When you’re planning a Christian women’s event, finding the right speaker can be extremely tricky. Of course, it is, her role is extraordinarily important and a lot rides on her success. The reason you need questions to ask a Christian speaker is that she can be either a huge blessing or a boring, long-winded curse.
In this person lies the power to singlehandedly make or break your event. You know I’m right! You really have to pray, think, and pick the right person for the season of ministry you’re in.
An unskilled speaker can strike a monotonous lull or worse a nervous energy that can very well undo all your hard work and make your event a HUGE flop.
You cannot predict everything, but you can maybe do some due diligence before your event to make sure it’s positioned for success.
The first one is reading my questions to ask a Christian speaker before your women’s event. You’re already doing that, so you’re doing great! 🙂
But, first, have you ever attended a wonderful Christian women’s conference, retreat, or special event that flowed incredibly well during the first half?
The music was exhilarating, the fellowship was magical, the door prizes were awesome, and then came the speaker …dull, boring, boring, and dull! Yes, I said “dull” twice.
You don’t want that for your event, instead, you want a speaker that can keep the momentum going throughout the event while delivering good solid information in an engaging format.
I’m not just talking about a “bubbly” personality or a high-energy delivery. No, I’m talking about something a little more substantive altogether.
A good speaker is anointed to be doing what she is doing. Yes, she is God-touched and God-selected.
Now, I have no checklist for anointing – who could measure God’s presence on someone anyway?
However, I have created a checklist of questions and best practices to consider when selecting a candidate for your women’s retreat or Christian women’s conference. We’ll get to that in a moment.
Talk to leadership to get questions to ask a Christian speaker too.
First, let me remind you to meet with your pastor or leadership figure before planning.
Get a clear vision of how he defines a successful event and ask if there is anything he/she is interested in knowing about the speaker.
Is he more interested in lots of people attending, commitments to Christ, sowing seeds in the hearts, or even good press for the church?
It’s nothing wrong with news coverage for your church event; that’s how families and the community may learn about you!
Once you’ve identified probable candidates to speak at your event, meet them personally, if possible.
If not, arrange a telephone conversation and ponder the following questions to ask a potential Christian speaker:
Checklist item 1: “How much is your stipend?”
Lots of speakers will accept a “love gift” in lieu of outright payment.
A love gift is whatever God lays on your heart to give them. Don’t be shady, though, or try to cheat them.
So many people figure “Oh, God will bless her” for her service” and not even offer a financial gift at all.
In my opinion, that’s unfair, not to mention selfish.
For the speaker to serve at your event – she had to sacrifice something.
She had to put gas in her car, she had to study and prepare for your event, and maybe even had to have her clothes dry-cleaned after it.
Consider her travel time, anointing, sacrifice, and other factors in your decision-making.
If your church has no budget for a stipend, head over to Pinterest. Search “volunteer appreciation gifts” or “thank you gifts.” You’ll find some terrific cheap ideas. I’ll bet you can create a nice little basket from Dollar Tree for $10 or less! No excuse for not blessing the speaker. Do something.
I’m an affiliate for Christian Book.com and Amazon.com. These online retailers are often cheaper than others because they don’t have the overhead the “brick and mortars” do. Check them out for ideas to bless your speaker!
As I write this, this gift basket is less than $20!
Checklist item 2: “May I chat with someone who heard you speak in the past?”
This is a great (although awkward) question to ask. Awkward or not, ask it anyway.
Sure, she will likely refer you to one of her good friends for a glowing recommendation. Still, you may be able to gain some sort of insight into how she ministers to women’s groups.
There is a reason businesses ask for references. It’s just good practice.
If someone you know referred her to you, be sure to ask lots of questions to find out exactly why. People recommend folks for a myriad of reasons. They may recommend them because they live next door to them or simply because they are a beloved relative.
No, you need something more concrete. Before you even engage with the potential speaker, ask the referer these questions:
My questions to ask the referer:
“Why do you recommend her?”
“Have you heard her speak at an event similar to mine?
“If they say no, proceed with caution. Don’t necessarily rule her out. Pray, but still proceed with some caution.
“What did you get from hearing her speak (if applicable)?”
Look for buzz phrases like “I prayed more…” or “I felt empowered to go on with my life”, etc.
Only emotional, or what I call “woo-hooing” isn’t enough- unless that’s what you want for your event. Sometimes, you may want a dynamic motivational speaker to deliver the “feel goods”.
Again, if that’s what you want, then a “woo-hoo” type of person is fine. Otherwise, you want someone who will give a call to change or a call to action. You want women to leave the event transformed in some way, right?
“Please share roughly 3 things you learned after hearing her speak?”
This could be a useful question depending on how long ago the referer heard the speaker. Genuinely skilled, anointed speakers leave an impression far beyond the “feel goods”.
I can attest to this. I’ll bet you can too.
Years later, I usually can remember what a strong, articulate anointed speaker taught me. In fact, I usually took notes and can pull them out at a moment’s notice!
Now, let’s get back to those questions for your potential speaker.
Checklist item 3: How would you describe your presentation style?”
Clearly, you can’t ask a potential Christian speaker point-blank: “are you boring”, but you can still find out. You can say something like:
Checklist item 4: “How would you describe your speaking style? Are you more of a whirling tornado or slow-moving volcano lava?”
OMG! This is a very important question to ask! If a person cannot coherently explain her style, then something is wrong.
The last thing you need is a demonstrative, high-energy speaker (tornado) when you were hoping for a quieter, more pensive one (lava).
Go ahead. Invite her to tell you who she is behind the microphone. If she can’t tell you, pray about choosing her.
“Please tell me about the last
events you’ve keynoted.”
It’s useful to know her past speaking experiences, don’t you think?
If she is accustomed to speaking to a Sunday school class, you may have an idea of her delivery style and the audience she is accustomed to addressing. Maybe, not always.
If she speaks more at women’s events and retreats, you can likely expect a more laid-back, less preachy presenter. This is not a foolproof strategy, but in general, it might help.
“What technology do you need?”
PowerPoint? Internet? Laptop?
Quiet room prior to the event?
Podium or not?
Make a list of everything she needs and professionally execute what you can.
Her success is your success.
Other questions you can ask
a potential speaker:
Will you have handouts?
Who is coming with you?
Will you be available to interact with attendees after the event?
Do you understand the goals of the event? How can you help us meet them?
Do you have a book or anything to promote?
What questions are missing?
Planning a Women’s Prayer Breakfast?
I have an excerpt inside “Planning an Amazing Women’s Prayer Breakfast” about managing the speaker.
Page from my book about speakers…