The speaking industry is global, which expands a speaker’s opportunities beyond their own country. International speaking can be quite lucrative, and at some point in your career you might want to think about taking that leap. But every country has their own culture, and written or unwritten rules every public speaker needs to know about.

Anthony “Ant” Williams has a unique perspective on the speaking industry, as both a speaker and a speaker bureau owner. If you think being a public speaker is scary and competitive, read on to see how Ant got his start:

Can you give us some info on your background?
I fell in to speaking as a way to support my fascination with extreme sports. Each year I would travel the globe competing in World Championship events in the sport of freediving, a sport where the sole purpose is to see who can reach the greatest depth in the ocean on a single breath of air. But doing a dangerous sport can be expensive. I trained up as a speaker to create a new source of income that would fit around the training and travel.
Where I sympathise the most with other speakers, is with our over-reliance on traditional speaking bureaux to find us speaking work. This is fraught with problems. How do you build a business as a speaker if you don’t build your relationships with event planners directly?

How is the speaking industry different in Australia than the U.S.?
There are two main differences. First, we seem to pay our speakers less in Australia. Our largest booking category is $3,000 – $5,000 and very few bookings come in over the $10,000 mark. In the U.S. top speakers would typically earn more per keynote. Second, we don’t have the same prevalence of speaker’s agents who source the work for speakers. Australian speakers tend to list with as many speakers’ bureaux as possible, create a website, and then wait for the work to come in.

Are there any cultural differences?
Australian audiences love U.S. speakers. We love your accent. We presume people who speak with an accent must be highly intelligent. But we Australians are a modest bunch. A quick way to alienate an Australian audience is to over-state your credentials or come across too flamboyant.

How do you suggest approaching speaker’s bureaus?
We aren’t currently supporting any offshore speakers. Hopefully, in the near future.

What should speakers know about working with a speaker bureau?
Speaker bureaus want to find you work, but you make it difficult! Rather than asking a bureau to find you more work, get busy and write a blog that the bureau can share. Do something interesting and share it on social media with links to your profile on the bureau website so people can find and book you. Content is king. If you want to get noticed by people who book speakers then start creating interesting content that people will share.

Who is your perfect client?
We have a guy on the other side of Australia who books a new speaker with us every month. From the comfort of his desk he selects a speaker for each event, then books them through our automated system. We have an Audience Response System that collects audience ratings and feedback for each speaker. He simply compares speaker feedback and choses the best speaker for his event, at the best price each time.

What is your favorite book on speaking?
That would still have to be “Speak and Grow Rich” by Walters & Walters. It’s an old book now but still has some of the best ever advice in it for a career in keynote speaking. What it lacks, because of its age, is the importance of building a social media presence.

Thanks to Ant for taking time to share his insights with Speaker Sponsor. You can check out his speaker bureau at or check out his amazing free diving background at

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