Speaking FAQ for Event Organizers

1. How can I learn more about you, your background, approach and topics you speak on?

Dear Event Organizer,

I look forward to the opportunity of possibly speaking to your organization. I know how important it is to know and feel comfortable with who you’re having speak to your people. My website contains a wealth of information about my training, background, experience, services and seminars offered. I direct you to the following items of interest all of which will help you get a better sense for my style and approach:

I always do a quick and easy pre-presentation survey (a simple 3-5 question online form) to ensure that my presentation is custom-tailored to meet the specific needs of your organization.

I am looking forward to the event. Please feel free to call me directly at 801.787.8014 or email me at  Jonathan@MarriageEnvy.com if you have any questions.

2. What are some of your most popular speaking topics?

Favorites (see full listing at http://marriageenvy.com/seminars/). I can also develop a custom training to specific your group's needs. 

For Singles

  • "Attract the BEST" Singles Seminar

For Couples

  • Speaking Manglish & Womanese: Bridging the Gender Gap
  • Communication: The DEEP Listening Solution
  • Creating Your Own GREAT Relationship Brand
  • Building Strong Marriages with "A-Triple C-T-S"

For Parents

  • Parenting Tips from the Trenches: Love & Logic Plus!
  • Building Strong Families with "A-Triple C-T-S"
  • StepFamily SUCCESS! 
  • Alternative Solutions to Managing ADHD

For Everyone

  • Mastering Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Anger & Other Strong Emotions
  • TRUE You: Banishing Fear and Owning Self
  • Solutions to Depression

For Youth

  • Youth Suicide Prevention & Intervention
  • Study SMARTER, Not Harder: Effective Learning Strategies
  • Alternative Solutions to Managing ADHD
  • Be the Answer: Solutions to Bullying

For Professionals

  • Body Language: What You Need to Know About Non-Verbal Communication
  • WORKING the System: Motivating and Strategizing with “Resistant” Teens to Achieve the Better Outcomes THEY Want
  • Thriving in Private Practice: Bootstrap Marketing through Wellness-based Workshops
  • The Great Groups Grab Bag: The Top Ten Group Activities to Grab Participants Attention
  • All In the Family: Working with Couples and Systems

3. What is unique about your presentations compared to others?

Besides the fun, upbeat and relatable manner of how I present, and the solid, informative and practical content of the presentation itself, I also offer four uncommon approaches most presenters don’t utilize that leaders have reported to particularly helpful to them and their groups:

  1. Pre-questionnaire: I always customize each presentation to the particular needs and interests of those who will be in attendance by providing a pre-questionnaire to get feedback about what people want to most get out of the fireside or workshop. Opposed to a “canned” presentation, this approach ensures the topic will be especially relevant to those who choose to participate.
  2. Evaluation Feedback to You: An additional benefit of my presentation process is that I also collect an evaluation form at the end of each presentation. I then compile the results (in an anonymous manner, of course) and provide those results back to the organizer and leaders so they can know what was most impactful and relevant to their members. Many have found this feedback to help them get a better “pulse” on the needs of their members.
  3. Handout Packet: Each participant gets a content rich handout packet which contains the presentation sides, relevant articles, worksheets and reference material so the learning can continue well after the presentation (Note: the hosting organization customarily makes these copies from the handout PDF I send to the organizer).
  4. The GREAT Relationships Forum where participants (for free) can continue the discussion that began in the workshop online with other participants from the most recent as well as past workshops. This allows the learning to continue, questions to be answered, support to be given and gained, insights and experiences to be shared and for principles and concepts to be reinforced and practiced. Each workshop has it’s own section in the Forum so those who are most interested in that area can focus there.

4. What do past participants have to say about your presentations?

A lot. I have been collecting evaluations at the end of every presentation I've ever done. I then return those results to event organizers and post them online.

