In the world of public speaking, the speakers themselves tend to wear many hats on the job. While speaking at events is the most important function, professional speakers can find themselves performing marketing tasks, sales calls, travel agents, and so much more.
One of the toughest parts of the job is understanding the speaker agreements or contracts that outline the responsibilities and payment of any type of speaking gig. In general, these contracts will outline the scope of the work, including any formal due dates, expectations for the event, and any circumstances that must be met on both sides.
Creating these contracts can be tedious work and should be handled with care as they protect both the speaker and the client if there is a misunderstanding or legal dispute. Having an air-tight speaker agreement will ensure that both the client and speaker understand the terms of the engagement and that the event will run smoothly.
Why You Should Always Have a Speaker Agreement for Any Gig
Speaker agreements or contracts are important because they offer protection for all parties involved. The unfortunate thing about business is that there are surprises waiting around every corner that can hurt your operations, cash flow, and reputation.
In instances where clients refuse to pay, speakers don’t meet the listed requirements, or any other expectations aren’t met, when a speaker agreement is in place, both parties can have legal recourse. Without a contract, you may be limited to your options if something unexpected happens, potentially hurting you financially. That is why, even the most basic speaker agreements, are recommended for every type of event, no matter the size, importance, or length of time.
What You Should Include in a Speaker Agreement
Every speaker agreement will look different depending on the event, speaker, venue, or industry. However, some basic principles should be included in every speaker’s contract.
Emergencies happen, and while speaking events are usually planned far in advance, it’s not the end of the world if a venue or speaker needs to cancel. However, both parties should understand what happens if one party cancels on the other.
Specify Expectations for Pre-, Mid-, and Post-Event
Both parties should be aware of what is required for all stages of an event. This can include items like materials and technology needed for the speaker, travel expenses, audience materials, whether the speaker can be recorded, and so on.
Establish the Scope of Work
Although speaking engagements can seem straightforward, that’s not always the case. It should be clear how long the speaking engagement lasts, whether there is a Q&A section, if the speaker is required to attend any other events, and other related items.
Define Any Nonexclusivity or Confidentiality Agreements
This section of a speaker agreement outlines what the speaker’s content can be used for by both parties. Is the venue allowed to record and distribute the speaker’s engagement? Is the speaker allowed to use the same material at a competing venue? Both parties should clearly understand how the content can be used, whatever the desired situation is.
Don’t Leave Yourself Exposed
Speaker engagements are incredibly important for both the speakers and clients. They clearly outline how the event should go for both parties and provide legal recourse if things don’t go as planned. No matter what type of speaking engagement is, you should always have a speaker agreement in place for protection and ease of mind.