Chartwell Speakers Bureau – #137

Chartwell Speakers Bureau

Chartwell Speakers Bureau

Our guest this week started in the speaking industry in 2012 and began as an agent handling the speaking for a range of motivational speakers from the world of sport, adventure, and military. In 2014 Raleigh Addington relocated to Hong Kong to start the Chartwell Speakers Bureau Asia office. The majority of clients there were financial services firms sourcing experts to speak at their regional conferences. During his time in Asia, he got a lot of experience in “co-broking” with US-Based Agencies. In 2016 he returned to London and took over as Managing Director of Chartwell at that time. His role now mainly consists of handling “exclusive speakers” and managing the corporate speaking engagements for a range of high-profile economists, politicians, technology entrepreneurs & academics.


  • Tell us about Chartwell and what makes them USPs
  • How did you get into the Speaking Industry? What’s your background? 
  • What’s going on in the market?
  • What type of speaker would work with you / Chartwell? 
  • What advice would you give to a speaker looking to get booked by an agency like Chartwell?



Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript

Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.

James Taylor 0:00
I’m James Taylor and you’re listening to the speakers you podcast a show for aspiring and professional speakers. This episode is with my co-host, Maria Franzoni. Enjoy the episode. So I guess this week started in the speaking industry in 2012 and began as an agent handling the speaking for a range of motivational speakers from the world of sport, adventurer, and military. In 2014. He relocated to Hong Kong to start the Chartwell, Asia office. The majority of clients there were financial services firms sourcing experts to speak at their regional conferences. During his time in Asia, he got a lot of experience in Cobra occurring with US-based agencies. And in 2016, he returned to London and took over as Managing Director of Chartwell at that time. His role now mainly consists of handling exclusive speakers and managing the corporate speaking engagements for a wide range of high-profile economists, politicians, technology entrepreneurs, and academics. Please welcome to the show Raleigh Addington from Chartwell Speakers.

Maria Franzoni 1:05
Hello, hello. Hello. Let me make you bigger. Hello. Hello. Hello.

Raleigh Addington 1:08
Hi, Maria. Hi, James. Thank you very much for having me on the show.

Chartwell Speakers

Maria Franzoni 1:12
It’s an absolute pleasure and I’ve noticed James I’m sure you have to that speaker Bureau people are getting younger and younger so I know I’m getting offices getting younger. So let tell us a little bit more about Chartwell for people who don’t know Chartwell, Chartwell has made a bit of a splash in the market in the industry. Very high standard from what I’ve seen in terms of service. But tell me what is the USP what is Chartwell all about?

Raleigh Addington 1:41
Cool, thank you, Maria. Well, the chatbot has been around for about 15 years, and it came out of financial, providing speakers for financial service organizations, really our Chairman’s ex Goldman Sachs banker, and he kind of realized there was a need at the time for for a sort of specialist, financial service speaker agency based in London. So that’s our kind of origins and the types of speakers we work with, as James already mentioned, politicians, economists and thought leaders, people who are speaking at a sort of serious, serious conferences, and a lot of the clients are our banking and financial services organizations.

Maria Franzoni 2:25
Fantastic. And how did you join the charter? How did you get into the speaking industry? For me, it was an accident, was it the same for you?

Raleigh Addington 2:32
Well, I did economics and politics at university in Exeter, and sort of quite soon after graduating, I was approached, to join this firm and kind of ticked my boxes in terms of interests, you know, political side, and the economics. So it was more, you know, more been interested in I’ve done it for 10 years and really enjoy working with, with with a lot of interesting and thoughtful people both on the event side and, and on the speaker’s

What’s going on in the market

James Taylor 3:05
happiness. So in ROI, you’ve been based in Hong Kong, now based in the UK, but kind of seeing the business globally. So what’s going on in the market just now in terms of the kind of inquiries that are coming in? What trends are you seeing what topics are you finding quite hot? Cuz one of the things I was always impressed with Chartwell is you when it comes to topics, you are right on what is happening now. And it’s very kind of, you will have relevance in a kind of topics that you provide speakers. So what’s going on with what you saw?

