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PSU Insight

Speakers' Contracts and Agreements

An Agreement for Services

So now that you have a better understanding of what a contract is and why it’s important, let’s take a look at a basic contract —

One of the most basic agreements you need is a general-purpose “agreement for services.” You can use a general agreement for services for a variety of purposes that aren’t covered by one of the more specific contracts described later.

The agreement for services is, quite simply, an agreement between two parties (where “parties” is lawyer-talk for individuals, companies, organizations, etc.) —

  • one of whom is supplying a service to the other, and
  • the receiver of the service is compensating the service supplier in some manner.

Note that both of these characteristics are important. There must be compensation received by the supplier of the service, or it isn’t a contract. (The compensation doesn’t have to be money. If you’re giving a “freebie” speech, you could be compensated by receiving a list of your audience’s names and address, the traditional (and sometimes inedible) hotel-chicken dinner, or even just feedback on your speech. But the compensation must be there.)

In your business activities, you can find yourself in either of these two roles: the service supplier or the client.

If a corporation hires you to give a keynote at its sales meeting, you are supplying the service (the keynote) to the corporation; the corporation is compensating you (by paying you your fee, or by providing you with some other form of compensation).

In the same way, you might hire a web editor to develop or review your website. In this case, the web editor is providing the service, and you are compensating the editor for the review.

As a professional speaker, you’ll find that organizations hiring you to speak is such a frequent occurrence – I hope – that you’ll probably prefer to use one of the “speaker’s agreements” explored in subsequent sessions. But if your duties extend beyond the scope of a standard keynote or training session (such as writing an end-of-project summary, performing individual coaching or consulting, conducting a survey, and so on), then you may need this general-purpose contract.

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