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Advanced Event Techniques: Contracts

One of my favorite classes in graduate school was Sports Law with Dr. Zavian. I knew next to nothing about Sport Law, but found it fascinating and continue to find the information highly applicable as an event professional. One of our first assignments was a contract review, a task event managers are required to do frequently. Over the years I've created a process to review contracts, here are my best tips:

  1. Create space and a conducive environment to read your contracts before you sign. Personally, I read contracts in the morning, when it's quiet. While I do multitask during the day, this is one time I completely turn my attention to the specific task. I focus to understand what I'm signing and what I'm committing to.

  2. Read. This seems obvious, but it can be tempting to skim if the legalese seems overwhelming. Most contracts are easily understandable if you slow down. Similarly, if you're reading the contract and don't understand a section or it's implications, don't be afraid to ask questions.

  3. Ensure you understand:

    1. Financial implications of cancellations or postponement, especially related to COVID-19

    2. Photography and social media posting policies

    3. Insurance requirements (future post on this forthcoming!)

  4. If you're a contractor or freelancer, pay particular attention to who owns any work you produce (spoiler alert: it's probably not you). Understand if or what you can share about the project as part of your resume, website, portfolio, etc.

  5. Don't be afraid to redline or strike sections of the contract. When you respond, draw the counter-signers attention to the redlined areas.

If you don't frequently read legal documents, contracts can be intimidating. However, they are a necessary part of event management and, especially as you become more advanced in your career, you will review the more frequently. Start a practice now of carefully, thoughtfully, reviewing contracts before signing.

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