Cancellation Clauses and Pandemics

speakingThe current pandemic is causing many cancellations. Those of us who have been around for a while have been through this before. In 2008 the bottom fell out in our economy and meetings were cancelled. After 9-11 same thing.


There are many cancellation clauses used by speakers. Most have a punitive clause. Speakers say “Its to protect me in case the meeting’s cancelled”. Odds are I won’t be able to book something else for that date.” I get it. But .. if the client does cancel and doesn’t honor your cancellation clause what are you going to do? Retain a lawyer and sue? For most of us mere mortals, the answer is “no”.


Then let’s not pretend that’s what we’re going to do. I’m an advocate of not having a punitive clause. I base it on my sense that the most important part of the client/speaker equation is the relationship. It’s even more important than money. Forget “force majeur”.  Forget punitive cancellation clauses, coronavirus or not.


Here’s my clause. I’ve used it for 20 years with no problems – not one!


“In the unlikely event that you would need to reschedule our work, this fee will be applied toward a mutually agreed upon date to take place within one year of the date of this agreement. Any fees for a reschedule will be ‘fee in effect’ at the time.”


This gives the client incentive to bring you in within a year. They’ve already paid a deposit. They want their money’s worth, and you want the balance. (My agreement stipulates 50% deposit to secure the date.)


Only one time in 30 years did a client call and ask me to return a deposit. My answer? Yes! I returned every penny. The client was appreciative and brought me in several months later. I worked with that client several times.


So consider what your agreement says about you and your business. It’s all positioning! Mine says I’m easy to work with. What does yours say?



Copyright 2020 Lois Creamer. Lois works with professional speakers who want to book more business, make more money and fully monetize their intellectual property. She can be reached in the following ways:

Phone: 314.374.4007

Twitter: @loiscreamer

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