The stemCONNECT team often gets asked what are you looking for when I speak for a session? How do they usually go? stemCONNECT team member Jennie Ablanedo has provided a couple stemCONNECT sessions and will give you a little insight on what to expect.
I’ll be the first to admit I not only dread public speaking, I also hate it. However, it has come up on a couple occasions, as a stemCONNECT team member with over 10 years of industry experience, that I have had to fill in for an unexpected expert canceling or forget about their session. I can assure you stemCONNECT is an enjoyable outreach opportunity, but I have compiled a few tips I have learned from not only my own personal experience but watching other successful and engaging stemCONNECT sessions.
I think this is important for any speaking engagement, you need to understand and know your audience and cater your material to be focused on what they will find engaging. Ask about the age level or grade, and some specific points that the teacher is looking for.
Talk directly to the students
Something that I love about stemCONNECT is that you can directly interact with the classroom. This means you can immediately gage your audience and call them out if they look bored, or see if they understand what you are talking about. I love when other experts ask a lot of questions because it gets the students excited and makes it more personalized. When I personally did a stemCONNECT session it was interesting to see their reaction to my career path and answer the questions that they had throughout my story.
Focus on your career journey
Everyone loves to hear a story, and when you share your specific journey and how you got to your current career it usually not only captivates the audience, it also gives them a base understanding of your role to the subject matter they are studying. No one’s path is the same and it’s important for students to understand that not only there are mistakes along the way, but there are different opportunities that open because of the consistent changes in all industries.
Have visuals as a backup
In my experience, I highly recommend having visuals to help you present, even if you have it as a summary. This gives the students a little more to look at and understand a frame of reference. It also helps when preparing for your specific session.
Have fun – remember they are just students.
Something I always tell experts is to keep it light and remember they are just learning. The students could come up with great thought-provoking questions, but they can also come up with questions that as an adult really make you laugh. In the end you need to remember that you are a new role model to provide them insight and knowledge to a career and the journey is fun.
Do you have any other additional tips for experts that provide stemCONNECT presentations? We’d love to hear your thoughts!