You can view different ones here:

I don't filter my evaluation results I give them as straight as I get them. I figure if you're making the important decision to select the right speaker for your group is it better to just get filtered, glowing, positive only testimonials about a potential speaker or to know how people respond to the speaker including both those who loved it and those who didn't? So if someone thought I stunk you'll hear it hear first. Obviously, I don't try to make everyone happy simply because I can't. Further, part of my utility is to get people out of their comfort zones. If the majority love an approach I use in a seminar I'll continue those items that resonate with most. If the majority hate an approach I'll drop it. If one or two people don't like what the majority love, then I don't give much heed to those critiques, of course. However, I appreciate all feedback, which is one of the reasons my evaluation results are consistently high: My audiences teach me what they like and what works best for them and I listen.

5. Do you ever work with organizations and companies? It seems like these relationship skills would work really well in the workplace, too.

Yes, I do. I am a Relationship Strategist. On the micro-level I work with individuals, couples and families focusing on Self-Mastery, Couples Work and Parent Training. On the macro-level I work with companies and organizations. The home and workplace inherently dovetail: It’s all relationships. These are transferrable skills: The skills learned in one can be transfered and adapted into the other. The work I do with organizations and companies includes:

  • Team Building,
  • Leadership Development,
  • Workplace Development
  • Organizational Transformation,
  • Work/Family Balance,
  • Stress Management
  • Customer Service: Handling Angry Customers with Grace

I can accomodate the training and development needs of your organization depending on the size of your company and the scope of the project through my strategic partnerships with Five Degrees Consulting, Chocolate Villa Women’s Leadership Programs and The Green River Group.

6. Do you ever speak for free? Why and why not?

Yes, No and Maybe.

As a way to give back, in some small measure, to the various faith organizations that have blessed my family’s and my life both directly and indirectly I do offer my speaking services pro bono to faith groups whether they are of my particular faith or not. These can include 1-2 hour workshops or half-day seminars. The exception is more time-intensive commitments such as marriage/family weekends/retreats. For these, I accept honorariums based on what they can afford from their budget. Alternatively, some pay my full fee, or they generate their honorarium, through selling tickets for such events to their congregation.

If travel and lodging expenses are incurred those expenses are arranged and paid for by the organization. Further, for pro bono services it is understood that the hosting organization will make copies for every participant of my handout packet (that I send via email as a PDF) at their own expense.

I do donate my time for such organizations as yours as I know most such agencies aren’t budgeted for my full fee. At the same time, most do consider what they can offer as an honorarium (as much or as little as is realistic for them–there is no set amount for an honorarium) to help defray associated costs and I would first ask you to consider that as well. If not, I will still make myself available pro bono, but only ask you to first consider what may be possible. Thank you.

Why pro bono and/or honorariums for church and civic organizations?

  1. To give back
  2. To respect the sacred nature of their limited funds. Sacred as either consecrated to God’s work or sacred as taxpayers money.
  3. Many of these organizations are on the front lines an are first responders to those I can serve. Thus, though not required, but as a matter of course, I tend to get many referrals over time from offering these services. So besides the benefit of giving back the truth is the principle of “casting my bread upon the waters” continues to prove true.

Okay, I haven’t thought of a “maybe” but feel free to ask—can’t hurt.

Organizations and corporations pay. For organizations and corporations evidence-based training is an investment that yields measurable results in terms of increased employee engagement which is the key indicator for all of these resultant outcomes:

  • increased retention,
  • decreased turnover,
  • greater morale,
  • increased productivity,
  • improved customer service,
  • greater customer satisfaction =  increased ROI/bottom line.

What price are you paying by not getting the above outcomes?

However, "We just can't afford training" is a common objection. The truth your company cannot afford not to invest. I provide research-and evidence-based trainings for your single greatest expense and investment—your people.

Count the Real Cost.
Consider: If you have a team of 30 that you are paying each $50K/year that equals a $1,500,000/year investment in your people. Consider the cost of not investing in the training to protect and leverage that considerable investment.  For example, did you know that when you lose just one of these people it costs on average one-half of their salary, through direct and indirect costs to the company, to recruit and train a new employee? In this scenario that’s $25K of direct and indirect costs on top of the new hire's $50K salary. Losing people vs. developing people is akin to needlessly flushing $25K down the toilet for every fire and hire. What is your turnover/retention rate? Thus my fee of a few thousand dollars for various training needs, compared to $1.5M, is a small investment to protect a greater investment even more importantly yields an even greater ROI than just protecting investment. Good training is always WAY cheaper than turnover! And it yields better and long-lasting results. 

