Should a Keynote Speaker Sign a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement)?
After a recent Keynote Speech at an internal management event, one of the managers came up to me and asked if I had spoken to one of their competitors. I said, “Yes, I have.”
He then openly asked about their latest product release, their innovation strategy, and specific details about their organisation. So I looked him in the eye and asked, “Can you keep a secret?” Excitedly, he said, “Yes!” I then leaned forward, paused for dramatic effect, and said, “So can I.”
The goal of this article is to encourage you to always sign a NDA (Non- Disclosure Agreement) with your Keynote Speaker to establish and encourage professional practice.
The Need to Share Information.
A Professional Keynote Speaker regularly needs to gain access to confidential information. Indeed, this is often essential in order for the Speaker to align with your organisations’ current strategy, challenges, opportunities, and direction of travel (see also our article: The Impact of a Keynote Speech).
Without this, the Speaker will not be able to offer reflections, insights, and, most importantly, position their Keynote Speech within your context. Professional Keynote Speeches are after all always tailor-made (for more information see our article: What is the Best TOPIC for a Keynote Speech?).
So when you are hiring a Professional Keynote Speaker, be prepared to share confidential information with them. Most likely you will need to share strategy documents before the event. Then during the event, the Speaker will see other internal presentations. And around the event, the Speaker will quite naturally engage in conversations with members of your team and organisation.
When hiring a Professional Keynote Speaker, be prepared to share confidential information with them.
A Non-Disclosure Agreement.
So it is natural that a Professional Keynote Speaker gains confidential information. It is part of their job (for more insights see our article: Booking a Professional Keynote Speaker is an Insurance Policy). Therefore, it is standard practice to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
A Non-Disclosure Agreement is just what it says it is: an agreement that the person involved will not disclosure confidential information. The purpose of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is to protect the confidential information that the organisation (the Disclosing Party) is sharing with the Keynote Speaker (the Receiving Party).
An Appropriate Agreement.
In the past, I have received some NDA’s that were obviously written for another purpose. While they did cover the general aspects around the event, they also extended far beyond this. On one occasion it felt like I was entering into an international relationship with the organisation around global security issues!
Avoid an NDA that is too big or bulky. It should cover information that will be shared before the event, during the event, and around the event. However, most importantly it is tailored to the specific needs of your event. Get your legal department, or a professional lawyer, to craft a NDA that is suitable.
A Reasonable Agreement.
It is normal for a Professional Keynote Speaker to agree immediately on the confidentiality issues that are covered in most NDA’s. However, some organisations push this further. Some state that the Speaker can not even say that they were speaking at that organisation.
In most case, it is unreasonable to ask the Speaker to do this. If it does, consider if this is really necessary or if this is something that has been created by an over-enthusiastic legal team.
A Mutual Agreement.
Signing a NDA is actually beneficial for not only the organisation but also for the Speaker. A well-worded Non-Disclosure Agreement sets up a professional relationship from the beginning; it creates a sense of mutual respect. And it encourages professional practice going forward.
A Non-Disclosure Agreement sets up a professional relationship from the beginning.
So the next time you are hiring a Professional Keynote Speaker for your internal management event get them to sign an appropriate, reasonable, and mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement. This not only reduces risk, but it also establishes a professional relationship and, from there, it encourages professional practice.
For more insights on setting up a working relationship with a Professional Keynote Speaker download The Keynote Speaker RISK SET Report.