Sunday, January 8, 2012

Guest Speaking

Guest speaking is very hard. A few weeks ago I was privileged enough to get to speak to a fifth grade class about writing. They were genuinely interested, and were fun to talk to. A good guest speaker should have an idea of what they will be covering and going over. I had no idea what I was going to say. It was a rocky start, but I picked up a good conversation. Starting and ending with questions can help get you going. If someone asks a good question, you can start speaking about one topic and end up getting ideas out of it. The fifth grade class didn't ask me about money, which was a relief. I could tell that they were interested in what I had to say, and that they were actually interested about writing. Otherwise, the questions about money would've been asked left and right. Below are five tips for being a good guest speaker.

1.) Know your audience. If you are talking about film, ask about other people's different projects. They like to be acknowledged and know that you aren't only worried about yourself. 

2.) Keep eye contact. Without eye contact, your audience might not be able to hear you very well, and will think you are shy. You need to keep eye contact so they know you are actually listening to them when they ask a question.

3.) Take questions. Guest speaking can be effective without questions, but with them the audience will be able to have certain things answered that you might not have covered.

4.) Know what categories you will cover, and what points you are trying to make. Every good speech should include main points. Successful guest speakers know that their conversation is heading in a certain direction. Without structure, what you are talking about will crumble.

5.) Be social. Talk about your upcoming projects and explain them if the audience is interested. If you can tell the audience is not interested in what you are talking about, change subjects.

Guest speaking can be a lot of fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed the fifth grader's reactions. The teacher told me that they came in at lunch to write and liked what I had to say. I was very happy and a smile broke out across my face. The students kept asking me about specific points in my book, and I got a kick out of every question they asked. When you start your speech, make sure you start quickly. It took me a bit to get settled and comfortable, but that's how it is when you are talking to a group of strangers. I hope this post helps you; please leave comments as they are much appreciated.


  1. Spencer,
    Great list -
    When I was a professional speaker I made all of my points through stories - it takes a lot of pressure off and it entertains the audience. Now I use that principle in my blogs. It works just as well there.
    Have fun.
    Your friend,

  2. That sounds like a great way to prove points! Thanks for the tip, and I will definitely use it when I guest speak next. Thanks for another comment!

  3. Let me know when you're scheduled to speak again and what your topic is and we can brain storm it if like

  4. I'll be sure to do that! Thanks :)