Welcome to our Speakers Corner!

You’ve been invited to participate in an Inside Education program…now what? We’ve created this page to give you the information you’ll need to make the most of this unique speaking experience. In addition to the information below, check out our About Us section to get a bit more context about who we are and what we do.

If you still have questions, please give us a call at 780-421-1497. We are very happy to provide tips, tricks, and insight into how to make the most out of your time with our teacher and student participants.

If you’d like to connect with teachers and the Inside Education community make sure you follow us on Twitter and ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Thank you so much for sharing your insight, expertise, and knowledge with our Inside Education community!

How do I tailor my presentation for an Inside Education event?

Above: A short, humourous TedTalk from Melissa Marshall on how to talk science to a non-academic audience.
Below: our tried and tested tips for speaker success! 

Make it personal.

Inside Education events reflect a ‘fun, professional’ philosophy. You will notice a informal atmosphere where everyone is eager to learn while getting to know you and the insights you will bring to the program.

  • Use anecdotes from your own experience and share your story.
  • Acknowledge your perspective. By recognizing where you’re coming from will help the audience understand the context of your presentation.

A water consultant started his presentation with a quick bio, making it clear that he would be emphasizing the science rather than the social, economic, or political facets of our relationship with water.

  • Consider how the information is relevant to your audience and how you hope they’ll use this new knowledge.

Make it interactive.

  • Get the audience involved as quickly as possible. Ask questions and encourage them to do the same.
  • Include dynamic elements – build in multiple choice questions, opportunities for quick table discussions, pauses to allow reflection on the content etc.

One speaker asked her audience to stand. She then asked a series of questions to gauge their level of knowledge. “Stand if you’ve heard of climate change. Stay standing if you can confidently explain the difference between greenhouse gas effect and climate change. Stay standing if you’re familiar with your province’s climate change policy. Stay standing if you could confidently explain climate change to your class.”

  • Create a theme to set the tone for your presentation: “Energy Efficiency Mythbusting”, or “Why High School Students Need Soil.” Allow that to guide the rest of your presentation.

Make it concrete.

Remember that this information is brand new to many of our participants so it’s important to explain concepts in relatable ways.

  • Give specific, hands-on examples and use props and audiovisuals whenever you can
  • Display or hand out some sample items as visuals
  • Try to shift abstract ideas into something concrete

A soft-ball sized pieced of coal is equivalent to 1kw-hour. See Energy Futures Everything you wanted to know about a kilowatt-hour but were afraid to ask episode.

  • Explain and interpret your graphs, charts, diagrams, and simplified images

A presenter was talking about in situ oil and referring to a slice of image of a horizontal drill. A student asked how they got the pipes to bend and it was only then we realized the image did not show scale.

  • Provide sources if you can, and define your industry acronyms.

Make it count.

Our programs are packed with multiple speakers and multiple perspectives.

  • Be clear. Your audience will appreciate statements like “I want you to remember these three things…”
  •  Leaving something tangible, like a pamphlet or even just your slide-deck, will magnify the effect of your visit and ultimately provide a better return on the time and energy you’ve invested in your presentation.
  • If you’re willing, be sure to share your contact information for keen students or teachers who want to be confident when they report back to their classrooms.

Make it fun!

  • Be sure to use age-appropriate materials.
  • Encourage participating by giving prizes for correct answers – stickers, buttons, pencils, pens, peanut-free candy works wonders!
  • Engage with the audience! See below for specific tips for specific audiences.

Ok, but what about "speed networking roundtables"?

Our speed networking roundtables are popular with our audiences. They are fun and interactive, but can feel a little hectic your first time! These short, fast-paced sessions are just enough to introduce yourself, your organization, and provide succinct info to your little audience! Here are a few tips, over and above what’s posted above:  

  1.  Bring something to Show & Tell! If there’s something you use in your job that you can bring and talk about, that is always a fantastic way to start the conversation and be memorable. Feel free to have an image slide-deck or other visual to accompany your 10-15 minute presentation. Past speakers have brought in maps, a basket of berries, a caribou tracking collar, large high-res images of fish, or a short video that animates a difficult concept.
  2. What is the most pertinent way your work is connected to the event topic (e.g if attending Navigate – how does your work connect to water literacy and why is it relevant to these students?)
  3. Focus your talk on one or two points. 10-15 minutes disappears quickly, and first-time roundtable speakers can be disappointed they didn’t get to talk about everything they wanted to. You don’t have to tell the same thing every time; feel free to emphasize a different topic with each new group!
  4. If you have business cards, some keen students may like the opportunity to continue the conversation!
  5. If preparing for a career-focused roundtable, consider prepping some answers to the following questions: What is the path to your career? What kind of education, training, certification, or experience would students need to get? What’s it like to be in your shoes? What are your favourite things about your job? What are your least favourite? Describe a “typical” day. Do you work outside or inside? Do you work alone or with others? What kind of hours or shifts do you work? What groups of people do you work with?

How do I get in touch with Inside Education after the program has started?

You can reach the main Inside Education office at 1-888-421-1497 and/or the cell phone number of your primary Inside Education contact.

How do I engage Inside Education audiences?

How do I speak to students?

Junior and Senior High Students

  • If you look out to a sea of folks on their phones, don’t worry! They might be actively engaging on the topic with others in the room through our social media hashtags, fact checking, looking up interesting books/articles/etc. you mention in your presentation, or checking Facebook. There’s no way to tell from their faces, so assume high engagement!
  • You may only get engagement from a few keen students; the rest will be unwilling to take a risk in answering/asking a question, or sharing their opinion. Individual “call and response” does not always work well, but you can create opportunities for physical feedback, e.g. “point to the left if you agree, point to the right if you disagree.”
  • Students are able to think critically, but still often require foundational information or clarification on concepts. You may be pleasantly surprised when a seemingly-unengaged student comes to you afterwards to tell you how great your presentation was!

How do I speak to teachers? 

  • Our teachers are often tasked with disseminating high-level science back to their students. For some, there will be clear connections to your content. For others, they’ll have a tougher time seeing a direct line to the general content in their classroom. If you can, try to show them how they might be able to speak at their students level about your topic. Have a few sound bites they can use to convey tough concepts.
  • Our teachers come from a variety of backgrounds. You may have specialized high school chemistry teachers, and you may have a collection of elementary school generalists. Try to keep your presentation a mix of high-level concepts and accessible information.

Upcoming Speaking Opportunities

Generate Youth Summit, March 9-12, 2017 (Kananaskis)

Alberta Boreal Careers Program – Youth Summit, April 19, 2017 (Lac La Biche)

Renewable Energy  Technology Teacher PD Program, May 11-13, 2017 (Southern Alberta)

Western Canadian Oilsands Teacher PD Program, June 1-3, 2017 (Fort McMurray & Area)

Forest Summer Institute PD Program, July 4-8, 2017  (Foothills region)