Force-Majeure Clauses and Professional Speakers

There is an interesting article (via MeetingsNet, link below) on Force-Majeure and meeting planners. Thinking about speakers and this subject is interesting with COVID in the rearview mirror. (Hopefully.) I don’t remember hearing much about Force Majeure before COVID. Here are my thoughts on this, keep in mind I’m not a lawyer. You can put a force majeure clause in your agreement, but I suggest forgetting it if you’re unwilling to go to court over a fee.

Let me share something that’s worked for me. When disruptions rattle our industry, reach out, converse, find common ground, and nurture the speaker/client bond that transcends a one-time fee.  My agreements haven’t ever had a cancelation clause. Many may not be comfortable with it. I get it, but I can attest that it’s worked for me for over 20 years. Here it is:

In the unlikely event our work together needs to be rescheduled, your deposit (or fee if prepaid) will be applied towards a new, mutually agreed upon date to take place within one year of the date of this agreement. Any fee charged for the new meeting date will be “fee in effect” at the time of the rescheduling. (If my fee goes up before rescheduling, they pay my new fee.)

Only once has a client asked for a refund. It was in 2008. Many of you may remember that we were in the middle of an economic slowdown that adversely affected our industry. The company called me, said they couldn’t afford to proceed with the program, and asked if I would refund the deposit. My reply? “Absolutely!” I put a check in the mail the next day. The result? They booked me for the next year. Again, my sense is that the relationship is more important than a one-time fee.

So, we all need to think about natural disasters, economic slowdowns, and anything that could adversely affect the speaking industry. How might you handle it?

MeetingsNet artlcle:

Copyright 2023, Lois Creamer, Book More Business. Lois works with professional speakers who want to book more business, make more money, and fully monetize their message.  314-374-4007

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