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Stage fright is a real thing. For some people, being a guest speaker at a school is a terrifying thought. All eyes are on you, and hundreds of faces are waiting to either label you as a great speaker or a dud.

Being a great guest speaker, particularly at schools, takes a lot of practice and understanding of your audience. When we say schools, we mean K-12 grade students. So, young minds that are developing and open to new information. 

Imagine if you gave just a simple 30-minute speech to a group of elementary kids, and it left a lasting impact on a young mind. You might not know what type of impression you’re making in the moment, but that child will feel the full effect of your words. 

Tips for Being a Great Guest Speaker for Schools

Here are five tips to aid your journey as a guest speaker at schools that cater to K-12 students. Get ready to take some notes, and bookmark this page for future reference. 

1. Speak & Move with Passion 

Passion is evident not only in your words but also in your non-verbal communication. Approximately 57% of a speaker’s message comes from non-verbals. Young minds can “feel” if you are truly passionate about what you’re saying. It’s visible in your eyes, how you move your body, and in how you present yourself overall.

2. Be Relatable to Your Audience’s Age

Young kids K-12 crave relatability. If you can approach them in a way they are receptive to, right from the start, they will be more attuned to what you have to say. It’s all about the approach. So, understand your audience’s age and present stories, information, and advice that they can actually relate to for a meaningful connection. 

3. Put Together a Speaking Strategy

Fine-tune your focus and hone-in your speaking strategy. The best guest speakers always go into the with a game plan. Don’t try to cover everything in one speech. It’s best to be specific to make the most impact. Try writing out your speech in an outline format to visualize the flow of the conversation better. 

4. Ask Questions

Take the time to connect with your K-12 audience. Questions are always expected towards the end of one’s speech, but why not in the beginning or throughout? Asking questions is a good habit if you want to become a great guest speaker. It builds rapport with your audience during your speech, and how they respond to your questions can help guide the conversation.

Youth is much easier to speak to than one might imagine. 

Being a guest speaker for teachers and even university students requires a whole different mindset. But young adults, K-12, are not as daunting of a group. Schools around the country need your voice to exclaim inspiration and encouragement to the young minds of tomorrow’s future. If you’d love to test your ability as a guest speaker, Portland public schools welcome you with open arms.