Planning a Lecture
Activities involving lectures and guest speakers on campus are symbolic of the collegiate experience. Student organizations can sponsor campus lectures which challenge a wide range of issues and interests. A well planned and executed lecture program can successfully provide information, entertainment and points of debate to the University community.
SELECTING A LECTURER, PANELISTS, OR MODERATOR
When discussing the lecture activity with your organization membership and faculty advisor, be sure to consider the lecture and lecturer’s relationships and relevance to the interests and purposes of your organization. It is also helpful to consider other student organizations, university departments or community groups with similar interests which may offer assistance, expertise or co-sponsorship in the planning and execution of your organization’s lecture program. In the planning of lecture programs, people are often lured by the lecturer and his/her achievements.The best lecture series and programs develop topics with the same intensity as the search for speakers. Well developed topics also assist the lecturer in the preparation of her/his remarks.
CONTRACTING A SPEAKER
A contract is a legal agreement that outlines the terms of the arrangement between the speaker and the sponsoring organization. Contract can be oral or written. When programming, written contracts provide documentation about each party’s expectations or the other. Because contracts are legally binding documents, they should be approached with great care and with the assistance of an advisor.
WRITING YOUR OWN CONTRACTThese are the basic components of a contract:
- The names of the parties to the agreement
- What service will take place
- What will be provided in exchange for the service
- When and where all this will happen (include directions to the facility and parking instructions)
- Other conditions or circumstances that are agreed upon
- Signatures of both parties
USING A PERFORMER’S CONTRACT
As the basis of a contract is mutual agreement, contract terms are negotiable. All changes to a contract should be done in writing and initialed by both parties. Any oral promises to change written terms are difficult, if not impossible to enforce. These are things to look for on contract:
- Hidden Expenses — The term "flat fee" should appear so the organization is not charged with other expenses (i.e. travel, hotel, meals, etc.)
- Payment in Advance — If something happens and the lecturer doesn’t show up, your organization is left trying to get its money back. Would you pay someone to mow your lawn before they did the work?
- Cancellation Clauses — If there is a 30 or 60 day, or emergency cancellation clause, it should be specified whether or not you expect to be reimbursed for your out-of-pocket expenses (advertising, etc.)
- Who is the Responsible Party? No one person should take personal liability for signing a contract. Instead, the contract should be between the organization you represent and the other party. When signing a contract, be sure to also state the capacity within which you make the agreement (i.e. Ann Jones, Club President.)
SELECTING A FACILITY
When planning your lecture programs, be sure to consider an adequate facility on campus with appropriate lighting and of suitable size for your program. Event Services (Davies Center 103) can assist you with room selection. Be sure you know what your speaker will require in the way of microphones, podiums, tables, etc. before firming up your location. Whenever possible, seek a room which is handicap accessible.
Depending upon the expected attendance, your lecturer may want a podium and microphone. If you are allowing time for questions and answers, and the room is a large one, you may want to provide a microphone in the aisle. Speak with Event Services staff about what equipment is available.
HOUSE MANAGEMENT AND SECURITY
Members of your organization should greet audience members at the door. Some lecture programs feature speakers who are public personalities while others may draw protest based on the nature of the topic. In these cases, you may want to request UW–Eau Claire police be present at the program.
To add to the program, you may plan to have a reception in conjunction with the lecture to allow guests the opportunity to informally continue discussion of points raised during the program. Catering services may be arranged with Event Services (Davies Center 103) and Sodexo (Davies Center 227). You must use Sodexo for events in Davies Center and elsewhere on campus.
Your publicity should focus both on the speaker and on the topic. Send letters to faculty members teaching classes who may be interested in the topic and request that they announce the program to their classes. See the Complex Thoughts on Publicity and Promotion and Getting The Word Out for more tips.