When Events Go Wrong

One of the benefits of working with a speaker agency is the protection that gives. The team of JLA agents here specifically aim to make the whole booking process, from initial brief to follow up, as seamless and smooth as possible – contractually and logistically. A speaker agency will make sure their suggestions are appropriate and that briefings take place. And in the rare event of something going wrong, your speaker agency will be on hand…

It is a call any speaker agency will dread – either in the office, late on a mobile or the following day. The speaker hasn’t turned up yet. The comedian won’t come down for dinner. The band’s tour manager was incredibly rude. Someone used the ‘C-word’.

Logistical delays and lateness are frustrating and we act immediately to establish exactly who is where, then keep in touch until the Artist is in the building. Where persuasion is needed for a tricky personality, we will step in when on site at the event. Those are things we quickly act on and try to resolve or remedy. Where JLA charm is needed, we can mediate.

Worse still are those times where a speaker or comedian is badly received or dramatically over steps the line – despite briefing. It has happened and it is awful for all involved, but a speaker agency is there to help. Any speaker agency should voice their concerns in advance of booking anyone with any risk attached, warts and all!

I have watched a big name comedian receive a note on stage to ask him to cease his swearing, do the exact opposite – and then read out the note. Hugely frustrating but JLA were stage side to try to diffuse tensions and get things back on track. When Andrew Marr suffered his stroke, we acted immediately to find a replacement speaker for a huge financial services conference. An ‘edgy’ comedian was booked for two consecutive nights then seriously overstepped the mark on the first – my colleague was at the hotel to handle the problem and found an alternative host within a couple of hours (It was Jeremy Vine, and it was not the first time he has saved the day!)

Some clients put it down to experience and some will want to discuss the consequences the day after. Where a senior team member or a sponsor has been offended or shocked, these are of course things a speaker agency follows up on.

Where any risks exist, it is the speaker agency’s job to let the client know about previous feedback, take care of timings, logistics and make sure that all parties are comfortable with what is involved in the booking. The worst, very rarely, can happen and whilst we can’t guarantee no hiccups, we do everything possible to avoid them, or fix them if they arise.

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