What Every Writer Needs To Know Before Saying Yes To a Speaking Event

As a busy homeschooling mom, pastoral assistant, writer, and sought-after speaker, Chrystal Evans Hurst can’t say yes to every organization that invites her to speak. In a conversation with hope*writers, she tells us what she needs to know about a speaking engagement before she says yes.

New speakers often say yes to any opportunity that comes their way because the experience and visibility gained often outweigh the time and energy commitment required for the event. As you gain experience and your schedule begins to fill, you need to know exactly what you’re saying yes to. 


“There are questions you ask when you’re ten years, twenty years in that you don’t ask when you’re two months in.” Chrystal Evans Hurst


It’s good practice to begin asking questions that help you understand the commitment and the needs of the audience as soon as you begin your speaking career. However, your own needs and questions will develop alongside your level of experience. The following questions are appropriate for any speaker to consider.

Where is the event located?

Since you are a speaker, a writer, and a real person with a full life, it’s important to take into account where an event is located.

  • What airport will you need to fly into?
  • How far is the event location from the airport?
  • Will a car be provided or will someone pick you up?

If you need to add a few hours of driving onto your travel time after a flight, this could significantly impact your schedule. You’ll need to account for all travel time and any expenses associated with a far-flung event before saying yes.


What is the theme?

The event planners may have a very specific idea of what they hope to offer their audience. Knowing this in advance will help you make an informed decision. 

  • Is it a topic you feel well versed in, perhaps one you speak about already?
  • Will your talk require hours of research and planning?

Knowing the answer to these questions in advance helps you anticipate your time commitment, the tone of your talk, and the needs of your future listeners.

What previous speakers have they invited to speak?

Previous invitees are an indication of what a particular organization expects in a speaker. 

  • Do they hire speakers who make the audience laugh?
  • Are previous speakers known for tapping into the audience’s deeper emotions?
  • Do they bring in storytellers, teachers, lecturers, or preachers?

Look at the list of previous presenters and ask about the client’s expectations before moving forward. It’s likely they’ll expect the same delivery from you. 


Is this a first-time event? 

When you’re a new speaker, this may not be a critical question for you to ask; however, for a speaker with lots of experience, this question can make or break your commitment to an event.


“I want to know if this is a first-time event. Only because there are certain things I know about first-time events that they don’t know because they haven’t done it before . . . It usually means they’re going to want more help from me, and I have to decide if I have the bandwidth to give it.” Chrystal Evans Hurst


As your influence and skill grow, the demand for your speaking services will increase. These questions will help you learn when it’s best to say yes or no depending on your own schedule and bandwidth. 


In our conversation, Chrystal also shares her number one trick of the trade for speakers and her proven formula for writing talks and stories. Click here for free access to our entire conversation and take one step towards balancing the art of writing and speaking with the business of publishing.


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