Advice and speaker agreement templates for busy conference and exhibition managers brought to you by Lineup Ninja.
What's the purpose of a speaker agreement?
Speaker agreements are intended to help assure the quality of your event's content, to protect your event's reputation and potentially its legal and financial wellbeing.
They do this by:
- Communicating clearly to the speaker what is expected of them
- Getting the speaker to commit to adhering to your show’s editorial, behavioural and production policies/guidelines.
- Obtaining permission from the speaker to use their data in certain ways.
- Setting out liabilities and legal recourse in the event of a dispute.
This encourages speakers to take those guidelines more seriously and — in the event of a speaker breaching those guidelines — gives you some collateral to manage any PR fallout: “well he did sign an agreement saying that he wouldn’t scream misogynistic vitriol at the female panelists”.
How formal / legally binding should it be?
This really depends on the size and type of event you’re running.
For a small trade show where your speakers are promoting themselves, their products and services, and are sharing information that’s already in the public realm, your speaker agreement can probably be quite simple and informal.
However, some scientific, medical or technical conferences could involve speakers sharing new research findings or proprietary innovation, where there needs to be tighter control over how, where and when information is shared.
For example, if the conference is associated with a journal that has exclusive rights to publish the proceedings, you may want speakers to enter into a legally binding contract that prohibits them from presenting the same paper at another conference, or publishing it elsewhere.
Also, if money is changing hands (i.e. you pay your speakers, or reimburse their travel and accommodation costs), you may wish to draw up a legally binding contract. This will set out the terms of who gets what, when. And of course, what happens in the event of a no-show etc.
What should a speaker agreement include?
Depending on your conference, a speaker agreement could include sections on the following:
- Practicalities: when and where to arrive, what to bring, session duration, deadline for submitting slides, format of slides etc.
- Details on payment, expenses etc.
- Intellectual property ownership and protection
- Exclusivity (i.e. not presenting the same content at another conference)
- Permission to use speakers’ image and a recording of their talk
- Permission to share speakers’ slides
- What will happen in the event of a speaker no-show
- What will happen in the event of event cancellation or postponement
Where can you find a template?
Find free speaker agreement templates via Lineup Ninja here.