Guest Speaker Guide

E&l Toolset Icons Guest Speaker
Fact Sheet

Guest Speaker Fact Sheet

What is a Guest Speaker Presentation?

Using guest speakers to support learning is a structured Career Awareness activity in which learners listen to a presentation to hear about the speaker’s career, business or organization and industry. They have the opportunity to ask questions to help them consider whether they might like to pursue a career in the industry.

Designed to meet specific learning outcomes, guest speaker presentations are educationally rich, are tied to the curriculum, and help learners connect what they’re learning in school with the workplace. Presentations are usually conducted at the school, but in some cases, guest speakers may visit a classroom via Skype, Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams or some other technology; and the activity is conducted through a remote classroom.

Guest Speaker Presentations Are Designed To:

  • Provide exposure to potential careers and jobs.
  • Provide a realistic picture of a business, its role in the community and the career paths and occupations of its workforce.
  • Help learners make the connection between their education and the workplace.
  • Inform career planning.

Guest Speaker Presentations Are Structured To:

  • Allow learners to listen, receive information and ask questions.
  • Enable learners to begin identifying areas of career interest.
  • Build knowledge about the education and training needed for a particular job, career path and entry into the industry.

Guest Speaker Presentations Are Supported By:

  • Learner preparation, including research on the industry and participating businesses.
  • Employer orientation and support to prepare for the particular audience.
  • Post presentation reflection opportunities that include verbal and written options.

Guest Speaker Presentations Are Connected To:

  • Individual career development/training plans.
  • A continuum of future work-based learning activities that build over time.
  • The learner’s next steps.
Connector Checklist

WBL Connector Guest Speaker Checklist

Quick tips for Work-Based Learning Connectors to ensure a successful guest speaker presentation.

Before

  • Identify all interested teachers and faculty and help them plan for their guest speaker presentations.
  • Make sure the speakers are good matches for the classes. What classroom topics can the speaker support?
  • Prepare teachers and encourage them to participate before, during and after the guest speaker presentation.
  • Share the Teacher/Faculty Tip Sheet.
  • Have teachers/faculty help create learning objectives and work with learners to prepare for the day.
  • Share speaker bio and prompt questions with learners.
  • Ask teacher/faculty to take pictures during the presentation. Get signed releases for all photos.
  • Provide employers an information packet about the school including background on the class they will be speaking to, the number of learners, their grade level(s), and career interests.
  • Confirm employer attendance and determine presentation needs. Let them know where to park and share any visitor procedures they need to follow.
  • Make sure the employer volunteers are supported and prepared. Share the Employer Tip Sheet, any questions to expect and encourage them to create an engaging and interactive presentation—using visuals and props.
  • Arrange for someone to meet the speaker when they arrive, and escort them to the classroom, or meet them online prior to the presentation.
  • Ask for permission to record and share the presentation with others in the future.
  • If conducting the activity via the internet, test and practice with the interface prior to the presentation.

After

  • Enter guest speaker presentation in ELENA.
  • Send a request for feedback from guest speakers and teachers. Review feedback and make recommendations for improvements.
  • Help learners update their career development plan and think about any next steps they would like to take to further their career goals.
  • Work with teachers/faculty to coordinate “go deeper” activities to connect the guest speaker presentation to the classroom.
  • Send thank-you notes to guest speakers.
  • Send pictures to the companies for their websites or newsletters. Ensure you have signed releases for all photos.
  • Confirm guest speaker’s company social media policy. Ask speaker to send URLs to social pages so learners can properly tag them.
  • Publicize the guest speaker presentation and the businesses that participated by placing a story in the local newspaper or posting on the school or agency webpage.
  • Consider other potential public relations benefits and opportunities.

Virtual/Online Event Tips

  • Select and personally practice using the selected technology.
  • Make sure all learners have access to appropriate technology.
  • Decide how you will have learners pose questions – Verbally or by entering on their device.
  • Do a test run with your learners as well as the guest speaker.
  • Preload any slides or presentations from the speaker.
  • Decide how you want to manage the session. Sometimes it takes one person to moderate the session and another to monitor the technology and address questions.
  • Decide which Learner reflection activities will take place and how you will support them.
  • Remember, it’s possible that parents or guardians will be around and who might be a good resource for potential future speakers,
  • Make sure you get feedback on the activity from the speaker and the learners.
  • Record and post the presentation for others to view and use in their classrooms (Note: be sure to record and share the speaker portion of the activity and not the learner interaction)

This includes Earn & Learn work-based learning connectors and others who facilitate, arrange and support work-based learning activities for learners.

