Seven Considerations When Booking a Speaker

At any given time during the year, you may be involved in planning an event ranging from a lunch meeting to a full-on weekend retreat. Many organizations plan 6-12 months ahead for such events, so if you find yourself on a committee tasked with finding a speaker, keep these questions in mind, specifically in regard to speaker selection and expenses.

1. What is the purpose of the event?

Be very clear on the objective. Make sure you have a stated purpose for the event so the speaker can adjust his or her presentation accordingly. For example, I recently spoke to an organization for the professional development of administrative staff. They wanted me to speak on the topic of organization. My approach to teaching a time management workshop for them may have a different flavor than the same presentation given at a faith-based retreat. (Similar principles, different methodology.) The compensation you offer is part of the way you pay for this preparation and customization.

2. What is your budget?

Your budget should allow you to cover, as applicable, travel, lodging and food costs as well as provide a reasonable honorarium (or as was the case for one of my speaking engagements, a donation to the speaker’s selected charity.) Several speakers make part of their living through their speaking engagements and incur cost in travel, handouts, etc. so it’s always wise to discuss the honorarium arrangements up front. Some speakers will be flexible if you cannot pay an honorarium. For example, if the event is local, or will benefit a non-profit organization, or you will allow the speaker to have a table with books for sale, they may waive their honorarium expectation. Plan to discuss this topic early on in the booking negotiations.

If you are hosting a major conference with both keynote speakers and workshop leaders, you may not need to pay the workshop leaders the same amounts as the keynote speakers. However, even if you do not have a budget to pay workshop leaders, some type of gift or acknowledgement is always appropriate and it is important to clearly communicate those arrangements before an agreement is made.

3. How far will speaker have to travel?

Consider the number of hours the speaker will have to put toward traveling, particularly if they have to fly. There are often flight delays, long layovers, and headaches from cancelled flights or lost luggage. This can lead to a speaker spending the equivalent of two to three days of work for one evening’s keynote.  It may be more feasible for you to consider hiring a speaker from your home state or region.

4. How large is the audience?

The speaker will have to prepare differently for an audience/workshop of 20 than for a retreat with 200. Compensation for the speaker should also take this into consideration. The more people, the more interaction the speaker will need to be “on” for.

5. Are you charging people to attend?

For many events, you are probably going to charge a registration fee. Keep this in mind as part of the funding available for speaker costs. You may be able to adjust the fee by only $5, allowing you to meet the speaker’s typical fees. Also, for a large event, consider paying the speaker more, especially if the reason your registrations are going well is because of who you have invited to speak.

6. Will speaker be allowed to sell books, or better yet, are you pre-buying book for each audience member?  

Many speakers like to have a book table at which they can sell products or meet the audience (i.e. autographs.) Personally, I prefer not to have a table unless I speak at a local event (I have a retail license for my state.) I’d rather not deal with state to state sales tax and having to conduct business at the same time people want to interact with me. However, it’s a great blessing when an organization decides to purchase one (or more) of my books to automatically give one to each participant. When this happens, I provide a discount as a thank you. It keeps your speaker from making too much of a sales pitch and it doesn’t really cost you that much more, particularly if you include it in the registration fee. (For example, if you were going to charge $30 per person, you could get the speaker’s book and charge $35 per person and announce that each participant will receive a copy of the book. Then you’ve covered most of the book expense without dipping too much into your budget, and your participants feel even more blessed!)

7. What might be travel costs?

Travel costs can vary a lot, depending on whether a speaker has to fly, or rent a car. Also, you’ll want to provide pleasant housing for the speaker. Many prefer a private hotel room at or near the venue. Some speakers like to make their own arrangements unless the event happens to be at a hotel. Have an open dialog with your potential speaker to work out these details. If you are booking way in advance, have an agreement as to the deadline by which the speaker’s airline tickets will be purchased (whether you are buying them or reimbursing the speaker for purchasing.)

Remember that you are not simply paying for a 45 minute speech. When you see some fees, you may be amazed at how high they are for “just 45 minutes.” But remember, the 45 minute class/speech is only the core project. The speaker has likely spent many hours preparing, continuing to grow professionally and personally so they can continue to speak well, and may have a travel time (arriving and departing) of 10 hours or more involved in getting to your event. That is potential time away from their families or business.

[Tweet “Many speakers make part of their living through speaking. Remember that when budgeting and booking.”]

The speaker makes part of their living through speaking. Yes, there are some speakers who speak/teach as a side thing, or may have become popular for successful classes at their church which they have done as a volunteer. However, consider speaker costs in the same way you would consider paying for a room rental or catering services. It’s all part of the professional expense for your event.

For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”[a] and “The worker deserves his wages.”[b] [biblegateway passage=”1 Timothy 5:18″]

To make things as simple as possible for my potential clients, I offer speaking topics and packages, with suggested honorarium ranges fully disclosed. This information is on my speaking page. I always try to work with the organization to meet their objectives. If you know of an upcoming event that is looking for a speaker, contact me!