Raleigh Addington 3:35
Cool? Well, I mean, first of all, I think it’s good news for your speakers because I think there is a degree of pent-up demand of groups who haven’t been able to get back together. Organizations that haven’t been able to see their clients are now putting on events and putting them on with some gusto. So we’re seeing an increase in the number of events. And then trends. Very, I mean, I’m for the first time I’ve been receiving a lot of requests of speakers who can talk about the metaverse and explain that. Inevitably, you know, being an organization that worships political thinkers, we’re seeing, we’ve seen a demand for speakers in Ukraine for the first time or first time in a long time. We’re seeing a demand for people who can understand you know, what NATO is thinking. And then typically, you know, when people do want to know about what’s going on in UK politics, given the uncertainty there at the moment, so a lot of demand and need spaces. And then as you say, emerging trends in technology are always interesting for groups that we work with. And I think that’s the point about being a good speaker for Chartwell Is that you, you aren’t just talking about what’s happened in the past. You’re looking forward and being able to give the client real insight into what’s going on. happened in the next few years? So, yeah, that’s what I’m seeing James.

Hong Kong: China what’s happening

James Taylor 5:06
And what in terms of I mentioned, you spent time in Hong Kong? What are you noticing about Hong Kong can a greater China obviously these markets are very locked down in terms of people being able to physically come into the market. But I’m also wondering, is this given opportunity for maybe Chinese speakers who speak of speaking Mandarin, Cantonese, and English to start bursting out onto the scene?

Raleigh Addington 5:30
I think I think that’s the case to point I think there are a lot of groups in China that want to engage with speakers, even though people can’t travel to the region. And so there’s definitely demand for virtual opportunities there. I’ve got a colleague in Hong Kong, who’s as busy as he’s ever been at the moment booking speakers to come in but not travel into the region that speaks virtually, I think anyone who can speak Chinese and engage with a Chinese audience and it, is interesting for for for us and for our clients. So yeah, if you if you’ve got a profile in China, or you can speak the language, get in touch with us. And we’d certainly be interested in working with you and trying to place your events in that region.

Virtual and In-Person

Maria Franzoni 6:20
Wow, what an opportunity there. If anyone’s listening. That’s an amazing opportunity. Thank you, or So tell me, here’s a question for you. With regards to what’s happening in the marketplace, you mentioned virtual in China, but what are you seeing here in Europe? What are the splits now between virtual and in-person? Is it coming back up? Yeah,

Raleigh Addington 6:42
I mean, it’s changing quite dramatically week in week out from, you know, having been maybe last year might have been 5050. For us, it’s now sort of 70% physical again, and people want to get back in a room and have these discussions, you know, that there’s this virtual thing is great, I think and it’s it’s been a means to an end, while we haven’t been able to see each other, but the longer-term shift is definitely to physical. And suddenly, in my from what I’m saying, and nothing can rival the sort of the impact of being on stage with an audience. And, equally, the discussions you have at the coffee room and the serendipitous type of thing. If you’re meeting if you’re a client meeting, meeting a group, you can’t repeat that, really in the virtual sphere. So think I think your speakers can look forward to being back on stage more and more in the coming months in the comment coming. Yes, it’s positive.

Attractive Speakers

Maria Franzoni 7:45
Fantastic. And what makes a speaker truly attractive to someone like that, you mentioned that obviously, you specialize in politics, economics, financial services, you mentioned some of the topics. You mentioned Chinese, but surely there needs to be a certain level of experience or expertise. Or maybe vi level, is there a criterion for Chartwell for taking on speakers?

Raleigh Addington 8:09
I think I think it does help if they’ve got some experience getting paid speaking engagements are in terms of fees, our average Speaker I think, you know, charges sort of 10,000 plus pounds to do an engagement. So you’d hope that they’re already getting consistently well-paid events that said, you know, I’m we are prepared to work with people who are emerging and up and coming. And if you’re talking about things that are relevant, important look for organizations, then I’d be delighted to, you know, have a conversation with you and see where you could fit with some of our clients as a speaker. And, yeah, I think I think for us, you know, we want you to be relevant, we want you to be topical, we want you to, you know, from a sort of ease of working with you, we want you to be responsive, to be willing to take on engagement to be yes, straightforward to work with, as I know, you always tell speakers, you know, the trick is to make life as easy as possible for bureaus and that’s the same. That’s the same case with Chartwell. As with all the other agencies, I think,

