Blimey. That was Quick! or Why Award Nights are over in a flash!

You’ve been busy organising for almost a year and waiting for this night to arrive: “The Awards Ceremony” and judging by the way the Host you’ve hired has just rattled through the categories, it could be the last one your organising too!

And the worse part is, it won’t be your fault.

You’ve created an atmosphere which is electric, and filled the venue with expectant finalists and party people, all eagerly anticipating to know who’s won which category. The venue staff alongside the catering staff work to perfect clockwork timing and then the Host appears on stage ready to start the Awards Ceremony….

The Host begins their usual warm up routine, only, they don’t really stop for the audience to laugh or slow the pace of their delivery either. Soon, the atmosphere changes from relaxed laughter to short giggles as the audience tries to keep up. At first, we brush it off without really giving it a second thought…. But as the Host carries on at the fast pace, repeatedly telling us they have to do it rapidly because, ‘There’s so much to cram in to tonight’s schedule!!!’ the giggles get less and less….

And just before it truly becomes annoyingly noticeable, the impeccable timing of the Host sees them bring the audience altogether by grabbing everyone’s attention as they start reading out, “And moving on to tonight’s Awards and The First of the Categories is….”

But instead of slowing to allow the winners to have their photo taken and have time to get back to their seats, the next lot are up on the stage, photo’ed and ushered off!

What was supposed to be the time to take in the proceedings and time to allow the winners to celebrate and the finalists to congratulate or commiserate now becomes a big blur and towards the end of the categories, no-one’s really listening to the Host accept the last few categories because everyone else is occupied with talking and selfies….

Mayhem? High energy? You decide, but one thing is for sure — you’ve just lost next years attendees as those at the end won’t appreciate not having their 5 minutes of fame.

You’ve lost the atmosphere of the room as the audience was given no time to savour their moments which means the second the last award is given and the Host leaves the stage, they too won’t be that far behind. Evening over! Empty room. No after party business — which is the hidden bonus of these things. Which means next year you will find this particular audience not really bothered about entering again because it all became, well, a bit of an anti climax.

This Awards Night has just been hit by the Secret Assassin — someone somewhere treated your event or more to the point, your budget as a target and they were not going to let you out of their sight. And because of this, you will have to work harder at getting the attendees to come back next year.

So who was the Secret Assassin in this case?

At one particular Award Evening I was attending, I watched the above scenario and noted the audience’s reaction.

To find the Secret Assassin, I asked the questions to find out why the disparity between the Host and the organisers perception?

From the Host’s view point they gave good value as they managed to squeeze the proceedings down by 30 mins which meant they could be on time for their own travel arrangements and felt they were giving the audience more time to dance afterwards as that would be far more entertaining than listening to someone droning on!

However, the organiser didn’t think they got the value as they had thought there would be time for photos and selfies with the Host, especially as they ended ahead of time and it was only as the Host was running off the stage they found out about ‘the diary’ issue…..

The organisation behind the awards booked the Host through a speaker bureau, who then went to another bureau who then went to the management agency of the Host. Between these two bureaus, they had added an additional £10,000 (approximately) between them. The management agency already has a fee arrangement with the Host so the Host knows exactly how much they’ve gone out for and how much their agency will be keeping and how much will be in their pocket at the end. In addition, the Host’s agency had made it clear to the bureau that the diary was already booked for another gig the following day of the Awards night so the end organiser would have to appreciate that the Host would have to leave as soon as possible and not spend the customary time with the end organiser and the audience. No one passed this message on to the end organiser and no one could tell me where this part of the communication got lost while only the inflated costs was successfully communicated.

To make things worse, the Host management agency and the end paying organiser didn’t know the difference in the two charge fees, nor that there were two bureaus involved either which meant that the Host thought they were providing a value of £x + a small % commission for the bureau and that leaving the moment they left the stage was OK, while the other was expecting £x+£10,000 + some mingle time for their value.

I lost a few friends in bureaus that day as I told the management agency how the two bureaus had brought their Host’s performance into question as the end organiser and the audience felt nothing but ‘rush rush rush’. Had the end client known the Host had another engagement and needed to leave straight after, they would have thought twice about using them or made appropriate adjustments.

This is not an isolated case either.

It’s why we built because the process would have only allowed the management agency to have registered the Host’s profile and not either of the bureaus which means if the Organiser had asked the first bureau to register the profile of the Host in the first place, they would have been alerted to the fact that they are not really managing that Host.

In addition, because only the management agency can register, vital decision making communication would not have been lost and the costs would have been kept down too. So if you want to make sure your bureau is truly working directly with the speaker, the Host or the expert — ask them to register that person’s profile and use the iwantaspeaker process to then hire and book them because if they can’t get a profile registered or they want you to then go direct with them once they’ve registered the profile, they could have something they don’t want you to know about lurking in the background about how they truly work and where your funds truly go and they’ve just realised the iwantaspeaker process will uncover this.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve had a similar problem with Secret Assassins. Lets share knowledge and let others know that this does happen and that they are not alone.

by Cindy-Michelle Waterfield

Get smart, save money, be properly informed, use as your process to de-risk booking and working with speakers.

Originally published at on June 20, 2017.