Write a Speaker Contract that Gets Corporates to Say ‘Yes’

By Sarah Fox

You can write your own speaker contract.

Not convinced? Let’s start with what I do know – your skills in crafting the perfect keynote or training event, your inherent skill with the spoken word means you are good with words. This post will help with the legal bits.

Do You Already Have a Speaker Contract?

If you get paid for your work, then you have a contract. It could be an exchange of emails, a proposal and reply, or a document marked ‘terms and conditions’. But if you want to safeguard your intellectual property, prevent scope creep and stay flexible in a pandemic, you will need a little more.

What the Law Needs

If there is no signed document, then – under English law – a contract is evidenced by five elements: offer (e.g. your proposal), acceptance (e.g. their reply), consideration (anything of value e.g. cold hard cash), an intention to create legal relations (presumed in the B2B context) and certain terms (i.e. ones which make sense to an outsider).

Quick note: contracts don’t need to be signed to be valid – a ‘yes’ to your proposal is often enough. So think about how you can make it easy for a client to agree to your contract.

Content is King

It’s a myth that corporates prefer complex contracts. The speed of doing business is faster with a simple speaker contract, and they can easily verify it meets their needs and understanding. A simple contract gets you the ‘yes’ faster.

When it comes to writing your content, think how it can make life easier for your client. Set out what you would like your client to provide or do such as pre-event briefings or AV checks, access to delegate information, permission for testimonials etc, and insurance for the event.  Their role is not just to pay you!

Members of the PSA have access to the Speakers’ Hub where I set out these four elements of core content that your speaker contract needs:

  • Scope: what you are doing (and when) as well as what you are not doing for example my contract says I won’t provide legal advice or comments on specific projects as part of my talk; separately you should also set out what your client is doing such as providing access to the venue, virtual or in person facilities, cups of tea, pianos or even a red ladder.
  • Trust: contracts are part of your marketing so use them to build trust with your client. The sort of terms that build trust are ones where you say you will keep their information confidential, provides any sort of money-back guarantee, sets out the results they will achieve after your event, or allows them to cancel and rearrange. You may want to show you will take relevant tests before an event or are vaccinated.
  • Aims: it is critical to repeat and set out what your client wants to achieve and how your services will help – this proves that you have been listening and establishes your credibility to meet their needs.
  • Risks: you need a short section on what happens when things go wrong e.g. volcanoes or pandemics prevent travel, your audience test positive, your client doesn’t pay or someone copies your content. But beware using your contract as a means of displaying every petty grievance you have experienced – focus on the key issues.

Take Action Now

Ask any speaker or business owner and they will tell you it is just a matter of time before you will dearly wish you’d had something in writing to protect your interests or make it easier to resolve a misunderstanding.

PSA members can get a basic outline in the files section of the PSA Members Only Facebook page. Use your skills to adapt it to reflect your business, your expertise and your values. Then get someone to sense check it (you can ask me).

Your speaker contract is a tool to help you do business. If you wouldn’t use a rusty knife in your kitchen, why use a rusty speaker contract in your company?

Sarah Fox

Sarah Fox is a Fellow of the PSA, a construction contracts expert and author of a series of books on writing 500-word construction contracts. She believes every business owner should have contracts that they can read, understand and use.


Twitter @500wordlawyer

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahjvfox/

07767 342747

[email protected]

What’s the Difference Between Online and Face-To Face Networking?

By Will Kintish

The world of physical networking is slowly reappearing – hurray hurray. For me it means my oxygen returns and gets back to ‘normal’, whatever that means. To meet people in 3D gives me a great joy and whenever I leave an event I am on a high. I feel the same whether I network or present.

Networking and Presenting

I am often surprised to hear my fellow professional speakers, trainers, coaches and consultants say they love the presenting but struggle with the networking. I am delighted to say over the last 20 years when I have run public courses, I have been able to invite members free, by way of a thank you to the PSA community for their collective help support and friendships. After all, the first principle of networking is to be kind-hearted, to share and to give.

So what’s the difference between online and face-to face networking? The answer is virtually none.

The process of networking starts with the invitation and ends with new clients. Whether it is face to face or online, each step is very similar   

Each step is self-explanatory except perhaps step 6 – Ahaa moment. This is the moment when someone says something where you think AHAA – there could be something in this. Examples are:

  • We have a problem with …
  • That’s interesting, I didn’t know that.
  • The people we are working with at the moment aren’t giving us good service.
  • We might be interested in talking to you further about working with us.
  • We’re looking to expand.

To get to the AHAA moment you need to ask insightful intelligent and thought-provoking questions.

When you don’t ask enough questions people might think …

  • You only want to talk about yourself
  • You don’t really care to hear what they have to say
  • You are overconfident thinking you won’t learn anything
  • You’re not going to learn what their issues are

When you do ask …

  • You make them feel very special.

I have a created a structure for a conversation and here set out a sample of the 4 types of questions.

12 Key Questions to Ask and Why You Ask Them

Ice breakers

Don’t start with business-related questions, they can come later. Ask something relevant to the other person, where you know you have something in common, or ask a positive question.

1. Where have you travelled from today?

2. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today?

3. What made you attend this event?

Business Questions

We attend events to create business opportunities but as we all know, people buy people first. After ice-breakers come business questions.

4. What is your role and position in the company? Knowing that, you can ask more relevant questions and ascertain their seniority.

5. What made you get into that or what made you become a xxx?

6. Where do you see your business/career going in the next year? You are in the advice-giving business, so you want to know what their challenges are. Knowing that, you may be able to offer your services.

Small Talk

This is the glue that builds relationships, not the business questions. Never ask 2 direct questions about family. If you want to find out about their family try question 7. If they have family or partners you will find out through their answer.

7. What do you do when you’re not working?

8. What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?

9. Where did you live before this and what made you move? Another general question to find out about their non-business life.

Follow Up

When you spot a potential opportunity and don’t follow up, why did you go networking in the first place?  

10. Shall we exchange cards? Getting their card gives you all their contact details- useful if you’re going to follow up.

11. Would you mind if I called you? If they said something that made you think the relationship should move forward, seize the moment. Remember the AHAA moment? Talk more. Type less. The follow up call is best and all you are phoning for is to collect more information and, if possible, arrange a 1-2-1 meeting. Remember those?!!

12. Shall we do business? After you have met, if you believe you can add value, ask this question. What is the worst that can happen?

I have many more business questions. Just ask me to send them.

I hope this blog creates more opportunities for you and all the speaking community. Remember networking is just communicating with a view to building relationships, some of which will lead to business.

[email protected]



By Chantal Cornelius, Marketing Director at the PSA

The PSA is starting to transition back to proper in-the-room, structured sessions from September, with a few pilot regional events. But while the sun shines (we are taking a risk by writing that in advance!), why not get back and see people in person, even if it’s not indoors? So, to get things started, PSA Thames Valley is planning a social get-together in August. If you are interested in attending, please contact [email protected].


The Speaking Business Summit is currently taking place online. We are developing the programme intending to enable The Speaking Business Summit event registrants to meet in person for part of the event at a PSA regional hub. This is subject to government guidelines, availability of venues (and regions) and interest from delegates. We recognise that not everyone will want to meet in person. As such, we have designed the programme to support both online delegates while incorporating in-person elements for those that are able/wish to attend.To gauge interest (and best serve our event registrants), please pre-register your interest using the form linked below. Should we be able to incorporate an element of an in-person event meeting, we will be in touch.Many thanks for your support during this transitional period.https://summit21.thepsa.co.uk/register-interest/