Size of events

James Taylor 9:16
when it comes to the kind of events that you’re seeing, getting booked just now, I noticed that I noticed a big difference from 2019 when it was doing a lot of kind of almost like larger public events, 1000 2000 people type events and obviously went virtual, everything can change a little bit, but it seems to be now a lot of the events I’m doing certainly for this year, are kind of smaller 150 executive or executive level C suite level, more focused, nicer locations, more kind of nicer off sites that I’m seeing. I’m not seeing maybe that’s because I’m not based in the US but as many of those big kinds of Las Vegas or big Orlando stuff. So I’d be interested. What are you seeing because you work with the financial services banking that kind of well, so they’re, they’re often a little bit different.

Raleigh Addington 10:03
Yeah, I think I think what you’re seeing is a reflection of what we’re seeing. And what you’d expect is that you know, higher-level events, and what we’re seeing is that event planners have learned to record these events and spread the word in a very efficient way. So you, you bring in a speaker to a smaller event, but then you share it with a wider audience. On and, and again, a lot of what I’m doing is, you know, working with speakers to work out what we want, what material we want to be recorded, and when we can agree to have it recorded, what restrictions we put around, having an engagement shared, and that’s the hybrid speaking engagement is something new and something that we’ve sort of been navigating at Chartwell of what it means, but I think, I think, yeah, there aren’t as many gatherings of 1000 plus people at the moment in the UK, in America, I think you’re right in saying things are going ahead. And that’s happening about

Chartwell Speakers Bureau


James Taylor 11:07
what is the upsell look like for your speakers? Because I think you have a lot of bureaus who handle let’s say, more, more traditional middle of the road, kind of professional speakers out there. The upsell is, everyone in the vent gets books, or maybe there’s some kind of webinar thing that happens before afters. So you represent a lot of people who are economists, politicians, your thought is at the cutting edge mentioned Metaverse, there. What is the upsell from the keynote? Is it executive briefings? What’s kind of going on there?

Raleigh Addington 11:38
It’s a good question. We don’t we you know, we are on our snap speaker bureau. We don’t really specialize in securing our speaker’s consultancy engagements off the back of speaking engagements or, or sort of further briefing opportunities. I mean, the best sign for me of a speaker succeeding is them getting booked again, for a similar event in the coming months to perhaps a different group or, or the same sort of firm. So yeah, in terms of upselling, I think, you know, sometimes speakers have their own consultancy where they’re able to do that. And that can be a bit of a challenge for us if I’m honest. Because if you’ve got your own business to promote, then perhaps you shouldn’t be speaking for free or speaking for, you know, you’ve got other demands, wanting you, you know, meaning that you should be speaking so. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s an interesting thing to think about. But at the moment, we don’t have big upsell opportunities for speakers,

James Taylor 12:42
rather than kind of upselling. How do you go across an organization? Let’s say you get in with a new financial services client, they come to you, you book a great speaker with them. But you see, well, this is a 10,000 person firm. How do you go from a bureau speaker? How do you sell across the organization into other countries? Other divisions?

Raleigh Addington 13:02
Yeah, I mean, I mean, this, the speakers sell themselves quite often, if they do a really good job, you know, they’ll then get booked out, we do, we would always reach out to the company and say, Look, you know, you may be interested in booking this speaker, again, equally, we have speakers who we call a sell-off. So if one speaker did a really good job last year, in an event, we’ll have a similar speaker who can fill fit the same sort of profile as, as as, as the one had done the previous year, and then we’d bring them in. So that’s why we kind of have a roster of similar types of speakers in different areas. So if it was, if it was a UK political figure, one year, we’ll know that we’re probably can find a similar UK political figure who can speak on a similar topic, but on a slightly different angle, the next year, and the same goes for technology and a lot of other areas. So yeah, that’s that would be one of my advice when choosing which bureaus to work with, is to make sure that they have some similar speakers to you because often, you know when you can’t do something the other speaker can step into, and vice versa. If, if the other speakers can’t do it, you can fill their shoes and it sort of keeps the world going round. And that works well for us.

