We all understand the value of having guest speakers come in to share their knowledge with your students, but there are often challenges we face when it comes to actually scheduling a guest speaker. It isn’t always easy to find qualified speakers, and when you do there are often scheduling challenges. I spent many years in a small school in a small town and it was a challenge to find guest speakers in our community and cost prohibitive to fly someone in. I’m sure many of you can relate to these challenges. I want to encourage you though, to not let these challenges stop you from bringing in guest speakers.
In today’s world of technology, it is possible to bring in amazing guest speakers through virtual means. Using services like Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts, you can video chat with anyone who has an internet connection and webcam/smartphone. These services are not difficult to set up and use, so don’t let the fact that it is technology scare you off. A virtual guest speaker can be facilitated just like a live guest speaker. Instead of standing in the classroom, you are using a computer and projecting them onto the screen or TV. You can even allow your students to ask questions just like a live class.
You might ask, where do I find these guest speakers? You can find them everywhere. Ask your distributors if they have any industry experts that would be willing to be a virtual guest speaker. When you go to hair shows and industry conferences, be on the lookout for individuals that would be willing to share their knowledge. Keep in mind that many of these speakers are professionals and may require a fee, but then again some of them may be willing to speak for 30 minutes to give back to the industry and support the future generation of professionals. Additionally, every educator in your school has a connection to someone that would make an amazing guest speaker for your students. Simply ask if they would be willing to spend 30 minutes to 1 hour speaking with your students. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
Who would you like to have as a virtual guest speaker in your school?
Lisha Barnes is a Cosmetology/Barber Instructor with over 25 years of experience. She started out in a small private school working in Admissions, Financial Aid, Education, and School Director. She was a Director of Education for a chain of Private Cosmetology schools. Currently she serves as the Academic Development Manager for Milady where she supports schools and educators around the nation with continuing education, curriculum development and product knowledge. Lisha has served as an Educator for Milady’s Career Institute; NACCAS Commission; Career Educators of America Committee Member; and has authored numerous writing projects for Milady. This industry experience allows her to see the industry from a variety of viewpoints, which helps in sharing information and ideas with educators all around the world.