This is part two of Jargon Busting For Hiring Professional Speakers.
- Read Part 1 Words A-M.
- You might also like Cheat Sheet For Hiring And Paying Professional Speakers.
Hiring A Professional Speaker Jargon Primer: Words N-Z
If you are a nonprofit organization, always ask if the speaker or entertainer offers a nonprofit discount. Some do!
Always, always, always ask for permission to audio and video record their presentation at the time of signing the contract, even if you don’t have plans to record it. Typically speakers will not charge extra for recordings if you ask in the original agreement. I’ve seen many organizations decide at the last minute to record presentations and then have to get a speaker’s release. If the recording is an add-on after signing the contract, expect the speaker to ask for more money. A recording release is also the best way to handle those attendees that decide to take photos or video the presentation. The speaker may ask if the recording is for archives, sales or to offer free to a limited audience. If you are livestreaming the event, you must have a speaker release!
Technically, the rider is a separate document that has special provisions typically not included in the original contract. The contract refers to the rider for more details. Often an entertainer’s rider includes everything they need for staging and AV. A general rule of thumb for entertainers is to double their fee so you know how much the rider and fee cost together. The higher the speaker or entertainer’s fee, the more likely they have a specific rider that includes additional items such as food and beverage in the green room, requirements for their lodging, makeup and hair expectations, etc.
The more famous the speaker or entertainer is, the more likely they will need security. If you are securing a well-known person, ask about the presenter’s security expectations. Sometimes this information is in the rider. If you are hiring an elected politician, you will probably be expected to provide security. If you are hiring an ex-president, you are entering the world of Secret Service and will have to jump through a lot of hoops. You also want to alert the venue of any needs of the famous person and plan how to transport this person in service hallways to avoid crowds. And don’t forget to allocate event staff to walk this person from meeting to meeting to ensure they arrive on time.
An organization that represents a variety of professional speakers or entertainers. An account representative will be assigned to you and they can help you secure a professional for your event. The bureau typically receives from 15% – 30% of the speakers fee so the higher the fee, the more that goes to the bureau. Some bureaus will not manage or represent speakers that are under $4,000-$10,000 speakers. The account rep may only get between 5%-20% of the amount the bureau receives. One thing to consider is that some speakers will sponsor contests for the bureau and offer free trips or additional bonuses to the rep that secures the most engagements for them. When your account rep pitches speakers, ask them for full disclosure if they are getting anything beyond their fee in exchange for pushing certain speakers.
This is not something usually listed in the contract. As the host organization, I suggest that you have all your speakers sign a document that states this is a non-commercial forum, is a discrimination-free zone and that the presentation does not include infringement of intellectual property. Here is a Speaker Guidelines example.
The hiring organization can pay a set fee to cover travel, lodging and expenses. This puts the pressure back on the speaker to make their own travel arrangements and keep their expenses within the allotted amount. This works great for marquee names that may require first class and do not book their tickets in advance. It also works well for those headliner names that want you to pay for a private jet for their travel. (Yes, there are big-name speakers that require a private jet.)
If you want the speaker to present a pre- or post-conference webinar in addition to the face-to-face presentation, get it in the contract. If the speaker knows of all of your expectations at the beginning, they are less likely to increase your fee. If you are hiring a speaker just for a webinar, consider offering $750 – $1,500 for one of their usual presentations.
What other words would you include in this hiring professional speaker jargon list? What is your most memorable story from securing professional speakers?