If you’re like a lot of speakers, COVID-19 came with some hard lessons. Nobody expected a pandemic, and here’s the rub: because we weren’t expecting it, we weren’t prepared for it. And neither were our speaking contracts. Many of us never considered what course of action we’d take in this situation since we’d never had to before.
But as the pandemic continues, many speakers are taking this time to revisit their speaker contracts in order to better protect themselves in the future.
With that in mind, we reached out to Jane Atkinson at Speaker Launcher, which specializes in coaching speakers to success, to get her thoughts on three additions you can work into your contacts to make sure you’re crossing your T’s and dot your I’s — and her recommended language for how to incorporate them.
1. Add a COVID Clause
This might seem obvious now but hang on. Hindsight’s always 20/20. When Jane says you should add a “COVID clause,” what she really means is that you should consider adding in a clause pertaining to what’s known as force majeure.
This wide-ranging term refers to the unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract.
And while a pandemic might seem like a no-brainer at this point, there are other things that can and should be included in this clause, including conflicts, natural disasters, and pandemics.
The reality is that you never know what might happen, so cover your bases to be safe.
Jane’s recommended language: In the event of force majeure, including but not limited to war, natural disaster, or pandemic, the 50% deposit will remain with the speaker and be applied to a speaking engagement in the future or a virtual event. Our goal is to ensure that you receive full value for your investment.
2. Include a Deposit
One of the most hotly-contested topics when COVID-19 hit was what would be done with deposits on events that were canceled or postponed, or what would happen in the event that a deposit was never provided in the first place.
That’s why Jane recommends adding in a deposit clause if you don’t already have one, or revising your existing one to be as clear as possible if you do have one.
What should your deposit clause look like?
Consider incorporating a standard 50% deposit with the remaining balance due at a predetermined date — whether before, at, or after the scheduled speaking engagement.
Jane’s recommended language: A deposit of 50% of the full fee will be due immediately to hold the date of [EVENT DATE HERE]. The remainder of the fee (50%) will be due on the day of the event. For virtual events, please mail check one week prior.
But how can you handle unexpected cancellations or postponements?
3. Encourage Clients to Record You, Whether It’s Live or Virtual
Here’s something you might not be thinking about: the more footage you gather, the better it is for you.
Because, alongside your one-sheet, your demo reel is one of the most important sales tools at your disposal (for more detail about both of these, check out our blog post: 3 Things You’re Probably Not Doing That Might be Costing Your Gigs).
So, by using your contract to encourage people to videotape you, whether it be a live or a virtual event, the more money-making assets you’ll ultimately have at your disposal.
Jane’s recommended language: We appreciate the videotaping of [YOUR NAME HERE]’s presentation and would simply ask that approval be requested beforehand along with your intended use. We also request a high-resolution download and the ability to use the footage for promotional purposes.
All too often, speaker contracts become a one-and-done part of your business. But the reality is that they’re critically important in protecting you and your business so it’s wise for you to take some time to regularly review and update them.
If you’d like to learn more about how to scale your speaking business, get in touch with Jane.
And if you’re looking for an easy and efficient way to book more gigs, boost your revenue, and create even stronger relationships with your contacts, we can help. Sign-up for a 14-day free trial to see how karmaSpeaker can help you grow your speaking business. And if you have other questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team is here to help you.