Guest lecturing: How to prepare

If you have been following me on Instagram, you will know that I had a guest lecture last week. This wasn’t my first guest lecture but I can also count the number of guest lectures I have completed on one hand. Needless to say,  I had some preparing to do. I reached out to my #ScholarSquad on Instagram and I was blown away by the advice and tips everyone gave me to help prepare for the lecture. I want to share those tips with all of you but I also want to add the five things that helped me in preparing for my guest lecture.

Thanks to the brilliant scholars who helped share the following tips and tricks when preparing for a lecture:

  • Don’t read off the slides too much
  • Watch filter words, ‘um’ ‘like’ etc.
  • Bring a water bottle with you and drink it if you’ve lost your train of thought
  • Be rested, poised and confident
  • Maintain a positive attitude to achieve mindfulness even before you step into the classroom
  • Dress comfortable, yet professional
  • Be yourself and most of all have fun!


Now here are the five things that helped me significantly when preparing for my guest lecture:

1. Set Goals

Not for yourself, but for the class. Depending on how long the lecture is you may have one goal or many. As a guest lecturer make sure to align your goals with the goals of the course. Aligning these goals and making them clear to the students can help with retention of the information.

My goal for this guest lecture was simple – introduce students to ethical decision making in a cultural context. 

2. Incorporate Engagement

My teaching philosophy emphasizes the importance of creating a positive and inclusive environment for students to empower themselves toward becoming collaborative partners in learning. In order to do this, I need to engage and motivate students. I incorporated two exercises into my guest lecture for this application of theory to practice. Both the activities were a hit and also allowed me to see where I can improve these exercises for next time – a great learning experience.

3. Practice

One of the most helpful techniques was having one of my colleagues listen to me practice my lecture ahead of time. Not only did it increase my confidence and help me feel more comfortable with the material but more importantly it helped check my blind spots. This might be areas or information that you might be missing since you are so close to the material or your biases within the lecture.

It was a such a good experience that I hope to continue to use during my early days of teaching. She was able to notice areas that needed clarification, as well as emphasizing certain aspects as well.

4. Positive Mindset

I have mentioned before that I struggle with anxiety so it was important for me to also incorporate calming and meditative techniques the days prior.  In order to calm these nerves, I tried just about everything; meditation, yoga, walks outside, mindfulness techniques. To my surprise, when it came time for the lecture, I think these techniques actually helped. Of course, I still had a bit of the jitters but for the most part, I felt comfortable.

What I think really helped was taking the morning to get into a positive mindset, I woke up with hot lemon water and a meditation, I practiced the lecture and I headed to the gym for some more motivation. Maintaining a positive attitude drastically improved my performance the day of.

5. Tape Yourself

I know, I know this is no fun and can be very uncomfortable – but it is so worth. I needed to tape myself for a class project, so I didn’t have a choice. But to be honest, I plan on bringing this technique with me in the future. To be able to look back and reflect on your strengths and areas for improvement in real time is so valuable.

I have a stand for my iPad so I brought that in, made sure there was space on my hard drive and the process was relatively easy.



These photos are taken as screenshots from my tape recording (I noticed I talk with my hands – a lot). Overall the guest lecture was such a positive experience. I felt out of my comfort zone and it’s not the easiest thing to watch the tape over and over again. But if I could do it again, I would say yes in a heartbeat. It’s practical experiences like these where I have gained my most valuable and unforgettable learning.


What techniques do you use when preparing yourself for a guest lecture?


Until next time,

Christine xo




P.S Don’t forget to use #ScholarCulture #ScholarSquad to keep me updated on your experiences as grad students.

P.P.S Applying to grad school for the 2018/19 school year? Check out this FREE eBook on 5 steps to a successful grad school application. Are you in grad school and struggling to find easy lunches to bring to campus? Check out three FREE recipes and full nutritional information here.


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