There may come a time when you are asked to be a guest lecturer at a university or college. Guest lectureships can be short-term (one day, two weeks); and long-term one month, up to twelve months). Here are admonishments for lecturing undergraduate or graduate students, either short or long-term:

As in other areas of public speaking, preparation is utmost important. Start by researching the university, its historical significance, and the role it plays in the community. If the class professor gives you a particular topic to talk about, related to your field of expertise, he/she should aid in your research by forwarding topic materials and associated subject matter to you. If you are given leeway to choose the topic, it should be affiliated with the course subject.

Let’s surmise that the venue of your educational talk is the university in your city or a college therein. Therefore, travel plans aren’t necessary. Now we move on to preparatory measures, which must include a dry-run through of your slides, assuming you will use Powerpoint, Prezi, or similar presentation display. Some speakers overweight their slides with an abundance of text. Less written verbiage is always better and pleasing to the eye, thereby, better comprehended. If you want the audience to read in-depth, give them handouts at the conclusion of your talk.

Keep a voice modulation where inflection and tonality are evident but isn’t over the top. In other words, vary your voice to emphasize points but be careful not to launch extremely high pitches or excessively low mumblings. You want to come across succinct and confident; mumbling and sky-high streaks won’t get you there.

Be with the audience, and allow the audience to be with you by relating an anecdote that is appropriate to the subject matter. The story should be short, serious or humorous, clean, and to the point.

Allocate time for questions at the end of your lecture; it is expected. “Are there any questions?” is okay, however, “I now set aside 10 minutes for questions.” Or, “I’ve enjoyed being with you today, at this time I will answer any questions you might have” is better.

Your attire should be suitable for the type of lecture you’re providing and the audience makeup. You won’t want to wear a business suit while speaking to a class on the ins and outs of cattle farming. By the same measure, wearing shorts, Hawaiian shirt, and flip-flops while presenting to a business class on stocks and bonds, is out of bounds as well.

In conclusion, stay positive before, during, and after the lecture. You have the unique opportunity to influence the minds of many, consider yourself fortunate. Further, your audience will develop an opinion about you and the content of your message. Most likely, the students will evaluate you, and evaluation forms (paper or email) given to the class professor.

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