Keynote and Motivational Speaker Agent Q&A

I love this picture. It was an epic few days with one of our keynote/motivational speakers, the brilliant culinary historian and author Michael W. Twitty. We took this picture on one of our many meet ups on the road. I love to hear our speakers in person and will drive hours to see them – not as a “check up” on them –  but rather for my own learning. (And of course, we talk “business!”).

As a speaker agent, I’m always asking talent on the Melibee Global speaking roster to provide answers to many questions for me and clients – from scheduling, to content, to logistics for travel, and more. It was time to turn the tables, so I asked those on my speaker roster to ask ME a few questions instead.  Payback time!  They threw some zingers at me!

1)  What do you look for in new keynote/motivational speakers when considering representing them? 
I look for people who inspire and have a unique story or position. I listen to my gut a lot on this. I also seek people who have a following, meaning a solid social media footprint/followers and a book/film/work that is highly visible. They also need to be able to use their voice in a compelling way that transcends the usual “formulaic” talk. For example, a researcher with a popular book but no stage presence isn’t someone I’d seek out.  They have to have an innate talent in delivery of content.  Finally, they need to present on a topic that is timely or evergreen. They also need to see their relationship with an agent as a true partnership.
2) What’s the one thing you wish all your keynote/motivational speakers knew? 
That agents don’t always want you to tell us about someone you think is wonderful by cc’ing that person in your email to us!  If I had a nickel for every well intended friend, parent, partner, etc who sent me information about someone they admire only for me to have to let them down because they don’t meet the criteria in question #1 OR because my network may not be the most appropriate for their work, I’d be a very wealthy woman, lol! Seriously, if you think you know someone who should be represented, send a private note to your speaker agent friend(s) – don’t send it to both the agent(s) and the talented friend unless you have requested an introduction.
3) What can keynote/motivational speakers do to make their agent’s lives easier? 
Share and update your calendar.  Let us know about media and deals coming up (we don’t want to read about it in google alerts first)!  Provide new headshot and keynote speaker photos periodically. Reply to our questions within 4 -6 hours, max, whenever possible. The most important thing – TRUST us! 🙂
4) Do YOU enjoy public speaking?!
Most of the time, yes! It challenges me to stretch outside my comfort zone when I’m in full on introvert mode. I’m an ambivert and when I’m on the extravert side of it, watch out! I aim to inspire and motive when I speak. When I am in introvert mode then it is much more challenging for me. But generally, I do enjoy public speaking and do not fear being at a mic in front of a room.
5)  Who are YOUR favorite keynote/motivational speakers and why?
One of my favorite speakers is Kane Smego. He is a brilliantly talented spoken word artist, musician, and storyteller. I represented him early on when he was just out of college and really saw that special something in him even back then. Kane is a new dad and I cannot wait to hear what how his child influences his work! With that said, I adore all the folks on the Melibee Global Speaker roster, so I can’t pick a favorite from there. I think each brings their unique brand of knowledge, talent, storytelling, and inspirational talks to audiences. Asking me to pick a favorite from our own keynote and motivational speaker roster would be like asking me to pick my favorite child! 😉