How To · Presentation · Public Speaking · Tutorial

Lesson Plans for Success

I was once a professional public speaker. I was once a “business English consultant”. I was once in charge of adapting dry subject matter to fit the needs of a busy, impatient, and sometimes difficult audience.

I was as an English teacher – and according to the feedback I received from students and employers I was pretty good at it! One part of my success was that I love people – and the other that for me, being organized gives me confidence in stressful situations.

In the following I would like to provide a Lesson Plan template that can be adapted to all sorts of interactive presentations (intended for a western audience). For example, I recently used this template to prepare an interactive presentaiton of market research data to an audience of attorneys.

First, the template (60-90 minute course):

  1. Review of previous session / Warm-Up (5-10 minutes)
    1. Touch on topics that put the audience in the proper mind-set for learning
    2. If appropriate; this is a good time to play a game or encourage people to ask each other questions.
  2. Clarify / Correct Questions (5-10 minutes)
    1. If you assigned homework, this is an appropriate time to review / correct it.
    2. Some people will have questions from the warm-up activity. It is wise to address trouble spots early on in the lesson so you can either mentally adapt your lesson plan to include this information.
    3. Sometimes these problems will require an entire session to solve. That is totally O.K. You can use the lesson plan you’ve already made for the next meeting.
    4. If clarifying understanding is complicated (or you need to conduct some research yourself) you can always promise to include the information in the next meeting.
  3. The Body of the Lesson (15-20 minutes)
    1. This is where you use the materials you’ve prepared for your presentation the most. Maybe you need to explain something that requires complicated charts and graphs. Make sure that everybody has a copy of the relevant materials.
  4.  Reinforce Lesson / Activities (15-20 minutes)
    1. Once you have explained the basics of the topic at hand, you will need to check for understanding.
    2. I always try to get my audience to talk as much as possible during my meetings.
    3. I always prepare a “group” activity where people work in pairs / as a class to complete a small, on-task project.
    4. While participants work together, your job is to supervise the understanding of the students. If somebody does not understand the task at hand, it is much less embarassing for them if one person corrects them privately than if they are singled out in a large group of people.
      1. If one person does not understand the topic it is very likely that other people are struggling as well. When this happens, I make a note to include this topic in the “warm up” activity for next time.
  5. Fun & Games (15-20 minutes)
    1. After the students have practiced using the concept that was taught to them in the “Body of the Lesson”, it is wise to re-apply the concept in a more social way. Activities can vary but I always try to include the whole group in the second “reinforcement activity”.
  6. Cool-Down (5 – 10 minutes)
    1. It is appropriate to assign a bit of homework or an individual task to give participants time to include important notes or organize their thoughts for the next activities.
  7. Homework
    1. Assign homework. If you don’t, students will complain. Also, be sure to correct the homework at the beginning of the lesson so students can ask for clarification when there is time to give them information!



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