Do you want to receive all posts from this site, and/or a monthly newsletter in your email if you don’t already? Sign up below. (You may need to visit the site itself if the box does not appear in your email.)

This MailChimp shortcode is now deprecated. Please insert the new shortcode to display this form.





Coffee Break Bible Study: Galatians 3-6; Ephesians 1 #bgbg2

Read [biblegateway passage=”Galatians 3″].

What does Paul have to say about the law?


How does this chapter influence your thoughts about rule-following or keeping a list of Christian “to-do’s?”


Read [biblegateway passage=”Galatians 4″].


What “rights” do we have because of Christ?


How do you feel about being an adopted son or daughter of God?


Read [biblegateway passage=”Galatians 5″].


Write out verse 1 as many times as you need to let it sink into you.


How do you sometimes get distracted from your “good race?”


Read [biblegateway passage=”Galatians 6″].

How should we treat a fellow Christian who is struggling with sin?


Why is it important to have a right perspective about making good impressions? (verse 12)


Read [biblegateway passage=”Ephesians 1″].

What are some spiritual blessings that you have experienced?


Why is Paul thankful for the Ephesians?


Four Questions to Ask When You Notice Problems on Your Team

Every manager faces it–those times when your team is not behaving like a well-oiled machine and you finally have to step in to do something about it–or him, or her, or the situation. Before you make any decisions, get away from the noise and ask yourself a few questions, like these.

Is this a short term problem?

In some cases, an individual may start behaving in a less than effective way, but only for a short time. This can be due to personal issues of all kinds, or a short term health issue, etc. If the person is usually cooperative, and you know of extenuating circumstances, you might try to be extra gracious during that window of time when their normal patience and kindness is not as evident (i.e. while their husband/son is deployed, while they get elderly parents into assisted living, while their child is ill, etc.)

Is it time to step in? 

Although sometimes you can wait (see first point), often it is better to deal with problems in their early stages. Approach the offending team member with questions, privately. Draw them out to find out what may be motivating their recent behavior. This is easier if you’ve already established regular meeting times with this individual so an issue can be addressed as part of the normal course of reviewing their work, for example. Keeping “short accounts” can protect situations from becoming very harsh and more difficult to work around.

Do I need to involve others? 

A team leader needs to be observant and a good listener, so he/she can consider whether a problem is happening with more than one member of the team. For example, if you start having several people coming to you individually about the same individual, you may need to ask each person the same set of questions, write down notes, and see if there are any consistencies with the complaints. In other cases, you may not need to involve anyone else, but instead prepare to meet with the person based on your own observation.

[Tweet “A team leader needs to be observant, and a good listener.”]

Am I the problem?

Do some self-examination to assess if you are going through a difficult time and taking it out on your team. Get the help you need for everyone’s sake.

Ask yourself these questions when facing a team problem so you can take the appropriate steps to mitigate it quickly. I offer team building consultations…let me know if I can help!

And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them. Psalm 78:72 NIV
 [biblegateway passage=”Psalm 78:72″]

Coffee Break Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 11-13, Galatians 1-2 #bgbg2

Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 11″].

What is a “godly jealousy?”

What type of suffering did Paul endure? How does that strengthen you in your suffering today?

Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 12″].

Write out verse 9.

We don’t know what Paul’s “thorn” was, however it was probably a repetitive issue for him. Do you have an issue that causes you repeated frustration? Take some time to pray about that and thank God that it can remind you of your daily need for His grace.

Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 13″].
Why do you think Paul said a matter required testimony of more than one witness? (Note that Paul may have had certain situations in mind, but the principle has truth to it.)

In verse 11 Paul says to “aim for perfection.” How does aiming differ from striving?

Read [biblegateway passage=”Galatians 1″].
What surprised Paul about the Galatians?

Are you tempted to add anything to the simple Gospel (i.e. good works, a church tradition, etc.) as required for salvation?

Read [biblegateway passage=”Galatians 2″].

What does verse 6 remind you of?

Paul and Peter had a falling out. What do you learn from this?

Prizes for Bible Reading/Memorizing

Some time ago, I received a notice that if I kept up with my Bible reading plan, I would be entered into a drawing for a tablet, iPad mini or other prizes.

This gave me pause.

I understand the sentiment behind it.

I’m just not sure how I feel about it.

When I was a kid, I did a lot of work memorizing the Bible for AWANA, and won several awards, most of which are tucked away somewhere gathering dust. I hope the memory work is still in my head though.

A couple of years ago, I enjoyed attending a smaller-than-usual Beth Moore event because I’d completed a certain amount of Bible memory. In reciting all my verses, I received a gift from her resource table.

