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 students or other 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 students/learners connect what they’re learning in school with the workplace. Presentations are usually conducted in the classroom, but in some cases, guest speakers may “visit” a classroom electronically via Skype, Zoom, WebEx or some other technology, or the activity is conducted on-line.

Guest speaker presentations are one activity in the continuum of authentic work-based experiences provided to all learners engaged in career-related programs or course of study with Earn & Learn partners.

Guest Speaker Presentations Are Designed To:

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

Guest Speaker Presentations Are Structured To:

  • Allow students/learners to listen, receive information and ask questions.
  • Enable students/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:

  • Student/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 student’s or learner’s next steps.
WBL Connector Checklist

WBL Connector Guest Speaker Checklist

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


  • 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 students/learners to prepare for the day.
  • Share speaker bio and prompt questions with students/learners.
  • Ask teacher/faculty to take pictures during the presentation. Get signed releases for all photos.
  • Provide employers an information packet about the school..
  • 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.
  • If conducting the activity via the internet, test and practice with the interface prior to the presentation.


  • Enter guest speaker presentation in ELENA.
  • Send a request for feedback from guest speakers and teachers. Review feedback and make recommendations for improvements.
  • Help students/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 students/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 students/learners have access to appropriate technology.
  • Decide how you will have students pose questions – Verbally or by entering on their device.
  • Do a test run with your students/learners.
  • Preload any slides or presentations from the speaker.
  • Decide how you want to moderate the session. Sometimes it takes one person to Emcee the session and another to monitor the technology and address questions.
  • Decide what Student/Learner reflection activities will take place and how you will support them.
  • Remember, it’s likely that parents or guardians will be around and would be a good resource for potential future speakers,
  • Make sure you get feedback on the activity from the speaker and the students/learners.

This includes Earn & Learn work-based learning connectors and others who facilitate, arrange and support work-based learning activities for students or other 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 students/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 Student/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 Student/Learner Growth
  • Ensure Activities are Safe and Legal
  • Provide Ongoing Support
  • Provide for Reflection, Presentation and Feedback
  • Connect to the Student/Learner Next Step
  • Assess and Document the Experience

Tools & Documents

Guest Speaker Presentation Downloads

Student/Learner Preparation
  • Research company and industry of visiting speaker.
  • Discuss how the presentation can help them meet learning objectives.
Student/Learner Reflection
  • Spark Student/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.