Why Guest Lecturing Was One of the Best Experiences in my Life

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to guest lecture at my alma mater, Washington State University. I learned that …

Lecturing sucks. Conversations are better.

My guest lecture focused on how to read & analyze marketing data. These students had seen data before in the form of qualitative market research and statistics throughout their coursework, but most had never seen a data platform such as Google Analytics at work. 

To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure how they would react, especially as I presented this information via Google Hangouts and couldn’t physically be in the classroom.

And guess what?

They ate it up!

I held the lecture in a more casual, conversational manner to encourage each student to speak up, ask questions and challenge my authority. And they did just that throughout the course of the lecture and the ensuing in-class data analysis activity.

With that in mind, I wanted to share some of their astute questions they asked and insights they delivered, which included:

  • Which media channel is driving the most revenue? Why?
  • Why is [campaign x] producing revenue while the similar one next to it is not?
  • How come [campaign z] had the most site visits but didn’t generate any revenue?

Additionally, one of the students inadvertently brought up the value of brand advertising and how it influences other channels within the overall marketing funnel, a question I could never even conceive during my time in college!

So what did I personally walk away with after my first instructor experience?

Off the top of my head, I learned:

  • Chose an Anchor: One student in the front of the room became my anchor, meaning anytime I heard crickets or needed to spur the class into discussion I prodded him to get the conversation rolling.
  • Become a Student of Life: I never went to after-class events during college; never thought I had the time. But seeing these students reminded me that even though I’m not 19 years old anymore, it’s never too late to keep learning. Make time to continue the pursuit of education.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: I’m a big fan of ‘winging it’ through presentations, but boy am I glad that I at least practiced this lecture once (should have done so 4 or 5 times). No matter how ‘spontaneously awesome’ you think you are, practice will make you a better communicator.

What is your lecturing experience? Any tips I missed above?


  • Drey Day

    Congrats, Mike! What a great opportunity. Talk about your education coming full circle – presenting to students when we weren’t long ago sitting there. What course was it for?

    • http://www.mikekrass.com Mike Krass

      It was Petek’s Ad Club group of students. Super fun!

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