The speaking world is full of forms and contracts – the two most important are the contract you'll fax to the meeting planner who's agreed to hire you and the preprogram questionnaire that you'll send out to the planner before the event.
Your credibility is on the line with each one of these documents – they need to be highly professional.
Here is a sample booking contract:
Corporation) has agreed to hire ________________(Ms. Speaker)
to speak at the convention held at ______________(time)
_____________________________ (location) on
Deposit and Cancellations Policy:
o An advance retainer of 50% is required with the return of signed agreement.
o In the event of program cancellation, Ms. Speaker will rebook the program on
o a mutually convenient date with no penalty. Due to potential loss of income to the speaker, cancellation of this date less than 30 days prior to the event carries a penalty of the deposit being non-refundable.
Travel and Accommodation:
o All fees are as quoted, plus travel expenses. Ms. Speaker will book full coach airfare and expenses will be invoiced after the program has been completed. Airfare is always prorated when the itinerary involves multiple clients.
o Speaker's accommodation, meals and ground transportation will be billed direct to your organization.
o Please note that speaker's materials, written, oral or visual, are copyrighted and may not be used or reproduced without the written consent of the speaker.
o Participants' handouts are billed separately.
o No recording, audio or visual, may be made without the
prior written permission of the speaker.
o The speaker reserves the right to make available books
and A/V materials for sale or viewing purposes to the participants with client approval.
While it is standard practice for the client to cover travel and accommodation expenses, some speakers charge a flat fee to cover expenses where travel is involved. It makes for less paperwork and is something that the client can work into the budget ahead of time.
I recommend having a flat fee policy since it means that payment for expenses will be included in the final check you receive on the day of your speaking engagement.
Another benefit of having a flat fee policy means that there are no
unpleasant surprises for the client long after the event is over and they receive
a whopping bill for expenses.
However you decide to handle expenses, it's important to let clients know up front and to be consistent with each client.
Once hired, you should send the client a pre-program questionnaire to help you customize your speech to the needs of this particular group. This questionnaire should cover such things as confirming time, date and location of your speech, Agenda of program, whether other speakers are on before or after your speech, Theme of the conference, expected number of attendees and any other information that will help you do a better job on the stage.
Professional contracts will make your work much easier and make you look highly professional – which of course you are!