How To Be A Speaker

How to be a Speaker with CAMPUSPEAK

We receive approximately 200 submissions each year from speakers wishing to work with us in the college market. A committee of staff, interns and current speakers evaluates the submissions. Applicants are reviewed annually in February for promotion beginning the next academic year.

OUR 2014 DEADLINE IS NOW PAST.  If you submitted by February 15, 2014, our process is ongoing and all applicants will hear from us by the third week of March 2014.  If you have not submitted yet in 2014, you are invited to submit for our Class of 2015.  Very occasionally, we make exceptions to the application deadline.  Contact Amy Butler at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to see if she is willing to offer you a special exception.  Please note that these exceptions are not often granted because of the burden they place on our staff.

We usually bring on 5-10 new speakers a year. They speak on all sorts of topics. Some come to us with a lot of experience, and some have no professional speaking experience. We’re looking for speakers who will get our customers excited, and they come in every shape, size, age, color and perspective. It’s about the value of the message and your unique, authentic ability to deliver it.

Becoming a CAMPUSPEAK speaker is a long-term exclusive relationship, so we look for professionals who will make a strong, lasting commitment to our team, our business model and their career as a campus speaker. If you’re looking to simply enroll with a booking agency, then CAMPUSPEAK is not for you. We seem to do better with speakers for whom money is not the chief motivation for wanting to speak on college campuses.  For our speakers, the money is great, but it’s about connecting with students, making a difference, and shaping how people think about a particular issue.

Due to the immense amount of work it takes our modest staff to review submissions and get new speakers up and going, our intake process only happens in the Spring. (As amazing as you might be, we aren’t going to bring you on board in August, for example.) However, we are happy to answer questions anytime and you can apply anytime throughout the year. Often, speakers who have attracted our attention prior to the evaluation/intake process get moved to the top of the pile in February.

Potential speakers are evaluated on a variety of criteria, including:

  • Is there something here that will “click” with college audiences?
  • No existing or conflicting obligations to other agencies
  • Letters of recommendation from other speakers and/or college student life professionals
  • Originality of approach to their issue… a unique expertise
  • Does the speaker exhibit some depth? Or is it all fluff and personality?
  • Do we need this topic on our roster? Does the demand exist?
  • Willingness of speaker to invest in marketing
  • Is the speaker an appealing person? Is he/she friendly?
  • Quantity of business we can expect from the speaker
  • Speaking style and comfort with large audiences
  • Are we the best agency to market this sort of topic and speaker?
  • Enthusiasm and overall professionalism/attitude of the speaker
  • Realistic expectations for the first year in the college market
  • Does the proposed program have educational value?
  • Would a campus pay at least $3,500 for this program?
  • Is this speaker interested in an entirely EXCLUSIVE commitment for college bookings with us?
  • Will this speaker be low-maintenance and easy to work with?

Although not an exclusive list, these are some of the topics we are on the lookout for:

  • Female speakers
  • Latino/Latina speakers
  • Unique personal stories that offer teachable moments for others
  • Mental health issues and wellness
  • Speakers with great sense of humor
  • Alcohol abuse prevention (but the approach needs to be unique and cool)
  • Women’s leadership, achievement
  • Speakers with a strong, established social media presence
  • Speakers on dating, sex, relationships, etc.
  • Multiculturalism, diversity speakers
  • Keynotes with a strong interactive element
  • Fraternity/Sorority Life speakers with lots of energy, enthusiasm

Generally, we are NOT interested in these things:

  • Duos, groups, or troupes
  • Programs about “success after college” or in “the real world”
  • Fear-based programs that are “doom and gloom” and endeavor to scare audiences
  • Programs that have political, religious or inflammatory themes
  • Speakers with a dozen different topics; we want folks committed to a particular area of expertise.
  • Speakers who are overt about their religion while presenting
  • Personal finance and money management topics
  • Anything theatrical, in which the speaker acts out characters
  • Speakers who are more workshop-oriented (we need keynoters)
  • Speakers whose primary qualification is publication of a book
  • Speakers who seem more appropriate for corporate audiences than college ones
  • Academic-type programs better suited for classrooms
  • Programs about foreign cultures or travels to far away places
  • Hypnotists, mentalists, jugglers, slam poets, demonstration artists, or other folks better suited for an entertainment agency

Here’s what you need to apply:

We require that potential speakers take the time to submit a comprehensive package to us for consideration.

  • An online clip of no more than 15 minutes of a presentation you have done in the last two years. Clip can be on Vimeo, YouTube, or on your own website. You can submit up to three links, but we may only review the first link.
  • A professional photo that you would use for promotional purposes. If you don’t have one, just send us a nice clear photo that reflects your personality.
  • News clippings (if you have them, no more than three)
  • Titles, topics and descriptions of keynotes.
  • References.
  • Your website address, if applicable, so that we can dig a little further on you if needed
  • A link to your book or articles you have written, relevant to your proposed speaking topic


A few things to consider:

  • Except under very special circumstances, we are not interested in speakers who are already represented by another agency in higher education.
  • Potential speakers might be asked to do a free program at a nearby campus or at a higher ed conference attended by a staff member to be evaluated.
  • All new speakers are required to pay a one-time fee of $2,900 to CAMPUSPEAK upon acceptance. This fee covers administrative costs of start-up marketing, contracts and legal work. A speaker unwilling to make this initial investment should not apply.
  • New speakers will be required to attend New Speaker Training in Denver in June 2015.
  • It is very important that potential speakers subscribe to CAMPUSPEAK’s CORE VALUES. Please review them before you submit to us.
  • We realize that you probably will have many questions about our financial policies, commission levels and other internal procedures. Please give us time to do an initial review, and then if we are interested in continuing conversations, we will happily review all of this with you.

Additional questions you have about your submission to us should be directed to Amy Butler via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). We prefer to handle initial inquiries by email rather than by phone.

Thank you for your interest in joining our team!