Women’s Ministry Training 2012: Booking & Hosting Your Guest Speaker

30 Dec

When you know your event parameters, you are ready to invite your speaker(s). Ideally, you should have 6 weeks to 18 months to pull your event together, but it can be done in as little as a few weeks. Scheduling considerations include:

• Existing events on the church schedule
• Facility availability
• Guest speaker availability
• Fundraising requirements
• Conflicting city-wide events of interest to attendees (visit your Chamber of Commerce website)

Once you have a ball-park date range for your event, book your guest speaker(s).

If your event depends on the availability of a particular speaker, start by contacting the speaker for a list of available dates. From your options, select the date(s) that best fit your parameters.

To secure a speaker:

  • Personalize a phone or email invitation.
  • Pitch it.
  • Wait for a response.

Now is the time to start a Speaker Tracking Chart. This way, over the months and years, you will have a good record of who you’ve invited that might be a good option for another event. When you hear back from any speaker or booking agent, add the speaker to this list. This is your “working” list. It is an at-a-glance management tool that insures each step of the process occurs in the right order and only once.

Once you have confirmed the details, prepare to care for your guest speaker(s). Either recruit an speaker shepherd (sample instructions) or see to the speaker’s needs yourself, but be sure it gets done.

One appreciative speaker, who had been spoiled all day by a speaker shepherd I’d recruited, recently confided that it was unusual for anyone to think of her needs at all, let alone for her to have one person dedicated to that task.

Ideally, have the speaker’s remuneration ready to give her before she leaves, but either way, within 2 weeks of your event, follow-up by sending the speaker a thank you note along with any outstanding remuneration, copies of evaluations, comments overheard about the speaker’s presentations and so on.

One of the hardest times for speakers and event planners are immediately following an event. Reach out to each other at this time of decompression and watch God turn a typically low time into a season of celebration.

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