It's what every B-school does, and they can teach each other some great practices. After being at 7 different B-schools, here are some tips that I found them doing exceptionally right.
1. The Venue
Not every guest session has to be in your huge hi-tech auditorium. The topic may require more interaction than what is permitted by a stage and a podium. A smaller room also encourages audience participation as compared to the stadium-style auditorium. For example, having a smaller venue, reduces the pressure to fill up the seats (See point 3). My most interactive session was held in a standard classroom with regular seating.
2. The Equipment
It's the regular equipment: wireless presenter, collar mic, laptop plug-point, audio-input, and speakers. Testing them, and checking with the guest about them goes a long way in being ready. At a particular institute, I was asked to bring only the pen drive, with everything else kept ready by them. I was floored!
3. Filling the seats
Almost everywhere, institutes make it mandatory for students to attend the session, but limit the audience based on year of course. Rethinking both these practices can phenomenally increase the effectiveness of the session.
4. Preparing the audience
Circulating a short profile of the lecturer and a synopsis of the topic allows the audience to do their own research and pre-reading. This results in great Q&A after the topic.
5. Preparing the guest
At some institutes, the guest is made to sit in a separate room till the audience is seated. 3 key benefits from this:
- The institute faculty can chat with the guest.
- The guest gets time to calm his/her pre-speech jitters.
- The organising team to do any last-minute briefing about the audience or the time available.
6. The Introduction and pre-speech talk
Nothing works better than the prelude to establish the context of the speech, and the credentials of the speaker. Go with the assumption that both the topic and the speaker are unknown. Check examples from the transcripts of Public Lectures at the London School of Economics for some brilliant pre-speech talk. Oh, and it really helps to confirm how the speaker's name is pronounced.
7. Collect feedback formally
Because I collect feedback after all my sessions, I can say that feedback is, almost always, a mix of extremes. Collecting feedback informally runs the risk of getting only one end of the spectrum as your complete set.
Feel free to add your institute's best practices to the list.
(Photo credit: www.pexels.com)
About the Author:
Nirav Parekh has done his MBA in Marketing from KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies. His work experience of 12 years covers marketing research, brand strategy, and marketing communications. He has worked across industries like telecom, engine oil, chocolates, consumer electronics, and life insurance. He has also been a guest lecturer at 7 B-Schools on a variety of topics across research, marketing and advertising.