Speak Like a Pro – 10 Lesson Remix for Teachers


Recently I read an article by Jesicka Labud called  “Speak like a Pro- 15 lessons learned from watching TED TALKS” found HERE. As a Toastmaster International member, she wrote the article to help others give great speeches and it got me thinking.

Teachers can use this information!

So, I am presenting a bit of a remix by looking at her lessons learned from TED talks from the lens of an educator.

1. Start with a BANG!

Teachers need to grab the attention of students. Labud states that you must wow the audience within the first 30 seconds. How about students? Introduce the topic in a way that will gain the interest of the students.

2. Organize your ideas.

Have a plan. K-12 teachers routinely create lesson plans. What about higher ed teachers? Yes – many do. But I am guessing that others may not. Make sure that you have a plan and that the content is organized so that the students can easily follow along.

3. Pauses are powerful.

I’ve heard this often with teaching – the power of the pause. This is especially true when asking questions. Allow students to have “think” time. You may want to also pause for short amounts of time if you are lecturing. Try not to rush through a presentation.

4. Stay on target.

Labud noted that the TED talks all stay on target. They are carefully planned and don’t stray off topic. I think I need to work on this one! I like to “tell stories” and need to remember to tie these stories back to the main message.

5. Use simple words.

As Labud states, keep your sentences succinct and to the point. Undoubtedly, educators will use content vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to students. In this case, be sure to clarify or define the terms.

6. Use body language effectively.

For the teacher, this means moving around the room – not planted at the front. Be sure to look side to side, move to the back and around to all students. Move with meaning. Ask questions. If you give a presentation that is fixed to the podium, get a “clicker” so that you may move more easily around the room. I like the Logitech Wireless Presenter. You can purchase one for about $35-$40.

7. Know your audience and inspire them deeply.

Know your students! Get to know not only their past knowledge and learning style, but commit to getting to know THEM! The more you understand your students’ interests and passions, the more you will be able to inspire them with meaningful content. Initiate conversations and find out interests. Sarcasm is a no-no. Show respect to students and listen to them.

8. Incorporate humor.

Humor does increase student engagement! Tell a story that causes them to smile. This will gain their attention.

9. Be comfortable with your visual aides.

Most people don’t enjoy looking at a boring PowerPoint. Please –  don’t create a 275 page PowerPoint, covered with words. Yikes. The slides should not contain too many words. Try to use lots of (meaningful) visuals with less words. How about trying a new tool?

Haiku Deck is a great tool for creating a visual presentation focused on visuals. Or, read my article here to learn about some other great presentation tools.

10. End with a call to action.

Labud states, “Come full circle with your message.”  Begin with the learning goals, given in a compelling manner…and end with the learning goals. What should your students think about as they leave class? (Not just a homework assignment.) Give a conclusion to your lesson that asks students to think about or act upon some aspect of the lesson.

To read Labud’s full article, please click here.

Photo source:   http://www.flickr.com/photos/10381539@N03/3397761317/


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