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Event Planning

Does Your Speaker Agreement Include These 3 Things?

A2Z Team January 20, 2021
Table of Contents
3 min read

Without a doubt, booking a speaker can take your event to the next level. However, it can often become overwhelming when you start to look at the fine details within the legal agreement. This is the agreement that is securing both you and the speaker throughout the process, after all. It’s important!

The real question is, where do you even start? We’ve put together three musts when it comes to developing your Speaker Agreement so that you and your speaker are legally secure while working together.

Cancellation Policy

As we all know, things happen. Speakers may have an unexpected emergency or an event may be cancelled entirely, so important for your Speaker Agreement to have a cancellation policy within the contract.

If you have to cancel the event, will you still pay them? If your speaker cancels on you, are they held accountable? These are all questions you must ask yourself and include to ensure security. You’ll want someone on your legal team to provide the exact language, but here’s an example of a Cancellation clause:

“In the event this Agreement is cancelled by either party 30 days or more before the date of the performance, the liability of the canceling party to the other shall be limited to Speaker’s non-refundable travel expenses (if cancellation is by organization name) or to the advertising, promotional, and ticketing expenses already incurred by organization name (if cancelled by Speaker). Except as may otherwise be provided herein if either party cancels the Agreement within 29 days of the performance date, the liability of the canceling party shall be one half of the Performance Fee, it being agreed that in this regard actual damages to the aggrieved party on account of cancellation shall be difficult, if not impossible, to calculate, and that this amount represents a reasonable amount of liquidated damages and not a penalty. This agreement may be cancelled at any time by mutual written agreement of the parties.” (Vanderbilt University)


Providing a stipend can make speaking at your event more enticing, and give it more credibility. But, you’ll want to be sure to clearly define which expenses you will be covering in your agreement for clarity for the speaker and your own budgeting purposes.

To ensure less confusion and questions down the road, make sure you clearly outline things like:

  • Travel
  • Hotel Accommodations
  • Ground Transportation
  • Meals
  • Conference Pass(es)
  • Payment

You may only need to include two or three of these items (some only apply to in-person events, for example) but if money is involved, it should be addressed.

Note: be sure to also outline when and how you’ll reimburse their costs, and what you may need (a receipt, for example) in order to process the reimbursement.

Permission to Photograph or Record

Your speakers are going to have some AMAZING content. Therefore, you’re probably going to want to record and photograph them to use for post-show marketing, to share with attendees, or to sell to non-attendees. If that will be the case, consider including something like the following:

“The parties agree that organization name may make audio and video recordings of Speaker’s performance and include portions of such recordings or photography in media publications.  Photographs, video, or recordings made by organization name will be used for social media, advertisements, printing materials, etc. Organization name agrees that it will not use flash photography and will not broadcast or distribute Speaker’s performance in its entirety without Speaker’s written permission (signed contract).” (Vanderbilt University)

It may not be something your organization is used to doing when planning events, but taking the time to draw up a legal agreement with your speakers will go a long way toward protecting your company — as well as protecting the speaker!

Event planning is all about the details, and speaker agreements are just one of those details that many first-time event planners don’t always think of. For more tips from the pros, download our free guide: