Speaking Engagement Contract

Written by Wesley Henderson

February 18, 2023

a woman speaking

If you are a speaker whom businesses hire to present at a seminar or event, a speaking engagement contract is essential. This document legally binds you and the event host to certain responsibilities that everyone involved must fulfill. In this blog, we’ll explore what these documents contain and how they are beneficial to you as the speaker and the event host.

What Is a Speaking Engagement Contract?

Speaking engagement contracts are legal documents that outline the details of your speaking engagement. As the speaker, the event hosts are your clients. You can prepare a contract for the host company; sometimes, host companies will also prepare a contract for you to sign.

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What Does a Speaking Engagement Contract Include?

If you are preparing a speaking engagement contract to give to your clients, be sure to include some critical provisions to protect your rights. These may include:

  • Fees: Be sure to let your client know beforehand about your speaking fees. Establishing expectations before proceeding with a speaking engagement ensures that everyone involved has a clear idea of the terms of the contract. From there, you can craft a deposit fee as a dollar amount or percentage of the total price.
  • Cancellation Clause: You never know when a client will face an emergency that might require them to cancel the event that they booked you to attend. Thus, your contract must establish your terms should they cancel an engagement. Consider specifying a timeframe, charging a cancellation fee, and identifying actions that constitute cancellation.
  • Scope of Services: This provision will outline what speaking services you will provide and how long your speaking engagement will last. Any client reading your contract must fully understand what they are booking you for. Define your scope as clearly and in as much detail as possible.
  • Assistance and Information: You and your client expect to have a successful event. As a professional speaker, you must understand what you need from your client to ensure that you can deliver your services the best way while meeting your client’s needs. For example, you will need to collect background information from the client. You may also need to discuss transportation. Will they shoulder your travel expenses? If so, will you factor that into your fees?
  • Confidentiality Agreements: Be sure to mention “intellectual property” in speaking engagement contracts. Depending on your client’s industry, you may have to tailor your speech to include sensitive information that you must ensure does not leak. However, other industries may be lenient and you can mention that you reserve the right to reuse any part of your work in future speaking engagements.

What Are the Benefits of Having a Speaking Engagement Contract?

Having a speaking engagement contract is beneficial to both parties. Here are some benefits of preparing a speaking engagement contract for you and your clients.

Clarify Your Terms and Fees

As the speaker, you get the assurance that your speaking fees and other terms are clear and binding. When you have everything in writing, you are in a more advantageous position when negotiating speaking engagements with potential clients.

Secure Payment and Establish Expectations

Speaking engagement contracts help secure full payment for speaking services upon completion of the speaking engagement. This document also outlines your speaking obligations to the client, allowing them to ground their expectations on the specific services you mentioned in your contract.

Protects Your Rights and Interests

A speaking engagement contract protects your rights and interests in the speaking engagement. This document serves as evidence should any dispute arise about the speaking services you provided or your speaking fees.

Protect Yourself From Liability

Speaking engagement contracts also provide a safety net for both parties in case something goes amiss during the speaking engagement. Just like any professional in any field, you will benefit from having a contract that protects you from legal liability should the occasion arise.

Let Clients Know You Are Professional

With a speaking engagement contract, you are presenting yourself as a professional in your field. Clients will get a comprehensive view of your speaking services and know that they are dealing with a professional speaker who values their speaking services.

Establish Your Terms With a Speaking Engagement Contract

Speaking engagement contracts are critical documents to have for any professional speaker. There are a myriad of ways to launch your speaking business and event get on platforms that display your pitch.

These legal documents allow you to secure your speaking fees, establish your duties as the event speaker, and protect yourself from potential legal disputes regarding the event your client booked you to join.

When you craft a speaking engagement contract to give to your clients, you must include certain elements, such as clauses that establish what actions you will take or fees you will charge should they fail to meet your conditions. Otherwise, consider customizing a template to fit your specific terms.


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