Some Helpful Tips On Women’s Ministries Speakers
How to find a speaker
- Ask for the speaker’s name and number at an event you attend
- Search the internet for “Christian Women Speakers’
- Get a referral from a trusted source
We would recommend that you always hear a speaker before you invite her to speak. Be sure that the person really does have a gift for speaking to a group – they may be a wonderful person with an interesting background, but could have difficulty communicating to a group, following the allotted time or staying on the topic requested. You do not want to learn this lesson the hard way, especially when you have a room full of women anticipating a good message. You can request an information packet from potential speakers and many of them have a tape of one of their messages.
Contacting the speaker
Call, e-mail or write your potential speaker and find out when they are available and let them know what dates you are interested in booking them for. This is the best time to find out if they have a speaking fee or if they will come on an honorarium or love offering basis. You should always expect to cover the cost of travel, accommodation and meals as well as the registration fee (eg. at a retreat). Communicate clearly with the speaker at this point about financial matters to avoid embarrassment or miscommunication. If you are on a very restricted budget, say so up front, then the speaker can either politely decline your invitation or agree to come for a minimal cost.
Sending a Confirmation
After making the initial contact, it’s a good idea to send out a confirmation letter that outlines the dates, location, time and theme of the event, the number of women expected, re-numeration, and any other important items. You will also need to ask about special equipment she might need (projector, laptop, etc.), if she needs handouts copied, dietary needs and any requests/information regarding accommodations (ie. private room, hotel, billet, bringing her own bedding). If your event is aimed at a particular group of women (eg. single moms, not-yet believers) or the culture of your church might be noteworthy (eg. very traditional, mostly professional women) please let your speaker know this in advance. You may wish to request a photo and biography to include in your advertising for the event
A month before the event, touch base with the speaker again to see if there are any concerns or information she needs and to make sure everything is on track with the event and the arrangements. Sometimes a speaker would like a particular song used in the worship time or would like a book table set up. Confirm again any details regarding costs, times, handouts or items that the speaker requested previously. Ask her how you can be praying for her as she prepares.
About a week to 10 days before the event, contact her again to be sure you haven’t overlooked anything and to make sure everything is set to go.
If you have followed the above recommendations regarding contacting the speaker and sending a confirmation letter, your speaker should have a pretty good idea of what you are expecting and visa versa. You may need to be in touch with her more frequently than suggested, but to avoid unpleasant surprises – stay in contact at least this often. Frequent contact will also give you a chance to develop some rapport with her prior to your event.
What about the Topic?
Some speakers have specific topics that they speak on. Ask for a copy of their profile and you may want to plan your event around one of their topics. Sometimes you may have already chosen a theme and most speakers are usually willing to work with you in this area. Prayerfully consider what God wants to say to your particular group of women and watch Him bring your speaker’s message in line with what the women in your group need!
As previously stated, communicate openly and find out up front about the costs. As the host of the event you are expected to pay for the speakers travel, accommodations, handouts, and their speaker fee. Some speakers will come on an honorarium or love offering basis, but never assume this.
If your speaker is flying in, try to arrange to pay for her ticket in advance or offer to book the flight for her. Let her know who will be picking her up at the airport and how to recognize her.
If your speaker is driving in, ask if she wants to be paid standard business mileage rate or gas only. You many want to send a cheque in advance to cover gas costs.
Try to have the cheque ready in advance so you can give it to the speaker with a thank you card at the close of the event. If the speaker has agreed to come on a love offering basis, arrange with your church to have a cheque prepared as soon as possible after the event. Don’t keep your speaker waiting for the cheque to arrive in the mail long after the event is over.
It’s always a good idea for you or your committee to meet with the speaker at least an hour before the event to spend some time talking with her and praying for her and the event. When the women arrive, she should already have had time to meet with you and be settled so she is free to greet the women.
Introducing a Speaker
It’s not as easy at it may seem, but doing a good job of introducing your speaker will help your audience connect with your speaker. Because you are probably known and respected by the women in the audience, your opinion of the speaker matters and your introduction will shape how they receive her. Here are some simple things to include in an introduction…
First time introductions
- If you have heard the speaker before, share how her message touched you when you heard her speak
- Include a brief biography of her family
- Tell what she does… is she in full time ministry? A professional or business person? A lay leader?
- Draw attention to the reason you are at the event and how the speaker will contribute to it. eg: “We are all here tonight to focus our thoughts on the true meaning of Christmas and _(first name, last name)_____, our speaker has come to share what God has put on her heart from the Word of God. Please help me to welcome ____(first name)______.” Shake her hand or hug her as she comes to the platform and then go to your seat.
If your speaker is there for more than one session or a weekend retreat –
- Repeat the speakers name each time you introduce her
- Highlight something she said from an earlier message
Follow up an event with a thank you letter and pass along any feedback or evaluation comments from the women who attended the event.