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bette nordberg

Once, a woman asked me, "Why should I hire you when I can get another speaker for free?"

It's a great question. Why pay for a professional speaker? What should I expect when I hire a more expensive speaker? These are some of the benefits that the event planner and I talked about:

Experience with an audience: There's nothing more embarrassing than listening to a speaker who is terrified of a live audience. A warbling voice and anxious, trembling hands make everyone uncomfortable. Instead of hearing the message, audience members begin to feel anxious themselves. Will she fail? Will she forget? Before long, they begin to doubt. Does she know her subject? Can I trust her?

As an event planner, you will pay more for experience, but you will get inifinately more. You will hear a calm, measured voice with interesting variations of pitch and speed. You get humor (frightened people are rarely funny). You get someone who can flow through any unforseen difficulty with grace and aplomb. You get confidence, and as a result, your audience will fine themselves relaxed, involved, and attentive.

Experience with difficult circumstances: Over the years, these are just some of the crisises audience members have brought to me: Moments before a retreat, one woman (a mother of nine children) had her husband announce his intention to divorce her and marry his girlfriend. Another woman met a stranger for sex on the way to the retreat. Another waited until after a presentation to confess her addiction to drugs. Another admitted her eating disorder for the very first time. Of course, I've dealt with smaller issues, tattoos obtained at retreats. An audience member with no faith background, questioning everything and everyone on campus. A missionary, clearly in the midst of deep and unrelenting depression. People will come to your event with all kinds of problems.

Don't assume that you know the troubles your audience members face. Chances are, they are in deeper than you may know. You want a wise speaker who can deal gently and truthfully with these critical issues. That takes experience, both with life and with people. Don't settle for less.

Experience with the Material: Being a good writer doesn't necessarily make someone a good speaker. I've attended a retreat given by a best selling author where most of the audience fell asleep! At the same time, you'll make a better choice if you can evaluate your speaker's point of view by looking at her published work. Today's publishers make certain that their authors present solid, dependable, and doctrinally sound work. Self-published authors have less supervision. Though their work has been edited, neither the content or the format has any formal stamp of approval. Be aware of this. With an unproven speaker, you may get a surprise that disappoints both you and your audience.

A Reliable Track Record: An experienced speaker can provide you with a large number of referals. You should be able to read printed recommendations, as well as contact previous event planners. You should have enough information to confidently know whether your intended speaker can handle your event.

Now to get personal. . .

I started teaching Bible Study classes to women in the early 1980's. Since then, I've continued to work for audiences in a growing number of venues. I've written, directed and published drama (I'd die before I'd let an audience fall asleep!). I've published Devotionals and Bible Studies. Today I continue to teach Women's studies (though less frequently) at my own church, where I beta-test my most current writing projects. I speak for MOPS, for local women's special events (teas, retreats, holidays etc). I've been the featured speaker at regional women's meetings for our denomination (Christian and Missionary Alliance), and the key note speaker for Oregon Christian Writers' Regional Conferences. I teach writing classes all over the United States, and have taught Women's Leadership classes for regional teams here in Washington. Most of these event planners would be happy to vouch for the quality of my work.

Professional Presentation Techniques: I provide my own Power Point projector, and use modern media to enhance every presentation. Rather than read to my audience, I work from an outline, providing direction, control over content and timing. For shorter, more inspirational topics, I leave the media at home, giving a warm, focused and time-sensitive presentation. Whether I bring a previously written presentation, or design something just for you, you will experience exactly the current, fully prepared and engaging speaker you have been longing to find.





Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul ...healing to the bones. (Prov. 16)