Not Your Typical Speakers Bureau: VaynerSpeakers is a Platform for the Unnoticed with Stories Worthy to be Heard

By Jim James, Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the The UnNoticed Podcast

Zachary Nadler, CEO of VaynerSpeakers, shares the same mission as The UnNoticed Show: to find something that is underexposed and help it get the exposure it deserves. For their case, in particular, that something is a someone — a speaker, to be exact. A speaker who has an amazing message to share, that, only if people would have a chance to listen, they’d give it a shot and hear the whole story. Here he shares what they’re looking for in a speaker and how their group helps the unnoticed speakers, well, get noticed by the right audience.


Reinforcing the Power of Purpose

Zach admits that they currently represent a small group of speakers. But despite their humble roster, they are here to inspire others and give the best tactics and strategies. While they can’t help every single person in the world through representation, they aim to set an example on how to get a particularly positive message out there; to give an idea of what they do and the effective way that they’ve done it.

Image from VaynerSpeakers

So how do they do it? As Zach has mentioned in one of his other podcast engagements, it’s all about focusing on the purpose and sort of removing the “transaction” aspect from the engagement.

The founders of VaynerSpeakers started the business with the idea that they want to be different. They don’t want to be just another speakers bureau because, really, there’s enough of that out there already. For every event that they provide a speaker for, they consider it different and unique. They see past the business and the money-making side of it. Because for them, focusing on those won’t give much chance for success and won’t be able to build long-term relationships. “Transaction” is perceived only as a small piece of what actually goes down.


Breaking into a New Market

Trying to break out into a new market, according to Zach, is about creating awareness. So if your product is yourself, the speaker, you’ve got to make your prospective audience aware of yourself. And that will entail marketing yourself in other languages.

But what’s more crucial is targeting a smaller market. It brings forth a more beneficial relationship, something that is more advantageous. By establishing yourself in that kind of market — a market wherein there are fewer speakers — you can create lasting relationships with groups and audiences that will want to bring you back.

Another trend is finding more territorial topics. Now, themes about resilience and grit are going global because, with the pandemic that’s happening, everyone is dealing with the same situation. The key is to delve into certain topics that are more exclusive to an area.

But if you really want to build a market for yourself anywhere, you have to have a message that is useful to anyone. With the internet democratizing information, anyone could build a marketplace for anything, in any part of the world. In this case, you have to put more time and effort to do that and impart a message that people would actually want to hear about.


Why VaynerSpeakers Remain Tech-Agnostic 

At a time when more and more virtual events are taking place, VaynerSpeakers remain pretty tech-agnostic when it comes to sharing their speakers’ messages worldwide.

Screengrab from VaynerSpeakers’s website

Zach points out that technology is fast-changing. Ten years ago, people are all on Skype. But now, no one is using the platform anymore. Zoom, which is a video conferencing app that gained skyrocketing traction because of the pandemic, as I mentioned, has already reached its threshold when it comes to interactivity and connectivity.

According to him, there still isn’t a technology that comes even close to replacing the atmosphere set by face-to-face interactions. Nothing can yet replicate the VIP experiences and the after-parties.

And with that, they opt not to stick with one particular platform to get their speakers’ stories across. In fact, last year, the group utilized 10 to 15 different platforms. That’s how malleable they are — they use whichever is most preferred by their customers.


It All Boils Down to Authenticity

VaynerSpeakers recognize that they have a platform to offer for the unnoticed. With it, they can help broadcast and amplify those unnoticed people’s messages. So it all boils down to finding who they are going to offer that avenue to.

Zach emphasizes he is proud of the people they currently represent. They are all very individual in their way and they all have varying messages to tell — the kind of messages that they’re excited to broadcast with the megaphone. This is why they do their best to overexpose those underexposed.

Feeling privileged to work with such a roster, Zach and the rest of his team at VaynerSpeakers take their responsibility seriously. They make sure that their customers know what their options are, and connect the dots between a speaker and an event. They figure out who the audience is, who the company is, why they’re being brought in, in the first place. They do their best to create a custom message, something that you don’t get to see every day.

If a speaker has an understanding of his or her cultural relevancy and can turn that to his or her audience, VaynerSpeakers will give a platform for that speaker to be heard. For instance, this summer, they have an American-born client who’s supposed to go to Singapore in person. But because of the pandemic, it will only be virtual. But the idea is there: to bring a speaker to an international crowd. To overcome language barriers, they are working on being able to simultaneously translate it into about 20 different languages.

Image from VaynerSpeakers

This is why, right from the start, they make sure that the speakers they represent have a message to share, not just a mere speech. The speakers they’re looking for must have a way to connect with a crowd. For instance, if the speaker will talk about working with business owners and entrepreneurs and he or she comes in as if they’re all employees, they’re going to have a very difficult time having a conversation like that. He or she should have that ability to connect and be authentic — be able to speak to the audience in a way that’s going to be powerful and meaningful for them.

While they provide information that speakers need to perfect their craft and make sure that every presentation is custom, they don’t necessarily coach or write speeches for them. Again, it all goes back to authenticity.

If you know your message, then you should be able to understand how to connect it to a different audience. And that demands more research than otherwise. For example, if you’re sharing your message to teachers, a very special audience, you have to know how to be able to speak to them. There has to be that value of adaptability.  You have to know your audience, be able to craft your message, and own the content. Zach says that if you can’t stand on a soapbox and talk about the thing that you’re most passionate about, then you shouldn’t have been out there in the first place. You’re like a musician who has his style and own form of composition but has to think of something new to stay relevant.


Leveraging the Internet

In the process of being a successful speaker, a lot of work goes on. It’s not an overnight success. So how do VaynerSpeakers help their clients move from one stage or level to another?

It’s leveraging how the internet democratizes information. The internet can be a platform that can expedite success. In this age, for instance, anyone can be a Kim Kardashian quickly. Somebody can release a song on TikTok and two weeks later, that somebody could be playing at the Grammys already.

Image from Pexels

Zach advises that if you have a great story, tell it — and find people to hear it. Remember when Justin Bieber became a phenomenon and to think that he just played a song on YouTube and someone saw it? Well, the rest, as they say, is history. But that was 10 years ago already. Today, things are a lot easier than they were during that time. The good news is, it just keeps getting better. Take advantage of the technology available and grab the opportunity to share your message.

Just don’t lose that self-awareness, he shares. Know what message people would want to hear. Don’t just tell stories; share information in a way that can benefit someone else. Just like how a client of Zach told him all sorts of crazy experiences he encountered and was able to impart lessons in the process — even if Zach did not necessarily find the experiences fun for him on a personal level.

Indeed, great stories become even more effective when they’re told the best way to tell them.


It’s Not About Fame, But the Ability to Share

At VaynerSpeakers, Zach and company try to be as open-minded as possible.

They are looking for people who are different. It’s not exactly fame or following that they’re looking for — it’s the ability to serve and to share. And, of course, good people. They don’t want to bring anyone too much to handle.

Their prospective client need not be this successful or should have this many followers on social media — any sort of periphery numbers and things that don’t really quantify success in the world of speaking engagements. They need authentic speakers who can put the whole package together and simply be themselves.

He knows that a lot of people out there fit the bill. This is why they’re doing their best to eventually grow from a fairly small two-and-a-half-year-old company into an organization that can represent the world — the unnoticed, the underexposed.

To learn more about them, visit Zach is eminently available to help with any event, opportunity, or query.


This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast The UnNoticed, you can listen here.




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