The Rights Of A Speaker

In Attracting New Clients, Business Networking Groups, Delivery, Increased sales, Public Speaking on April 19, 2011 at 8:51 AM

Speaking Tip 30

 The audience expects (and is entitled to) the best performance you can offer. Your credibility and that of your organization is at stake every time you make a presentation.

As a speaker, you have rights to insure you are positioned to properly provide the top-rate service your audience expects. Do not be afraid to politely turn down a request to speak if the reasons justify it.

A speaker is entitled to:

  • Adequate lead-time to prepare for your talk
  • Clearly defined expectations – What is it they want from your talk and why were you asked to speak?
  • The parameters of your talk – e.g. time allotted, size of audience
  • A clear description of audience member’s backgrounds and needs related to the topic
  • A list of other speakers preceding and following your talk
  • Access to proper equipment: stage or podium, lectern, microphone, properly functioning audio-visual equipment
  • Ability to set up the room in advance so that it works for you
  • The full amount of time they have allotted you
  • A host who sets clear ground rules so the audience treats the speaker with respect
  • A place to speak that is quiet with out distractions

 To deliver your best you need the right tools, time and information. These will increase your self the confidence and credibility allowing you to offer excellent presentation the audience deserves.




© 2008 – All rights reserved.  This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY.  Call for information on individual coaching or group training.

  1. Ethan, really enjoyed reading “The Rights of A Speaker”. You hit on some key issues/concerns: “The full amount of time….” Thank you for right this. I am rebuilding my speaking career after taking off a couple of years and am eager to get back into it. These guidelines will help me when I am booking future engagements.
    Thank you once more.

    • You are most welcome Matt. Good luck getting your speaking career back on path. I am sure your new life experiences will help you be even better than you were before. There are a few services I can offer you at no cost (and some I can offer you for a fee, too!).

      1) Subscribe to this blog – you will get 2-4 articles a month delivered to your email. You won’t have to look for me and you can unsubscribe at anytime.
      2) Go to and request the free book “Why Bad Presentations Happen To Good Causes”. It is filled with great info that will help you design better presentations.
      3) Search the archives of this blog – there is a ton of stuff waiting for you to find it.

      4) Request to be added to the iSpeakEASY mailing list. You will receive 1 to 2 newsletter a month with articles, tips and upcoming events.
      5) While all my material is copyrighted, you are welcome to link clients and prospects to my pages. You can also request use of particular items at no cost. All I ask is my name remain on the document.

      I have found several speaking groups on LinkedIN that very helpful as well. Connect with me on LinkedIN and I will share those groups with you – and you can find your own as well.

      Good luck. You do have rights as a speaker. Remember you are doing them a favor as well as they are doing one for you.

  2. Hi Ethan:

    This was a particularly unique and well-thought out post – thanks for sharing it with us.

    I believe that I have spoken in situations where at least one or more of my “Speaker Rights” have been violated. What I can see, is that it is in the customer’s best interests to uphold these “rights” for a contracted speaker. The audience (their employees / clients / volunteers) will get so much more out of the presentation and in turn, the customer will realize more value for their money spent.

    I will also take this opportunity to mention that I have a special affinity with your first name – Ethan. My 21 year old son has the same name and from what my husband and I learned, it means “firm” or “strong” in Hebrew. In my opinion, it’s a powerful name to carry through life!


    Dona Baker

    • Thank you Dona for your compliments.

      You are correct – it is in every one’s best interest to make sure the speaker is well cared for as the result is a better delivery. Would you mind sharing the “violations” you mentioned?

      What seems to happen most often is the host does not think out the process completely – they are happy to have a speaker and leave it at that. Many speakers are happy to have an audience (paying or otherwise) and just take what they get. Even simple things such as the arrangement of chairs or a person to introduce the speaker are often ignored.

      It is not only the speaker’s right to expect these things, it is there DUTY to ask for what they need so they can, as you point out, give the best to the client. I find that my host is generally more than willing to support me in any way possible – if I take the time to ask. I am professional speaker – not them. How would they know what I need?

      Yes – Firm and Strong – you have named your son well!

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