Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some commonly asked questions and answers regarding working with the Speakers Bureau.

How are speakers selected to participate in the Speakers Bureau?

  • UW–Madison faculty and staff who participate in the Speakers Bureau are experts in their respective fields. They have dynamic and engaging ways of presenting their knowledge and research, as well as a demonstrated interest in statewide outreach and engagement.

How do I request a speaker?

  • Complete the online request form, or contact the Speakers Bureau directly at 608-262-3880 or speakers@uwmad.wisc.edu.

Who is eligible to request a speaker?

  • Professional, community, and civic organizations, libraries, and school groups of 30 or more people. Please note that this program is intended for audiences that are external to UW–Madison.

How far in advance must requests be made?

  • A minimum of four weeks advance notice is required, although many hosting organizations schedule talks between two and six months in advance.

How often may groups schedule a UW Speaker?

  • We invite organizations to host up to two Speakers Bureau talks each calendar year.

What are the costs to host a speaker through the Speakers Bureau?

  • Talks are provided free of charge through the Speakers Bureau as a public service to the State of Wisconsin.
  • Hosting organizations are required to cover any costs for a talk event beyond the speaker’s travel, which is covered by the Speakers Bureau.
  • Costs that hosting groups may incur include: talk staffing or preparation costs, event space fees, audiovisual equipment, talk marketing, and promotion, etc.

What are the responsibilities of a hosting group?

  1. Submit an online request, including as much detail as possible regarding your group’s needs, goals, and interests.
  2. Identify one person who will serve as the point person on behalf of the host group for the event.
  3. Respond to Speakers Bureau communications in a timely manner during the event planning process.
  4. Provide a formal introduction of the speaker at the event — the Speakers Bureau will include a short biography of the speaker in the talk confirmation.
  5. Space-permitting, include a mention of the “UW–Madison Speakers Bureau” in any promotional materials for the talk.
  6. Provide A/V equipment, as requested by the speaker. Groups are encouraged to test A/V ahead of time and have someone on-site who is knowledgeable about A/V to avoid any issues the day of the talk.
  7. As a courtesy, you are encouraged to provide water for the speaker during his/her talk.
  8. Complete and return the evaluation form that will be sent to you following the event.

What if my group does not have access to audiovisual equipment (A/V)?

  • Although some speakers may give talks without audiovisual equipment (A/V), most require some form of A/V. If your group is unable to arrange the required A/V for a talk, contact a Speakers Bureau staff member for assistance.

Do you have any tips when preparing to complete the online talk request form?

  • It typically takes five to ten minutes to complete the form. Please note that the more details you provide, the more effective and efficient the Speakers Bureau may be in matching you with a speaker that best meets the needs of your group/organization.
  • Before beginning to complete the form, please have the following information available:
    • The desired date and time for the talk, as well as a second choice date/time (if applicable)
    • Information about your group, including size, demographics, etc.
    • The name/names of the desired speaker(s) and/or a range of speaker topics that most interest your group
    • A day-of event contact person, including a phone number

Why am I required to identify a specific date/time for the talk in the online form?

  • To facilitate an efficient scheduling process, the Speakers Bureau asks groups to identify an event date when initially making a request.
  • If your date is flexible, please indicate that in the online form and provide background in the “Additional Comments” section.
  • Please keep in mind that due to holidays, university breaks, and faculty/staff schedules and/or workload, there may be talk event requests that the Speakers Bureau is unable to accommodate.

What if I don’t find a speaker or topic that meets the needs of my organization on the Speakers Bureau List of Registered Speakers?

  • The Speakers Bureau is dedicated to finding a speaker and topic to best suit your event. Please contact a Speakers Bureau staff member at 608-262-3880 or speakers@uwmad.wisc.edu for assistance with this process.
  • A staff member will work with you to identify a speaker and topic from the existing list or will work to identify a UW–Madison speaker who is not yet registered with the Speakers Bureau.

I see that most speakers on your lists feature one or more talk titles. Do they also offer additional and/or customized talks?

  • Speakers may offer more talk options than featured in their online profile. To learn more about talk options offered by a particular speaker, contact a Speakers Bureau staff member.
  • Most speakers will take pre-prepared talks and slightly tailor them to their audiences.
  • Because speakers are donating their time to the Speakers Bureau, talks should usually require relatively little preparation time for our speakers outside of travel time and the talk event, itself.
  • Please keep in mind that the intention of the Speakers Bureau is to offer educational enrichment for the purposes of building relationships with Wisconsin communities. It is not designed to serve as a replacement for what might normally be paid professional development.

May I talk directly with a speaker during the talk event planning process?

  • Due to the fact that most of our speakers have very full schedules, host groups and speakers typically do not talk directly with each other prior to the day of the talk.
  • Speakers Bureau staff are happy to triage any questions that you may have for your speaker and will serve as the main point of contact for both you and the speaker throughout the event planning process.
  • If your group has a special need to talk directly with a speaker in advance, please let the Speakers Bureau staff know and we will explore the possibility of this.

What if there is last minute scheduling change for my group’s Speakers Bureau talk?

  • If an emergency/urgent matter arises less than 48 hours prior to a scheduled talk, you may contact the speaker via his/her cell phone directly if it is available on the confirmation. If his/her cell is not available, please contact the Speakers Bureau at 608-262-3880 for assistance.

We would like to give an honorarium or gift to our speaker – is that allowed?

  • Honorariums or gifts, including monetary gifts and gift cards, are discouraged. Speakers Bureau speakers have an interest in engaging with the community and are reimbursed for their travel expenses by the Speakers Bureau.