If as a chamber professional you’ve had to put on a presentation for high school students you know how difficult it can be, especially if it’s a forced field trip and not part of an entrepreneurial group like Junior Achievement. Here are a few tips that can help you make it through.
The idea for this post came from the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook, where a member asked:
We have a group of local high school students coming tomorrow to learn about the Chamber. We need to entertain them for about an hour. Does anyone have presentations or video suggestions geared towards high school students?
While young people of this age are able to understand the same concepts you would present to adults, it’s important to recognize a few things about them.
Young People Want to Be Involved
Their Learning has been Largely Interactive
From the cartoons they watched growing up, which pretended to “talk” to them and ask them questions, to the increase in hands-on museum displays, these teens are active learners. Do not talk to them. Involve them in the dialogue. Ask them their opinions, backgrounds, suggestions, etc. Getting them involved will keep their attention.
Sarcasm is Big
This age group loves humor and will stay more engaged if you use it in your presentation. Sarcasm goes a long way too, but be careful how you use it. A tweet that is a direct quote of yours can be misinterpreted without the ability to hear tone.
Give them a Project
If you have very little time to prepare anything interactive, break them into groups and have them plan a social media campaign for your chamber. Getting them thinking about social media for business is good for them and might give you some ideas for the future. Have them present their group’s suggestions in front of chamber staff or other students.
Explain What’s in it for Them
As teens most of us only think we know what we want to do. So instead of wasting time asking them to picture themselves in their career, mention the things they do want to hear about. Things that are relevant to their lives now. This could include scholarships or internships that you offer or how your chamber helps entrepreneurs and new businesses grow. A large percentage of today’s teens want to own a business, some even start before they enter college. This side of what you do could be very impressive to them.
In short, to be successful with teens just get them involved. Come to think of it, this shouldn’t be all that different from what you’re doing with member engagement.
Guest post by Christina Green
Image credit: Norma Davey