James Taylor 14:23
I’m James Taylor, keynote speaker, and speaker business coach, and this is the speakers you podcast. If you enjoy listening to conversations that will help you launch and grow your speaking business fast new thought possible, then you’ve come to the right place. Each week we discuss marketing strategies, sales techniques, as well as ideas to increase the profitability of your speaking business and develop your craft. You’ll find show notes for today’s episode as well as free speaker business training at speakers This week’s episode is sponsored by speakers you the online community for international speakers, speakers, you help you launch grow, and monetize your speaking business fast then you thought possible. If you want to share your message as a highly paid speaker, then speakers will teach you how just go to speakers to access their free speaker business training.

Video footage

Maria Franzoni 15:10
So let me share some of the comments we’re getting. So good day. Thank you ties for saying Good day. Fantastic. I have a passion for financial education, financial wellness. Thank you. George. Really interesting, great tamale. Yes, a glorious mix. This is about you, I think, a glorious mix of youthful good looks focused insights, and being able to say Metaverse as if he knows what he’s talking about. So I think that’s a compliment. And, and Tom’s also added that it’s interesting that in the UK, clients have learned to film smaller events and distribute the footage to a wider audience. That’s a problem in a way, isn’t it in terms of pricing when a client does that, where they’ll film it? And they want to use that footage? Because pre COVID We were very strict about recording. I don’t know if you were to and you didn’t really want the speech the content distributed? How do you guys handle that when a client wants the footage recorded and shared?

Raleigh Addington 16:05
Yeah, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t call it a problem. But I think it’s definitely something you need to consider when being booked and you need to sort of taking it into account if you’re going to do the speech, it could end up on social media, what we generally ask clients to do is just you know, they’re welcome to record it and keep it internally, but not to share it on social media channels. And when it sort of goes out on social media channels, that’s when life becomes a bit more complicated. And we probably should, you know, would want to charge higher fees for force for speakers. And, and plants are often very agreeable to keeping it on the internet and sharing it with their teams, and then deleting it after 3060 or 90 days.

Day in the life of Chartwell

Maria Franzoni 16:52
I’ve got another question because I’m nosy. Having been in the industry before, I love to know, what’s the day in a life of, you know, for you like working in the speaker bureau? What’s it like? What’s described the day as a typical day?

Raleigh Addington 17:09
Yeah, well, my day in my day, you know, I will touch him with several speakers, I’ll have calls with them, see what they’re up to. I love hearing, you know, I love being really up to date with what a speaker is doing and where he’s where he or she has spoken, and what news articles might have been written about them or their topics, what books they’re writing because by being up to date, I can sound very informed when I go to event planners about what they’re doing. So for me, that’s a big part of my job is knowing what speakers are doing, so that I can then update them. And then, you know, once I’ve, once I’ve got the information about my speakers, I can then share it with others. And then and then another part of my day is is you know, negotiating the best, the best, the best opportunities for speakers I work with. So yeah, and, and making sure that they’re, you know, correctly reimbursed for their work and, and the contracts are watertight and things so as you know, Maria, from firsthand experience, you know, it’s when things go a bit wrong is when you can find yourself firefighting a lot. So you’ve got to get everything right and flush out all the details of an event before you sort of go to a contract stage. Because you can end up spending a lot of time unraveling problems. If you don’t, if you don’t get the stuff right at the beginning of the process.

Selling across organizations

Maria Franzoni 18:43
There’s so much admin involved. It’s incredible, isn’t it and you have to have a good process and you’ve got to dot the i’s and cross the T’s you’ve got to be a detail person, which actually in a way goes against being sort of like a salesperson, because salesperson, often it’s about the relationship rather than the detail. You have to do both in a bureau but not only that, I think it’s not very much selling interview, you’re informing you’re telling people you’re informing, you’re not needing to sell because the speakers sell themselves because they are, you know, their content is so good. If they’ve got it right, it’s actually not difficult.

Raleigh Addington 19:14
No, but you’re putting people on their radar you’re putting you’ve got to put people ahead of how other people put our speakers in, in event planners’ names because it is a competitive world out there. And there are lots of other bureaus you know, reaching out to event planners and so you’ve got to make sure that yours as a bureau and your speakers are at the forefront of event planners mind so might not be sales, but it’s informing is a good good good way to

Unfair advantage

James Taylor 19:46
I’m assuming when a client comes to you, you may be putting two or three different speakers to walk forward to them for a particular reef or maybe completely wrong and now we would just one but if it is multiple speakers, what would give Speaker an unfair advantage to win against their competition of two other speakers.

