After your three major decisions have been made regarding your retreat (speaker, date and location), communication can then begin with your guest speaker. Your guest speaker needs to know what she is to speak about, how many times she will be speaking, how long she will be speaking at each session. Provide this information to your speaker as early as you can–months before your event. This way she can prayerfully prepare her teachings to fit your theme and schedule.
At some of our retreats, we use a theme that the guest speaker has done before at retreats. At our 2015 retreat, our speaker was an experienced retreat speaker who had done previous retreats with the theme “Deeper Still.” We gave her our schedule and let her run with it.
However, if you are providing the theme to the speaker, try to communicate as clearly as possible what your vision for the theme may be. Just giving her a title for the retreat is not enough if God has clearly given you a vision. Communicate with the speaker to let her know if you have a particular emphasis or theme scripture for your retreat. Sometimes your theme scripture will provide an outline for the teaching sessions.
For instance, our 2016 retreat theme was “SHINE!” We are using as the theme scripture Philippians 2:15-16a. We suggested a general outline and other relevant scriptures to give her direction. By doing this, as much as possible we insure that we are on the same page as our speaker as we prepare for the retreat (with decorations, giveaway, quiet time study, etc.).