Virtual Summit Speaker Q&A

summit speakers Sep 14, 2021

Have questions about your virtual summit speakers? I've got answers for you in today's rapid-fire Q&A episode covering everything from contracts to benefits.

One of the things that surprised me most about my first summit was how much went into the speakers.

Even the pitching alone has a ton of moving pieces and can bring up more questions than you expected. And that's just the beginning.

You might be asking yourself questions like:

  • Have you had speakers drop out when you send an agreement?
  • How can I convince speakers if I don’t pay them?
  • What do I do if a speaker asks for the full email list?
  • Can I use presentations in my membership?

And this week I’ve got answers to those questions, and more in a rapid-fire Q&A.

Virtual summit speaker Q&A

Speaker Benefits

This first section of questions all relate to how the speakers can or should benefit from participating in your summit.

1. Do you offer your speakers free or discounted access to the VIP?

Yes! You can’t create it without them, and it costs you $0 to provide it to them. Always give your speakers a free all-access pass for participating.

I have two tiers of all-access passes in my event. If a speaker contributes a bonus to my higher-tier all-access pass, they get that higher tier with all the awesome bonuses.

If they don’t contribute a bonus, they get the lower-tier all-access pass that has access to the presentations.

2. I'm not sure I'll convince speakers to participate if I don’t pay them. They have a bigger audience than I do. What’s the interest for them to speak at my summit?

Let’s turn that around and my question to you is why do you say yes to unpaid opportunities?

Think of it from your standpoint when you're being pitched. I bet you're saying yes when you're not being paid. And why is that?

Many hosts agree for things like:

  • the ability to support someone they're connected with
  • the ability to support someone they want to be connected with
  • getting their name and message out to the right audience
  • promoting something of their own at the end of the presentation
  • a chance to grow their email list

This is a whole lot easier when you have a super niche summit and set it up for your speakers’ benefit.

You can attract speakers with much larger audiences than you, if you do it right, but remember it's not all about audience size. Big influencers are probably not going to promote.

3. If you’re running a summit with a VIP upgrade, do you have to pay speakers an affiliate fee? Is allowing them to offer their lead magnet enough?

You're making money through them promoting the summit. If you expect them to share, you need to pay them an affiliate commission.

They worked hard to grow their email list. They deserve at least a 40% commission for putting you in front of it.

4. Do you provide the speakers you interview with copies of the interview for them to be able to promote for pay on their own?

I don’t automatically send it to them, but I would if they asked. I’ve never had someone ask but I wouldn’t make it a big deal of it if they did.

If you try to say you have exclusive rights to something they create, I personally wouldn’t agree with that as a speaker. 

5. I’m getting a few speakers asking about receiving the whole email list for all attendees. What should I do?

It should be clear up front that this isn’t something they can expect. My pitch specifically includes a speaker benefit section that outlines they can collect email addresses through promoting a freebie. It says nothing about the full email list.

The contract also states that I don’t guarantee any results, but that they can promote a freebie to get leads.

If you need to, point them to GDPR guidelines because collecting someone’s email address for something and then sending it to 20+ speakers is not within GDPR guidelines.

Second Summits

The next section of questions is from hosts who put on a second summit or questions they've come up with after hosting their first summit.

1. Could I repurpose the different speaker presentations from last year’s summit and add them as bonus modules to my current membership?

Unless you have exclusive and full rights to the presentations and a signed contract, you cannot do this. You can’t use their presentations for other things.

In most cases, you will have permission to use the presentation in the context of the summit and nothing more. 

You could go back and email each speaker and ask them if they're okay with it. Be sure to focus on benefits when you do that to increase the likelihood that they'll say yes.

Let them know:

  • how many members you have
  • how you'll feature them
  • how you'll link to them
  • to ask any questions they have

For future summits, make sure it's clear in your pitch and agreement how their presentations will be reused and position it as a benefit to them.

2. Did you change your speakers and topics compared to the previous summit?

For the most part, yes! Past attendees will likely be the quickest to participate and buy your all-access pass in future summits. If you have a clone of a previous summit, it won’t be any fun for them.

That being said, it’s okay to repeat some speakers and topics. I always go back and invite my top-performing speakers from an affiliate standpoint, as well as the standpoint of the reception that their presentation got.

If you’re asking this question because you’re not sure what other topics to talk about or what other speakers to find, ask your attendees. Use a post-summit feedback form to ask attendees what other topics they want to learn about or speakers they’d love to hear from.

Random Questions

These last couple of questions don’t fit into any specific category and are more general questions about summits and speakers.

1. Have you ever had a speaker drop out when sending them a speaker agreement? If so, what did they not like?

Of the 90+ speaker agreements I’ve sent out, I’ve never had anyone respond negatively. One speaker did come back and ask me to revise it to say I wouldn’t use her presentation in the evergreen all-access pass. That’s the only pushback I’ve ever received.

I think that this has to do with how I present the contract to my speakers and the fairness of the terms included in it. My contract doesn’t put pressure on the speaker. It includes who has rights to what and doesn’t include anything about due dates or promotional requirements.

I have seen speakers refuse to sign a contract that included:

  • the host claiming all ownership of the speaker’s presentation and content.
  • the host being able to use the content however they want in the future.
  • certain promotional requirements.

2. What guidelines do you provide your speakers before they record their presentations?

On your speaker information age, include a section that gives them guidelines as well as a PDF they can download. Keep it simple. It’s up to them to create a presentation that best supports their material.

Some items to include are:

  • presentation lengthPresentations should generally be between 15-20 minutes in length.
  • suggested presentation formatsThis can include using slides, no slides, or a mixture of the two.
  • tools to use to record the presentation Suggest using a Google extension like Loom, Screencastify, or Zoom.
  • pitching limitations – Typically, you should allow your speaker to pitch their freebie within the last couple of minutes of their presentation.

One other thing I do tell them is that it's not a webinar-style presentation. It’s a presentation where our attendees should be able to walk away with an action step to implement, not feeling like they're missing something.

3. How much time do I allow myself to pitch and confirm speakers? Is asking for prerecorded videos a month from now too early of a deadline?

Give yourself a month to pitch and a month to get presentations after pitching. Some hosts will say to give the speakers less time so they can’t procrastinate, but I like longer timelines to ensure the speakers can fit it into their schedule.

For example, I have one batch week per month in my business, and one day during that week is when I record any summit presentations. If someone pitches me the day after I record and only gives me 3 weeks, I won’t have time to get to that before my next batch day. I’m less likely to agree to do a presentation because it doesn’t fit with the way I do things.

So although it might look like a lot of speakers procrastinate the longer timeline allows for them to fit it into their schedule.


Do you have more speaker-related questions? We've probably got answers!



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