What Happens In Vegas - The IASB 31st Annual Convention

3 May 2017

A strange sense of quiet settled over Speakers Corner HQ as of Tuesday last week. Those in the office realised that the word ‘Arsenal’ hadn’t been mentioned for some time and that there was a distinct lack of discussion of cheeses.

The reason? Both Nick  and Tim  were off in Las Vegas - not, as you may conclude, on some sort of sibling’s jolly, but at the 31st Annual Convention of the International Association of Speaker Bureaus. The three-day event saw speaker bureaus from around the globe convene to discuss industry challenges, work on best practice, and, of course, celebrate an industry which helps thousands of businesses put on the best possible events.

As the brothers Gold returned to the office, slightly bleary-eyed and jet-lagged, we caught up with them both to find out exactly what had gone on, therefore negating the mantra of ‘What happens in Vegas’’.

Nick won this - we look forward to it hanging in our office!

Nick, this year you were co-chair of the IASB. How did that come about?

Nick: Traditionally, the IASB had primarily been focussed on North American Bureaus, and only a handful of bureaus outside the US attended, and so myself and Daniel, who runs a bureau in Spain, really wanted to bring those outside North America into the conference. I was delighted last year when Daniel became the chairman of the Association and invited me to be the co-chair of the convention. It has been a lot of hard work, but I’m really pleased that the conference went well.

And Tim - it was your first year attending. Did you enjoy it?

Tim: Well, firstly, I thought Nick did a sterling job. I think that the sharing of best practice and agencies getting together to discuss the industry and to collaborate on what the key challenges are and how we go to market is really important. From a Speakers Corner perspective, it’s a great way to grow our speaker knowledge as we liaise with our sister agencies around the world and discover new speakers in other areas. It inspires more trust and transparency within the industry, and it’s great to put faces to names of our colleagues overseas.

The speakers were all amazing, and everyone really got so much out of both the keynotes and the breakout sessions.

What do you think the Speaking Industry does well, and what do you think perhaps we could get better at?

Tim: I think we, as an industry, could get better at promoting ourselves and the value that we offer . Everyone talks about how busy they all are, and I wonder whether, as a whole, we could spend more time reflecting on how we communicate with our clients and prospective clients what it is that we offer.

Nick: For me, the main takeaway is that we have got so much better at conversing as an industry and beginning to understand that competition is not about hiding away and being secretive, but about having conversations about what we can all do better.

Tim: I agree. The more that agencies talk to each other, the better we all become.

But it wasn't a jolly - honest!

So, having spoken to so many agencies, what will you bring back to implement here at Speakers Corner?

Tim:  There were some great ideas put forward, and we can really have smoother dealings with our sister agencies.

Nick: I came away from this conference with real positivity. There really is so much we can implement. Some of the headline points from the speakers show that there is always room for improvement – we can do more, better, faster, but what I really felt that was that it justifies the path that Speakers Corner is on and that to some degree we are already ahead of the curve.

And, though it may be too early for you to think about it – what’s going to be on offer next year?

Nick: Well, I think I’ll be on the convention committee helping to ease in the new co-chair, so that will be perhaps a little less pressured.

Tim: I think that Nick really put the ‘International’ into the International Association of Speaker Bureaus, so I think that’s some that can be built upon.

Nick: Aw thanks, Tim! It was really nice that Tim came along to experience it. It’s great to have someone to share your ideas with then and there, and also to have feedback on the tangible benefits of the conference.

And Nick, talking of pressure, I know we put on a fair few events here at Speakers Corner, but how did you feel being on the other side of the table and organising a conference?

Nick: I must admit, I really do respect what our clients as event organisers do – I doff my cap to them! I like to think that what we do in taking one part of the stress away from them in organising the speaker is one less plate for them to juggle!

And finally, the convention did take place in Vegas… So… What were your highlights away from the hard work?

Both: Sitting eating a steak at what equated to 6am in the UK the night we arrived. No drinks had been imbibed, but we suddenly realised that we basically didn’t know what time it was, what on earth we had been talking about, and where the last hour had gone!

Anything else?

Both: Well, you know, what happens in Vegas…

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