Sample Timeline
  • Beginning of the school year: Identify interested teachers and appropriate speakers. Brainstorm business partners who could participate.
  • Two months in advance: Invite business partners to participate. Secure date, time and location.
  • One month in advance: Confirm participation of speakers. Have learners research the industry or company.
  • One week in advance: Send speakers logistics for the day and questions to expect. Confirm any presentation needs.
  • On day of presentation: Ensure that guest speakers are welcomed and escorted to classroom.
  • After day of presentation: Send thank-you notes to all guest speakers and ensure Learner Reflection activities take place.
Tips For Success
  • Conduct Effective Planning
  • Prepare for Success
  • Identify Learning Objectives
  • Create Authentic and Engaging Experiences
  • Connect to Careers
  • Support Learner Growth
  • Ensure Activities are Safe and Legal
  • Provide Ongoing Support
  • Provide for Reflection, Presentation and Feedback
  • Connect to the Learner Next Step
  • Assess and Document the Experience

Online

Guest Speaker Remote & Virtual Options

Introduction

Translating a Guest Speaker Activity to remote or virtual settings is perhaps the most straightforward of all the Work-Based Learnring activities. While presentations are usually conducted at the school, in some cases guest speakers may visit a classroom via Skype, Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams or some other technology; and the activity is conducted through the use of a remote classroom. There are also virtual simulations available where a recording of a live guest speaker activity can be viewed on-line and serve as a foundation for an activity and/or discussion in the classroom

Remote Presentation Options

Remember, remote activities promote “live” learner contact with adult professionals and front-line workers via the use of technology.

A. Remote Classroom

An industry or employer partner visits a remote classroom as a guest speaker and provides a presentation on the speaker’s career, business or organization and industry. Learners ask questions to help them consider whether they might like to pursue a career in the industry.

Steps To Success
  • Review the Guest Speaker Guide. Distribute and review checklists and tip sheets to all parties
  • WBL Connector and/or Teachers recruit and schedule Industry Partner(s)
  • WBL Connector and/or Teachers select and test platform
  • Industry Partner visits remote classroom
  • Industry Partner Introduces self, provides presentation
  • Learners ask questions and interact with the speaker, moderated by WBL Connector or Teacher
  • Teacher Supports reflection activities and helps learners update their employability skills profile.
Special Considerations
  • Get employer permission to record and reuse the session
  • Select and test appropriate technology with all parties
  • Decide how learners will pose questions (raise hand, chat box etc.)
  • Decide who will moderate and who will provide tech support during the session.
  • Conduct a dry run with learners,

Activity Options

Remember, virtual activities are generally simulations and provide learners with employer exposures through recordings, on-line research and related classroom activities.

A. Virtual Activity

  • Identify and select a recorded guest speaker to use as a foundation for an activity and discussion in the classroom. See the resource section below.
  • Have learners search the web for recordings of guest speakers and provide a presentation to the class where they show the video and then lead a discussion about the speaker’s career.  What did the learn?  What else would they like to know? How can they gather more information?

B. Hybrid Activity

Hybrid options are those that combine some virtual activities with some live remote interactions with employers.

In some cases, it may be possible to arrange for a guest speaker to return to the remote classroom for a short amount of time to answer specific questions from a new group of learners participating in a virtual Guest Speaker activity. If you have recorded the session and are able to have the speaker return set up a convenient time, have learners view the Guest Speaker session, start a discussion and then bring the speaker in to answer questions and engage in a dialogue with the learners.

  • Record the remote activity and archive for future use. Make this recording the foundation for a remote classroom activity, where learners view the presentation and then have a discussion about what they’ve learned and share what else they would like to know.
Tips For Success
  • Select and personally practice using the selected technology.
  • Make sure all learners have access to appropriate technology.
  • Decide how you will have learners pose questions – Verbally or by entering on their device.
  • Do a test run with your learners as well as the speaker.
  • Preload any slides or presentations from the speaker.
  • Decide how you want to manage the session.  Sometimes it takes one person to moderate the session and another to monitor the technology and address questions.
  • Decide which learner reflection activities will take place and how you will support them.
Resources & Links
Tools & Docs

Guest Speaker Presentation Downloads

Learner Preparation
  • Research company and industry of visiting speaker.
  • Discuss how the presentation can help them meet learning objectives.
Learner Reflection
  • Spark Learner reflection with an activity.
  • Ask “What new things did you learn about this job and industry?”
  • See if they want to find out more or further explore careers in the speaker’s industry.