What to Include in a Speaking Contract
By Laura Petherbridge
In my early speaking years I didn’t use a contract. I assumed that it was unnecessary.
I was wrong.
Learning the hard way often hones your skills. Most of my events are conducted in a church. Therefore, the majority of my tips are geared toward that audience.
Here is what I suggest to include when creating a contract between a speaker and a host.
At the Top Host Details
- Your name, title, web address and contact information
- The host name, address, web site and phone number
- Event address if different from host
- The host’s contact person or event coordinator/chairman, phone numbers, and e-mails.
- Name and phone of transportation person if different.
- Date and time of each presentation
- Number and length of presentations
- Title of speaking topic (s)
- Speaking fee to be paid for these presentations-If an honorarium I state “Laura agrees to waive her normal speaking fee in lieu of an honorarium.”
- That air travel, lodging, airport shuttle and meals are in addition to the speaking fee
Logistical Details-I list exactly what we have agreed upon. For me this includes:
- A microphone and sound technician (I can’t tell you the number of times I have arrived and there is no mic, or there is a mic but no one knows how to turn on the sound system)
- Each participant will receive a handout (I send a master before the event and host is required to duplicate)
- 2- 6 ft book tables located in a high traffic spot near my event.
- A volunteer to work the table who is able to arrive at least 30 minutes before the event.
- All sales and receipts belong to the speaker (some events/churches expect you to give them a percentage)
- My messages may NOT be duplicated or sold. (Selling my messages is how I make my living therefore I do not allow other duplications unless previously agreed upon.)
- Deposit : I book my own flights. Therefore, I request a non-refundable deposit that will cover the flight amount should the host cancel.
- Cancellation Policy: If host cancels event less than 60 days out I request a $500 payment. This doesn’t leave time for me to book another event, therefore they are paying for taking that date off my calendar and keeping me from earning income.
- If they cancel less than 30 days out they pay the entire speaking amount plus any costs that have been incurred (such as shipping product).
I added all of this after a very large church I had spoken at 3 times invited me back to speak for 5 days, each day to a different large group. (Singles, women, divorce prevention, divorce recovery). Four days before I was to fly there one pastor called and cancelled—all of it. I had purchased and shipped a LARGE quantity of product, which cost me a great deal of money. That huge financial loss taught me that I had to protect myself. I send out a special thanks to author and speaker, Mary Southerland, for her encouragement and advice during that season. I almost stepped off the speaking platform, and she sent the comfort and insight I needed.
- I include the phrase “This agreement transfers to new leadership and must be signed by a staff person, not a volunteer.” (Churches often change staff and you want to make sure the commitment is honored even under new leadership.) I once had a volunteer sign, then the church would not agree to pay. She did not have the authority to hire a speaker.
- Signature of Staff Person/date-signed and printed.
- I include the date the deposit must be paid, that the balance is due the day I speak, and my fax number and address so they can send original with the deposit check.
I pray this has helped others to create or fine tune their own contract. It brings peace of mind, limits surprises and allows everyone involved to clearly understand the commitment. www.LauraPetherbridge.com