and engagement,speakers can add more value by better equipping people at the interpersonal level.
Swain adds depth to our understanding, offering a beacon of hope with the steady resurgence of in-person meetings, a timeless tradition now breathing with renewed life.
Adding another dimension, Stollman emphasizes the critical role of speaker bureaus in educating the market about the nuances of hybrid presentations. By helping clients design meaningful experiences for both in-person and virtual audiences, speaker bureaus can lead the way in unlocking the full potential of this nascent format.
Scene Two: Navigating the Shadows of Challenges
Venturing further, our guides highlight the key challenges dotting the post-COVID landscape. Fleck and Swain identify the rising speaking fees, the fast-evolving topic relevance, and the necessity for future-readiness as significant obstacles. Swain also highlights changing audience preferences due to political polarization as an issue.
Stollman echoes their sentiments, marking the complexity of hybrid presentations as a paramount challenge. The task of creating two simultaneous yet distinct programs that cater to the unique needs of in-person and virtual audiences is no small feat. This new-age conundrum reinforces the value of speaker bureaus as strategic advisors and market educators.
Scene Three: Harmonizing the Dance between Speakers and Speaker Bureaus
Our captains of industry are unanimous in their counsel for speakers desiring to make a mark in the post-COVID world. Fleck underscores the need for speakers to hone their personal brand, refine their content, elevate their skills, and keep pace with current trends.
Swain chimes in, emphasizing the importance of high-quality video presentations and a professional demeanor. The pandemic, while challenging, also offers speakers an opportunity to demonstrate their adaptability and professionalism in new formats.
Stollman resonates with these views, spotlighting impact, partnership, humility, passion, and responsiveness as key characteristics of a successful speaker in this evolving landscape. He cautions speakers against hubris, emphasizing that the path to success at EVERGREEN is paved with humility and responsiveness.
Final Act: The Dawn of a New Era for Speaker Bureaus
In the final act of our odyssey, Fleck and Swain unveil a promising future for speaker bureaus. Despite the advent of displaceable technologies, the demand for the human touch remains undiminished. As speaker bureaus evolve to meet the needs of new-age virtual and traditional in-person events, Swain believes their relevance is guaranteed.
Adding a twist to the tale, Stollman highlights the increased need for flexibility in the post-COVID era. In a world where staff are stretched thin managing an ever-growing list of responsibilities, he observes more “hurry up and wait” scenarios in the booking process. For speakers, rolling with the punches and staying adaptable is now the name of the game.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as our journey comes to a close, we find ourselves standing on the cusp of a future teeming with opportunities, challenges, and transformative trends. So gird your loins, for the time has come to navigate, adapt, and perform in the captivating new act of the post-COVID world.
Speaker bureaus must adapt to virtual & hybrid events, nurture human connections, educate on hybrid presentations, & speakers should be adaptable & responsive...>Click to tweet
Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels
Originally published in Disaster Avoidance Experts on May 26, 2023