Top tips for presenting a masterclass

Top tips for presenting a masterclass

Whether you have a lot of experience of delivering presentations as part of your job, or are fairly new to presenting, the following tips aim to support and prepare you for presenting a Career Ready masterclass to a group of students.

No matter how experienced you are, the classroom is very different from the workplace and it’s important that you adapt your style accordingly. However, experience tells us that volunteers who deliver a masterclass find it a rewarding experience and often develop skills and confidence that they use in their own jobs.

Communicating with young people

Typical Career Ready students have potential but lack access to professional networks and role models. They may have limited experience of communicating with adults other than their parents / guardians and teachers and may be shy or nervous during the masterclass. You should not mistake this for rudeness.

It is important that you encourage participation and engagement – ask questions to check they’ve understood everything and invite them to ask you questions in return. Don’t take it personally if they are reluctant to ask or answer questions, and praise responses even if they aren’t correct. Students are nervous of making a mistake and are sensitive to recognition. 

Make it personal

One of the key reasons we ask employer volunteers to deliver the masterclasses is so students get the opportunity to hear directly from a business representative and hear a different perspective from their parents and teachers.

Start by introducing yourself and giving a bit of background about you and your career. Include real, concrete examples and anecdotes from your own work experiences to illustrate a point. Not only will this make your presentation more personal, it will also help to make you seem more real and break down any perceived barriers between you and them.

Make it interactive

Students no longer spend a whole class sitting at their desks listening to the teacher – they are used to participating in group and individual activities and contributing their views.

We have recommended a number of activities in each masterclass to help make the session interactive but it’s also important that you don’t lecture the students and vary the tone and pace of your presentation.

Use humour where appropriate

If you can include some humour in your presentation it will help students to feel relaxed and comfortable talking to you. 

However, young people can be more sensitive and bravado can hide a lack of self-confidence. They can also tend to worry about not being respected and that adults think they are stupid. Be careful making jokes at anyone’s expense.

Don’t assume prior knowledge

Remember what you were like at the age of 16 or when you were still in school. Students at this age have limited understanding of life outside school and college but will often be nervous about asking questions. 

Make sure you avoid using jargon and acronyms and check that students understand you. 

Challenging difficult behaviour

Students who have been selected for the Career Ready programme have committed to actively participating in all aspects of the programme. They will be briefed on appropriate dress code and behaviour before attending the masterclass and it is likely their Coordinator or another teacher will remain in the classroom throughout the session.

However, if you experience any difficult behaviour from any of the students, which you don’t feel able to address yourself, you should alert the teacher.