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Overall Agreement In Concept

Before moving to formalize your agreement, it is always advisable to clearly state, albeit informally, all of the key terms upon which you and the venue have agreed. A good process is to put what has been unambiguously agreed in your discussions in writing (with enough detail not to leave key issues in doubt), and email this to the person with whom you’ve been working. Request a reply confirming your summary. If that reply is not forthcoming, something isn’t working as it should be and you should stop, find out what the problem is, and fix it, before proceeding to the formal process.

That way, when senior managers, contract administrators, risk managers, number crunching bureaucrats, process rule enforcers, and lawyers get involved, the chances that what you have agreed to will be in the final contract are much improved.

The key pieces of your preliminary or informal agreement include the length and topic focus of your talk (noting any significant special requests), your fee, expense reimbursement provisions, payment terms, and your total scope of activity and schedule. The pieces are highly interconnected. The engaging venue should understand that your activities and the schedule on which they occur cannot be changed arbitrarily or without consultation.

Make sure the person you are dealing with understands that topic, fee, expenses, payment terms, and scope of work are an interrelated package. If they change one, they may well effect one or more of the others.

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