This is the second in a two-part article on preparing for and hosting guest speakers. Here’s part one if you missed it. Now, let’s continue this list of tips.
8. Provide a specific host while I’m at the church.
I have arrived on site and wondered where I was supposed to go. Or I’ve been greeted then directed to a seat and sat alone until I spoke. Having someone who is just a friend to your speaker who can answer questions and provide for her needs on site will say much to her.
9. Verify data before introducing the speaker.
Be sure that you ask ahead of time for a photo and bio. That way when you need this information for promotion or introductions you will already have the most current information on your speaker. One time someone pulled a really old photo of me from the internet somewhere. I was embarrassed and shocked when I saw it.
10. Give a personalized gift basket.
Often I’ve been contacted ahead of time to ask if there is anything in particular that could be provided for me when I arrive such as drinks or snacks I like. Talk about making your speaker feel special. And if she happens to have a addiction — I mean affection — for Coke rather than Pepsi, having Coke on hand will totally bless her! Especially if that is her morning caffeine and the hotel doesn’t have it.
11. Send a note or gift to her husband.
One time someone sent my husband a card with a restaurant gift card in it and a note thanking him for supporting my time with their women’s ministry. He felt very honored and cared for as the one who was left at home while his wife was at a speaking engagement.
12. Guarantee speaking time.
Once I was asked to provide three 30-minute Bible study lessons at a women’s leadership retreat. All three were on the theme Scripture and key to the entire retreat. During the first session time began to run short, I leaned over to the leader and asked what her plan B was (They tried to pack way too much into their sessions!), and she asked me to reduce my message. Because workshops followed the session, going over was not an option. That happened the second and third sessions as well. Please honor the amount of time you designated ahead of time for her to speak since she will gear her message accordingly.
13. Guard “down time” in the schedule.
Rest, regrouping and prayer are essential to be able to be fully prepared for a biblical message or training. Ask her ahead of time if she would spend some fellowship time with your women or if she would prefer a green room type location to get ready. Or find a way to build in time for both. I love being in the audience with the women as they worship and prepare for any message I will share. It helps me to get the feel of the women in the room and prepare my heart along with theirs as we worship together. But having some time to sit quietly to prepare for the next message (if there is one), helps me re-focus for that message.
14. If providing an honorarium and expenses, give a separate checks for tax purposes.
What a great suggestion. At times I’ve written on the check stub (If there is one — please let there be one!) mileage or other expenses that were included in the check if necessary for tax purposes. But better yet is what the author suggests with two separate checks being sent.
15. Offer a follow-up report.
Whether praise or critique or both, most speakers who truly want to be used of God will welcome your comments. If I offended in some way I want to know. If someone has been blessed by my time with them, I am so grateful to know so that I can give God the glory. Evaluation is what helps us grow as speakers and followers of Christ, so please be willing to share feedback with your speakers.
These are some great ways to help make our time with a special guest speaker most effective and a blessing to all involved. What would you add to this list?
Women Reaching Women is a helpful resource for preparing to host speakers.