Raleigh Addington 20:06
I mean, I profile is key, you know, if the event plan is already heard of the speaker is read, read, read his or her book, and engage, you know, you’re kind of ahead of the game. If you if you do have the profile, if you’re associated with a company even that the, the event planner might know, that helps, you know, there’s no, there’s no getting away from it. And then if you’re, you know, if everything’s up to date, you’ve done something interesting eye-catching, recently, then that that Vatel really helps. And I think, yeah, to set yourself out from the crowd, you need to be as relevant as up to date as possible. And you can’t just, you know, you’ve got to be putting yourself in the shoes of the event plan on talking about what the event planner wants to hear about, not necessarily what you think that, you know, is interesting. And I’m sure Maria and James, you tell your speakers this the whole time?

Chartwell Speakers Bureau

Choosing an international bureau

Maria Franzoni 21:09
Absolutely. There’s a nice message here. Unfortunately, we can’t see the person’s name, but they’re saying good morning from the US. So hello, over there across the pond. Thanks for going live this morning. Any advice for speakers, when it comes to choosing an International Bureau to work with?

Raleigh Addington 21:27
You’ve got to choose the bureau that’s the right fit for you. And that you think, you know, will work hard for you and represent you properly. I don’t I don’t think my advice is to reach out to several, you know international bureaus and speak to the principles there and see if they get you and engage with you. And if they’re prepared to work hard with you there. You know, there are several multiple, you know, very reputable bureaus out there. So it’s about finding somebody who’s really going to be in your corner you’re going to enjoy working with and who’s going to go out to bat for you in an aggressive and effective manner. That would be my advice.

James Taylor 22:09
Maybe that person asked that question, if you could when you say International is your particular region, a part of the world you’re thinking over a particular country that you’re thinking of? Because international sounds like big is like an LSB? I think it’s the only way because maybe there’s a global speaker bureau with offices in different countries. I mean, am I wrong on that?

Maria Franzoni 22:32
Maria? At the moment? Yeah, I suspect there are others. There’s definitely some bureaus hot on their tail chart was doing very well. They’ve got offices where you’ve got offices, you’ve got offices, Hong Kong, London,

Raleigh Addington 22:43
us, Dublin, and Dallas. Yeah, so we do have an international footprint, but you know, yeah. LSB leading authorities are obviously, you know, have a presence here in London.

Maria Franzoni 22:55
Yeah, I suggest Actually, I’d like to give a bit of advice to our LinkedIn user, go to That is the International Association of speaker bureaus and have a look there. And if you’re interested in Europe is EA SB, which is the European Association of speaker bureaus. And of course, Chartwell, our members, because these, you have to be a certain level of turnover and certain criteria to be a member of these associations. So that’s it. I think you’ve given us incredible amounts of value here, Raleigh, and I know you’re very busy. What’s the best way for people to contact you and do you want people to contact you or are you super busy? So the website is If they are contacting you, I imagine you’re very interested to hear from any clients looking for speakers in the political-economic, financial services, and Metaverse, area technology area. With regards to speakers, are you happy to be contacted? Are you too busy?

Raleigh Addington 23:48
No, I’m never too busy. I love love, love connecting with people, and hearing what people are doing. Do just do get in touch, you know, my emails on our, on our website. And it’s and it’s always, always interesting to hear from people. And if I can’t help, I’ll certainly point you in the right you try and point you in the right direction or, you know, well, we’re also having a conversation with with with Maria and James. And I might end up sending said to you back to back to talk to

Maria Franzoni 24:22
brilliant. They said thank you so much. It’s been invaluable. We’re going to release you and let you go. And yeah, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you both. I’ve really enjoyed it.

James Taylor 24:32
Thank you. Thanks so much. You can subscribe to the speakers you podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts while you’re there. Leave us a review. I really appreciate it. I’m James Taylor and you’ve been listening to the speakers you podcast.

Chartwell Speakers Bureau