7. Logistics: Do you have a bio? How should we introduce you?

My bio is here in a few different formats depending on the type of audience. You may read the bio as is or summarize as you feel best. No pressure, but your introduction sets the tone ;-). Just be sure to have read the bio a few times ahead so you can read it clearly and confidently. Share you excitement and enthusiasm for the speaker and topic. Share a brief personal connection/anecdote about how you met or heard of Jonathan and/or your interest in the topic.

Jonathan Sherman, LMFT is a Relationship Strategist (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist), sought-out speaker, and all-around swell-fella. He is the president of Jonathan Sherman, International and MarriageEnvy.com.

In the face of daunting divorce statistics, Jonathan specializes in helping motivated people just like you defy the odds by creating truly GREAT and lasting relationships by improving their marriages, their parenting and themselves through skill development, life coaching, overcoming depression and anxiety, mastering stress and anger, and recovering from addictions. For over 20 years he has been speaking and teaching extensively on a wide range of relationship topics in both the community and professional sectors.

Jonathan says, “Every day I get to witness courageous people challenge themselves and achieve the kind of greatness that before they only dreamed of. Man, I love my job!”

He is married to a lovely and skilled husband trainer who has truly earned her keep. They live in eternal bliss (okay, fairly peaceably) with their four children in the Rocky Mountains of Utah. You may reach him at MarriageEnvy.com. He’d love to hear from you.

Jonathan Sherman, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) is a Relationship Strategist and Speaker specializing in “Creating GREATness in Relationships.” He is the president of MarriageEnvy.com.

His three main areas of focus are Transforming Marriages, Parent Training, and Self-Mastery. He trains people learn how to improve their marriages, their parenting and themselves through skill development, life coaching, mastering depression, anxiety, stress, and addiction recovery. He speaks and teaches extensively on a wide range of relationship topics in both the community and professional sectors.

Jonathan was previously the Director of Training and Development for PeopleSmarts—a leadership development firm specializing in the field of emotional intelligence. Further, he was the Youth Substance Abuse Coordinator for Valley Mental Health and an instructor for the State of Utah’s Shared Parenting Course for Divorcing Parents. His background includes residential addiction treatment, domestic violence perpetrator and victim treatment, community mental health, at-risk youth services, and home-based family therapy services.

Jonathan has written over a hundred articles for his GREAT Relationships Blog and newspaper column, and has developed numerous products for professionals and lay people alike. He was awarded the Outstanding Education Award by The Utah Behavioral Healthcare Network for “recognition of outstanding efforts in presenting the public with accurate, meaningful and current information about mental illness.”

Jonathan works closely with civic and community leaders in crafting solutions to strengthen marriages and families in the community through providing consulting on best outreach practices. Further, he founded The Relationship Mastery Series™ workshops designed to strengthen families and enrich our community.

Jonathan works with school districts and educators in creating effective solutions to difficult behavioral and emotional problems with their students. He has developed the Be the Answer: Solutions to Bullying™ prevention and intervention program modeled on evidence- and researched-based solutions. He conducts teacher training and school assemblies on this and other topics such as the popular Parenting with Love & Logic curriculum.

Jonathan did his undergraduate work in Family Sciences at Brigham Young University and his master’s work in Marriage and Family Therapy at Northern Illinois University.

Jonathan is married to a lovely and skilled husband trainer who has truly earned her keep. They live in eternal bliss (okay, fairly peaceably) with their four children in the Rocky Mountains of Utah.

Jonathan has been passionately educating individuals, couples, families and groups about building strong families and creating great relationships since 1993.

Specific Bios

Bullying Presentation Brief Bio
Jonathan Sherman, LMFT,  is a licensed marriage and family therapist and speaker, currently in private practice. For over 20 years Jonathan has been consulting with schools, juvenile courts, mental health agencies, and parents how to best help youth successfully navigate past their struggles into functional and vibrant adulthood. He specializes in helping youth overcome behavior problems, family chaos, bullying, abuse, depression, anxiety, suicidality, anger, and stress.

