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"S3 is one of the best speaker bureaus I have had the pleasure to work with. Their clients who have spoken at The Economist events I have managed have always added tremendous value to the agenda and they in turn have benefited significantly as well. This is a company that knows what it is doing!"
- Senior Director, Economist Conferences

Benefits of Speaking at Conferences

Publisher: PR Week
Author: Jeanne Tee and Lori Zetlin

The slowdown in the US econ­omy has communications executives scrambling to stretch budgets without sacrificing results. In times like these, a speak­er’s bureau program might seem like a “nice-to-have” component of a communications plan. But a targeted speaking program can provide huge value to communications programs, without the high cost.

Let’s look at the benefits. One speech can reach a valuable audi­ence of clients, employees, media, and shareholders. To this audience, your company is positioned as an industry visionary and your executive as a credible thought leader. 

But the speech itself is only the beginning. By broadly publicizing engagements, repurposing speech content, and leveraging executive travel schedules, your company can expand the impact of each speaking engagement by multitudes.

Get the basics right. Focus on identifying the right conferences and building relationships with the organizers. This will help you understand what they need and create a pipeline of future speak­ing opportunities.  

Establishing strong relationships with executive speakers is also important. Make sure they are prop­erly trained to deliver compelling, objective speeches that address key issues in your industry. You need speakers who will be thought lead­ers, not salesmen, at the podium. 

Maximum mileage, minimum coin. Speaking engagements can deliver a great deal of bang for your buck. Issuing a press release about your upcoming speaking engage­ment is an easy way to build brand awareness and boost visibility.  Speaking engagements can also help you strengthen relationships with the media. Invite them to attend your speaking session and arrange one-on-one meetings. These activities help generate press coverage – and are less expensive than press tours.

Repurposing speech content can enhance your communications  programs and enable you to deliver uniform messaging to internal and external audiences. Consider pro­moting the speech to employees via your intranet, capturing audio or video of the speech and posting clips on your Web site, developing a byline article for placement in a publication, or leveraging speech content to develop collateral.

Prime location. Leveraging the conference location is another way to get additional mileage from your speaking engagements. Use the conference environment to your advantage by attending networking events, inviting locally based clients to attend your speech, and leveraging executive travel schedules to con­duct client meetings and employee recruiting activities in the area. 

With PR budgets under pressure, a resourceful speaking program can help you do more with less. If you take full advantage of the comple­mentary communications and relationship-building opportunities, you’ll reach the right audiences with the right messages – for less time, money, and effort.

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