Posts Tagged ‘President Obama’

Books, white papers and articles (and the spoken word!) are the cornerstones of professional and executive development. As a follower of The Speaker Experts, you will always have direct and pro-bono access to the world’s top authors’ and thought leaders’ publications through our LinkedIn exclusive network. It is okay every once in a while to put down the reading material and watch a movie or documentary for both entertainment and professional development purposes. This month, we are happy to offer either option for your viewing enjoyment: “Spare Parts” starring George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis and Marisa Tomei, or the companion award-winning documentary “Underwater Dreams”, narrated by Michael Pena (President Obama recorded a special introduction message prior to the White House screening, as seen below):

A special introduction to “Underwater Dreams” from President Obama shown prior
to the White House viewing on April 7, 2015

Both DVDs tell the story of four under-served Hispanic high school students who formed a robotics club in Phoenix. With no experience, 800 bucks, used car parts and a dream, this rag tag team goes up against the country’s reigning robotics champion, MIT and other elite college powerhouse schools (spoiler alert, The Carl Hayden High School team wins!). The movie and documentary are based on science teacher and speaker Fredi Lajvardi’s life story. While the motion picture was not a blockbuster hit, it is a fun movie, and suitable for the entire family.

Please order your complimentary copy of the movie or documentary by completing the form below (available while supplies last).

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

One of our initial posts last year covered the topic of “The 10 Most ‘Booked’ Corporate and Association Speakers”. We will be making a similar post later this year but today we reveal our list of the five most requested speakers in the world. In order to do this we must first differentiate between the concepts of “most requested” and “most booked”.

    1. “Most booked” are those on the speaking circuit who actively seek paid speaking engagements and are in high demand as commercial speakers. Generally these speakers are scheduled close to 100 times a year, sometimes even more!
    1. “Most requested” are speakers that may or may not be on the speaking circuit; however, they are requested by those looking to book speakers based on their name recognition and background.

These two categories are not mutually exclusive, and you would be pressed to find a speaker that qualifies for both lists. Frankly, those who are generally going to be the “most requested” do not have the availability to be the “most booked”, or the speaker market can’t support a speaking fee that makes it worth the speaker’s time. There have been a few anomalies to this postulate over the years – some examples would be General Colin Powell and General Norman Schwarzkopf.

The Speaker Experts came up with a list of the five most requested speakers in America based off the results of our Speaker Needs Analysis. When discussing a client’s speaker needs and desired outcome of a certain event, we cover a lot of territory including audience demographics, industry trends, past speakers, time allotted, etc. At the end of the analysis we always ask, “If you could book any speaker you wanted, with price and availability not being an issue, who would you book?”, making sure to keep track of all of these responses over the course of the year.

Here are the five most requested speakers over the past twelve months:

President Obama


He and the First Lady could be the highest paid speakers
of all time when they leave the White House.

Bill Gates


Microsoft founder, philanthropist and at the top of Forbes’ list of
the World’s Richest People. If every man has a price, we have
no idea what his would be!

Warren Buffett


CEO/largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway and philanthropist
(see Bill Gates re. speaking fee).

Elon Musk


The CEO of Space X and product architect of Tesla is a tough
get, but he will be speaking at the Edison Electric Institute
Annual Convention
in New Orleans.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet

His Holiness the 14. Dalai Lama

If you are fortunate enough to schedule him for a speech,
you will receive total consciousness.

Clearly there is no scientific or analytic formula to identifying the world’s most requested speakers. However, through our communication with a large sampling of groups looking for speakers, these are the five we are asked about the most.

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin

Here is our list of the five most influential people in the world of commercial, corporate and association speaking, all of whom influence the economics and politics of the professional speaking industry. While they also may influence speaking style and content, that is entirely different list that we will save for another day.


5.  John Graham, President & CEO at ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership : Somewhat of a symbolic pick here, but Mr. Graham leads the American Society of Association Executives that represents over 21,000 Association Executives.   The Association community spends millions of dollars a year on speaking fees, but if you factor in the number of corporate groups who schedule a speaker after seeing a speech at an Association event, that number goes into the billions.  Associations are a force multiplier for the speaking industry, and John Graham leads that force.


4. Chris Anderson, Entrepreneur and Curator of TED Talks : Under  his leadership and stewardship, TED has transformed the way we in the meeting industry view the impact and potential of a session.  Who knew a relevant, impactful and entertaining message could be delivered in 20 minutes?  Prior to the emergence of TED, speakers were just getting “warmed” up at the 20 minute mark.  While the long form keynote session will always play an important role in the meeting world, the innovative approach taken by Chris Anderson to the short form presentation makes him one of the top 5 influencers. Of course, we cannot forget the man with the original vision of TED, founder Richard Saul Wurman.


3. Harry Rhoads Jr. and Christine Farrell, Founder and President of the Washington Speakers Bureau : No explanations needed here.  Washington Speakers Bureau is the largest speaker bureau with the most prominent roster of professional speakers in the world.  WSB has been a leader in the speaking world for over three decades and they continue that trend today.  Rhoads and Farrell are the chief influencers and architects at the top speaker bureau.  They make the list.


2. Robert B. Barnett, Partner Williams & Connolly LLP : Mr. Barnett is the premier lawyer in the world representing authors, broadcasters, and former government officials.  His clients include Presidents Clinton and Bush, Secretary Clinton, Alan Greenspan, Queen Noor, George Will and dozens more high-profile celebrity speakers.  When a high-profile government official leaves office, chances are their first stop will be a visit to the law offices of Willams & Connolly.  This may be the case when President Obama leaves office in 2017 as well.  Mr. Barnett’s roster of current clients and potential future clients make him  not only a high-powered Washington lawyer but a top 5 influential person in the speaker world.

Berners Lee

1. Tim Berners-Lee, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium : Another symbolic pick here, but the man who invented the World Wide Web created a paradigm shift in the way we research, view, promote, evaluate, negotiate and contract with speakers.   While Tim Berners-Lee was at the leading edge of this wave, Mark  Zuckerberg/Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook),  Dick Costolo/Biz Stone ( Twitter) and  Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn) all play major roles in influencing the world of professional speaking.

Of course the real “influencer” is the meeting industry as an aggregate – armed with the tools given to us by the aforementioned internet pioneers, meeting leaders drive market demand, price and the business of professional speaking.  We are a diverse mosaic of meeting influencers, but putting us all on the list would take too long so we have settled on these five!

Please let the Speaker Experts know who would be on your list.

Gary McManis & Jay Conklin