In his presentations on bullying, Jonathan helps his audiences understand not only the dynamics of bullying, but more importantly what can be done to stand up for self and others. 

Jonathan is married to a lovely and skilled husband trainer who has truly earned her keep. They live in eternal bliss (okay, fairly peaceably) with their four children in the Rocky Mountains of Utah. You may reach him at MarriageEnvy.com. He’d love to hear from you.

ADD-IN for LDS Audiences (Add this as the second to last paragraph in any of the above bios/intros)
Jonathan served a mission with the Hmong in the California Sacramento Mission. Like all of you, he has served in many callings over the years. He is currently teaching the 14-15 year old Sunday School class in the American Fork 9th Ward and loving it. 

8. Logistics: Jonathan's Picture/Headshot for Event Brochure

You can download this image.


9. Logistics: What are your equipment and room set-up requirements?

  • LCD projector (I can bring my own if needed). 
  • LARGE screen or light-colored blank wall to present on. A small rinky-dink projector screen can kill the big impact of a well-prepared presentation. 
  • Whiteboard and fresh whiteboard markers
  • Water (bottle or glass)
  • A stage or open space in the front that allows me to walk around is best. I prefer to not speak behind a podium. Considering the size of the group a riser would be good if there's enough room to walk back and forth between props, whiteboard, etc.

10. Logistics: Time Management

Please, START ON TIME! While Jonathan is laid-back and is good at adjusting on the fly, please bear in mind that many, many hours of preparation time have gone into the brief 1 to 1 1/2 hours you have allocated for his presentation. So if you know realistically that your people arrive 15-minutes late, use that time to attend to group business, announcements, etc. and don't go into the speaker's presentation time. For example, if you have told Jonathan he will have 60 minutes to speak, do not schedule your meeting to be only from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, knowing that half the people will show up 10-15 minutes late, announcements will be made and then actual presentation time is cut down from 60 minutes to 30-40 minutes. When a presenter has spent hours crafting a careful, tight, concise and precise presentation designed to entertain, engage and inform, with key 5- and 10-minute segments crucial to the flow and format, then cutting out huge swatches of the presenters time by 20-30 minutes is both frustrating and disrespectful. Instead, announce the meeting will be from 7:00 to 8:30 pm to allow for that beginning start-up time while preserving the full last hour for the presentation. Similarly, then if it's a 90 minute presentation, then announce it will be from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

11. Logistics: What information do you need from us? The Speaker Request Form

Please fill out the following form:

12. Logistics: What speaking formats/lengths do you offer?

All of my topics can be scaled (expanded or reduced) to fit the time frame you need for your group. The most common formats are as follows:

  • Keynote (45-60 minutes)
  • Breakout Session/Workshop (90-120 minutes)
  • Half-day Training (3 hours)
  • Full-day Seminar (6 hours)
  • Weekend Retreat (9-12 hours)

13. Logistics: How should we send the Pre-Seminar Survey out to our group?

Also, once we decide on topic, you can email or Facebook message the following to your group:

Hi. [Your Name] here. On [date], for our [name of your event] Jonathan Sherman, LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist), Relationship Strategist and speaker, will be speaking on "[Presentation Title]." We are very excited to have him as his presentations are engaging, fun, upbeat, informative and practical. He likes to customize each presentation to those who are actually taking the time to attend and has asked that each of you take a moment to fill out this brief survey at http://goo.gl/QLgI7D . This will help him weave as many answers to your questions into his presentation as possible. 

Thank you,

[Your Name]

I have found that this simple survey has the following benefits for the group:

  • Increases attendance, interest and engagement: People want to get their questions answered, and they feel more engaged since they know they are getting a customized presentation rather than a "canned" one. 
  • Insight and connection: I compile the questions (anonymously and with any identifying information removed) so that participants and event organizers can see what their peers are concerned about/interested in as well. This builds both group unity and helps people realize they're not alone in their concerns. 

14. Logistics: Fees: What are your fees?

Contact me to discuss fee structure based on your needs. 

Let me know what other info you need. Thanks again for the invite to be a part of your event and your group!