Monday, July 11, 2011

"Pitching" Your Lesson

As much as some teachers hate to admit it, there are times when the teacher needs to present lessons to students.  The lecture or the presentation itself is not necessarily the problem as much as the ability of the teacher to do so in an engaging and meaningful way.

Here is a tip.  View the lesson as a sales pitch.

I'm not suggesting that you mislead or offer crazy incentives to learn.  I said a sales pitch, not an infomercial!  Rather, you (teacher) are pitching an idea to a venture capital group (students).  You are passionate, driven, and informed.  You just need their support and the idea takes shape.  If you use Power Point, Prezi, or some other tool - remember these rules:
  1. 10 slides
  2. 20 minutes long
  3. No less than 30 point font
Also, as you are presenting remember the two words that scared me to death when I presented my dissertation proposal:


You should always be prepared to answer this in your presentation because the students are asking it!  They may not say it, but assume they are thinking it.  Answering, "So what?" is a great middle step in having a powerful lecture or presentation.

Wait, did I say "middle step?"  Yes, I did.  There is one final part to prepare.  The last part is a brief completion of this opening:

"For instance, . . ."

It is the "For instance, . . ." part that brings the point home and real to the students.  You can even ask the students to suggest some examples of their own, but have some prepared just in case they miss the target.

For example:

Your point:
"The colonists objected to the Stamp Act."

So what?:
"Printed documents were very important.  They were a vital means to communicate and spread news throughout the colonies."

For instance, . . .:
". . . it would be similar to you having to pay the government for every email, Facebook post, Twitter update, blog article, etc. that you want to write or read."

This template for presentations and lectures helps the teacher make her point, reinforce it with detail, and make a connection between the concept and the students.

If you have any other ideas about how to present more engaging lectures, discussions, or presentations, feel free to offer them in the comments below.

This post was inspired by The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki - specifically, Chapter 3: The Art of Pitching.

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