The last two years of our lives may best be described in one simple word: unpredictable. We’ve seen temporary changes become “the new normal” and on-the-fly adaptations like virtual events become the new majority for bookings. As an industry leader, All American Entertainment (AAE) is here to help event professionals navigate the current climate. Our staff answered some of the biggest questions we’re getting from event professionals these days.

One of the cornerstones of our company philosophy is “flexibility.” Over the past two years, we’ve put our metaphorical money where our hypothetical mouth is, flipping our typical in-person to virtual ratio on its head, and learning so much about virtual event planning, including the decision-making process, challenges, solutions, and overall experience.

Whether it’s virtual events, the future of our industry, or tried and true advice for booking the right speaker, we’ve got so much to share. Read real responses below from the AAE team to questions we’re hearing right now.

In-person, virtual or hybrid? How do I decide which is the best format for my event?

Sarah (Senior Account Manager): Making the decision on the best format for your event depends on a variety of factors. Safety is a priority during such unpredictable times. Going virtual is always a safe and amazing option. In-person events have and always will be great, so if your group is comfortable with scheduling an in-person event, you should explore that option. If you want the best of both worlds, you can look into having a hybrid event. Whether that’s with a full group of people in person and a smaller online presence or a small group of in-person attendees with a large online presence, both are very effective options to maximize your attendance. 

AAE is here to make your life easier.

Maddy (Account Manager, DES): Consider your audience! If you have an internal or regional group that really thrives off an in-person gathering, there are a lot of safe ways to join together at this time. However, with the growth and success of virtual events this last year and a half, should your audience cross numerous states or timezones, rest assured virtual events are still in the majority at this time.

What speaking topics are you seeing the most of in 2021? What are your predictions for 2022?

Sarah: Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) topics, remote work, and futurism have been popular 2021 speaking topics. We will likely see this trend continue in 2022, along with technology and artificial intelligence (AI) topics.

Maddy: Resilience and recovery! As much uncertainty as there still may be on the horizon, the good news is that the future is bright. Speakers and event professionals alike are honing in on topics that encourage conversations around leadership, motivation, diversity, inclusion, transformation, growth, and more all through the lense of resilience.

What’s going on with speaker fees right now?

Sarah: Speaker’s fees are very much in flux as we’re seeing so many different formats and possibilities. Speakers are putting in a considerable amount of effort into virtual and hybrid events, so we are finding it is best for event professionals to get an individualized quote for your specific event!

Having a speaker that touches people with their story is an excellent way to get your message out and encourage participation and contributions.

Maddy: It’s a bit of a mixed bag. Pent-up demand is real, and speakers can only take on so much. We’ve definitely seen speaker fees increase due to this, but at the same time, it’s changing on a weekly basis. Feel free to buzz an agent at AAE to chat about this from a high level perspective.

Why should I work with a speakers bureau versus finding talent myself?

Sarah: This is a great question and one we get all the time. Working with AAE, you’ll receive the best service possible from streamlining the contracting process to receiving assistance from our professional logistics team for all your event needs. AAE is here to make your life easier.

Maddy: Your event is unique – and these aren’t small potatoes we’re dealing with. You’ve invested so much time, energy, and effort into this running smoothly that it would only make sense to work with experts to source and secure such an important part of your program. Whether you have a specific speaker in mind or not, we work on your behalf to streamline the speaker booking process from the vetting process to the final moment before they go live.

What is your top tip for an event organizer when it comes to preparing a speaker for your event?

Debbie (Logistics Manager): We ask for them to prepare thoughts with regards to their audience and the messages or takeaways that they are looking for and to share that information with the speaker. Sometimes sharing what has and has not worked in past events can help guide or shape a speaker’s message.

Michelle (Logistics Coordinator): Do some research on the speaker to see what topics they generally speak on, and know your audience. Think about how those topics can be applied to your audience’s interests as well as your event objectives. Establish dos and don’ts with your speaker. Give the speaker a few notes on topics you think will resonate with your audience and hold their attention. Don’t be shy in letting the speaker know if certain topics should not be discussed with your audience. For event professionals, properly identifying the audience and desired content will ensure all expectations are met and everyone walks away happy.

Michelle: Properly identifying the audience and desired content will ensure all expectations are met and everyone walks away happy.

Edie (Director of Client Services, DES): Share as much detail as possible on your audience and your objectives for why you chose them as your speaker. Use the pre-event call to collaborate with the speaker on content for the talk and to help them better understand the challenges or the message you are trying to get out to your audience. Speakers enjoy this type of preparation so they can customize their talk for you and your audience.

What is one unique idea you’ve seen for how a client leveraged a speaker or talent at their event?

Edie: A client held a gala to raise funds for an inner city youth development center. The client chose Michael Oher to come and tell his story of his childhood, living with a parent who was a substance abuser, not having enough money to afford more than one pair of jeans for the week, not having a backpack to take to school, and likely following a very different path if it weren’t for the help of others. The audience felt the pain of his story and were compelled to help the children and the sponsor raised a large amount of money for their facility by having Michael speak. Having a speaker that touches people with their story is an excellent way to get your message out and encourage participation and contributions. This event was highly successful.

Our team at AAE is always ready to help throughout each step of the event planning process. We’re constantly looking ahead to the future so we can stay prepared for whatever is next for our industry. Whether you’re ready to quickly book your next virtual event speaker, looking to adapt your event format to virtual, or just looking for some guidance, we’re here for you. Contact us to get started.

When you’re ready to get started, AAE is here to help. With our vast experience in virtual events and unparalleled service, we can help you to quickly book a top expert virtually.