I’ve decide to give up exclusivity as a bargaining chip. The reason? Exclusivity is incompatible with my belief in the power of the crowd. By doing this I’m breaking with this tradition within the speakers community and giving everyone the opportunity to become one of my personal booking agents.

Jef Staes Keynote

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Why Everyone can become a Booking Agent

I've been a professional conference speaker for over a decade now and there is one thing I've guarded very stubbornly: my independence. Not only to speak my mind and decide for myself how I present my ideas, but also when it comes to deciding where and for whom I speak. 

The world of keynote speakers has a fascinating dynamic. Much like the music industry, there has grown a big market for intermediary players between speakers and clients. Booking agents and speaker bureaus try to get speakers in their portfolio. While this is of course fine if there are clear arrangements, I've never quite been able to agree with the common demand for exclusivity. 

To demand exclusivity made sense 20 years ago. The internet wasn't that widespread. Social Media was nowhere to be found and spreading your ideas and speeches worldwide using video was a distant dream. Finding speaking opportunities was a hassle and getting in touch with the right experts not always an easy task. Speaker agencies offered a valuable service and often demanded exclusivity as a condition for cooperation. 

Fast forward 20 years and it's clear that this bargaining chip is slowly evaporating. Conference organizers and organizations can easily contact me. I share my talk and ideas publically. The audience can ask me questions directly through Social Media. While it still makes sense to offer a % to someone who brings a lead, it makes no sense to me to work with one single agency any more. 

Perhaps this train of thought is a result of one of my core concepts: 2D and 3D. The increasing amount of information, innovation and interconnectivity demands that we re-evaluate our classic societal processes and customs. And today, I'm turning the classic way of working within the speaking community upside down. 

Instead of trying to peddle my exclusive booking rights to one single actor, I'm offering it to everyone. Anyone who beliefs in my story can register as one of my official booking agents. Power to the crowd! If you're interested, feel free to contact me and we'll get you up and running.

 


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