WELCOME TO MY WORLD
A snapshot into the lives of people who hire speakers
Getting Back to Business
Nancy Vogl started her first speakers bureau in the early 1990s, after producing successful events featuring cele- brated speakers such as
Dr. Wayne Dyer, Dr. Norman Vincent
Peale, Og Mandino and Les Brown.
When the speaking industry contracted
in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks, she reluctantly closed her business and turned to
a longtime dream of writing children’s
books. Early this year, she re-opened as
Nancy Vogl Speakers Bureau.
Janet Bailey: What’s different with
the re-launch of your bureau?
Nancy Vogl: Back in the early days, I
had a hard time saying no. If a speaker
wanted to send me materials, I’d say
“Sure,” and I was overwhelmed. Now,
I’m running more like a literary agency
would—you can’t send me stuff without
prior permission, and that includes
I’m selective. Some bureaus claim to
have thousands of speakers, and maybe
they do have thousands of names on
their website, but no bureau could ever
book that many. A client doesn’t choose
a speaker just by seeing a name on a
website. It’s important for a bureau to
have a meaningful connection with a
speaker and build that relationship.
One thing that hasn’t changed is
that I’ve never worried about bureau-friendly materials. I have no hesitation
sending a client directly to a speaker’s website. I’m about trust among all
parties. I want to be a connector, not
someone impeding the process of clients
and speakers coming together.
How can speakers get on your radar?
The best way is to be such a fabulous
speaker that I hear about you from
other people. You need a proven track
record and a great demo video. If
you’re friendly with another speaker
who has a relationship with us and
who knows and respects your work,
have them make the introduction. Be
active on NSA’s Facebook page. Attend
Newer speakers don’t understand
that a bureau is the last place they
should be looking to foster business
success. A bureau cannot make their
career. In fact, you can have a very successful career without one.
prestigious speaking opportunities.
Getting into the original TED conference is extremely difficult, but you
can submit proposals to TEDx organizations, which are springing up all
over. Here’s the thing about doing a
TEDx talk: You must know what your
one idea is that’s worth spreading.
How can you present that one idea in
such a fresh, unique way that it will
set you apart from anybody else who
might talk about something similar?
And you need visuals—that’s practically a TED trademark.
Why work with a bureau?
Cake is always more delicious when
there’s icing. A bureau is like having
icing on your career with extra connections, extra bookings.
Nancy Vogl is founder and owner of Nancy Vogl Speakers Bureau in Traverse City, Mich. She was the editor and coauthor of Chicken Soup for
the Single Parent’s Soul and is an award-winning
children’s book author and songwriter. Visit
You’ve helped find speakers
for some TEDx events (locally
organized, independent events
inspired by the global TED conference). What should speakers know
Though unpaid, it is one of the most
Janet Bailey helps organizations improve focus and engagement hrough Precision Questioning & Answering, clear communi- cation, and mindfulness
training. Learn more at www.janetbailey.com.