As an achiever, I get excited by results and rewards, but to be honest, I’m not sure how rooted any of the material I memorized is. Nonetheless, God’s word is powerful and won’t return void, so why criticize the initial motivation to keep people in it?

While I’m still not sure about this, there are worse things that can be encouraged.
[Tweet “Should we give out awards for memorizing the Bible? #bgbg2”]
Regardless, I am involved in a reading plan and will continue it, hoping to absorb more and more the sense of God’s word being needed in my life, not just a discipline I do to check off a list. That in itself will be its own reward.

What do you think? Should we give rewards for Bible reading and memorization?
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. [biblegateway passage=”Psalm 119:105″]

Do you want to receive all posts from this site, and/or a monthly newsletter in your email if you don’t already? Sign up below. (You may need to visit the site itself if the box does not appear in your email.)

This MailChimp shortcode is now deprecated. Please insert the new shortcode to display this form.


Coffee Break Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 6-10 #bgbg2

Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 6″].

How did Paul and his ministry partners keep their ministry from being discredited?

Why does Paul say not to be “yoked” with unbelievers? How does this differ from being cordial and friendly to unbelievers?


Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 7″].

How does Paul feel about the Corinthians?

How did Paul’s “letter” (likely referring to another letter such as 1 Corinthians) “hurt” the believers? How does hurt sometimes help?


Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 8″].

What did the Macedonians do?

Write out verse 7. How does generosity cooperate with excelling?


Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 9″].

Write out verse six.

What is the great gift you have received from God?


Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 10″].

What does it mean to take a thought captive?

Should a Christian boast?



Do you want to receive all posts from this site, and/or a monthly newsletter in your email if you don’t already? Sign up below. (You may need to visit the site itself if the box does not appear in your email.)

This MailChimp shortcode is now deprecated. Please insert the new shortcode to display this form.



There is No “I” in TEAM…or is There?

There is a well-known quotation that says “There is no “I” in team.” After all, team is spelled  TEAM. One catalog for team building materials uses TEAM to mean “Together Everyone Achieves More.”

In real life though, quotes, mugs and posters don’t automatically lead to a team working the way a couple of employees of a local firm described their team to me, as running “like a machine.” It takes time, effort, and understanding to truly relate as a team. Because of that, yes, there is an “I” in team, because teamwork starts with YOU.

Teams are only as good as the individuals that make them up. Yes, the whole is greater than the parts, but if the parts are defective, the team will be affected. (Hey, that sounds like another quip! “Parts Defective Means Teams Affected.” Where’s my button machine?)

[Tweet “Parts defective means teams affected.”]

So, the place to start with team building is you. Here’s an assessment to help you determine what type of a team player you really are.

  • Do I enjoy working with other people? (Some personalities would rather be in a corner doing tasks all day.)
  • When I meet with other team members, do I contribute to the conversation? (Or do you sit and say nothing?)
  • When I share my ideas, do I limit my words so others can contribute too?
  • Do I want people to carry out my idea in exactly the way I envision it?
  • Am I willing to ask questions to learn from others with a different expertise that I  have?
  • If I’m naturally a take-charge person, do I encourage those less inclined to exercise leadership skills too?
  • Do I feel I am more experienced than the others on my team and they should listen to me most of the time?
  • Do I note what is going on with others by truly listening, acknowledging events like birthdays or accomplishments?
  • Am I quick (but not insincere) in giving thanks an praise to others in the way they would most enjoy?
  • Do people come to me to ask for help? Am I approachable?

If you are really brave, after answering these questions, give them to your coworkers to answer anonymously on your behalf. Do the answers match up? Be prepared to make changes without defensiveness if something surprising is revealed to you. In the long run, that will be for your good and the good of the team.

Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. (CEV) [biblegateway passage=”Philippians 2:3″]

Do you want to receive all posts from this site, and/or a monthly newsletter in your email if you don’t already? Sign up below. (You may need to visit the site itself if the box does not appear in your email.)

This MailChimp shortcode is now deprecated. Please insert the new shortcode to display this form.


Coffee Break Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 1-5 #bgbg2

Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 1″].
After reading verses 3 and 4, what do you learn and feel about receiving and giving comfort?

In verse 12, what does Paul say? How can you conduct yourself in good conscience today?

Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 2″].
What do verses 5-11 teach about forgiveness?

How can you be the “aroma of Christ” to someone today? (verse 15)

Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 3″].
What gives us boldness?

What should we experience in Christ?

Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 4″].
What does it meant that we are “jars of clay” (verse 7)?

How do verses 16-18 encourage you?

Read [biblegateway passage=”2 Corinthians 5″].
Write out verse 7 a few times.

What part can you play in the “ministry of reconciliation? (verse 16)

Do you want to receive all posts from this site, and/or a monthly newsletter in your email if you don’t already? Sign up below. (You may need to visit the site itself if the box does not appear in your email.)

This MailChimp shortcode is now deprecated. Please insert the new shortcode to display this form.