There’s some mistakes that people make when dealing with event planners that can really get under their skin — and some are so bad they’ll put you on their “Never call again” list. It’s time for a little honest self-examination to make sure that you eliminate these behaviors and make sure you build better habits.
Don’t be demanding – planners will only book speakers they like. It’s human nature to be biased. If you’re too demanding, it wrecks any connection you’re building and they won’t hire you. If you want something special, you can ask nicely and wait patiently for an answer.
Don’t send them on a goose chase – have all your materials ready before you conduct a serious speaking engagement hunt. When a planner asks for your web address, make sure all the necessary information is easily accessible on your site for the planner to review. You know they’re going to look, so work on your website first. Have a page specifically set up for planners, simple and easy to navigate with all the information they will need. Include anything that you would send a planner through email.
Don’t be late — if you ever want to be booked again. Be early, mingle and network a bit with the audience before and after your slot. The planner will love that you stayed to answer questions, and it opens doors of opportunity for you with the audience members. Plan for back-up in all areas such as travel, childcare, have a contingency speaker, etc. and be prepared for anything that could possibly go wrong!
Don’t promote your products – while giving a presentation without permission to do so. Find out whether the planner is open to this during negotiations before they hire you. Your primary purpose there is to entertain, educate or inspire their audience and turning it into your personal sales pitch ruins that. Don’t assume it’s ok; it will damage your chances of being booked again.
Don’t present an ambiguous contract – you need a clear and concise contract. Longer is not better; just a simple contract that is complete and clearly states times, dates, rates, contact information, cancellation policies, etc. Keep a boilerplate on file and fill in the details.
These are just a few tips on working with meeting planners. The most important thing to is to make an immediate connection with the planner, make them feel at ease, and convince them through your actions alone that you’ll be easy to work with.