Friday, April 29, 2011


How to Deliver a Good Lecture

When you deliver a lecture or speak to an audience there is an ethical aspect involved. Remember, any time a human being, or entity, intervenes in the life of another human being, or entity, directly or indirectly, an ethical situation arises. When you speak to someone, or try to teach, train or instruct someone, you are intervening at the intellectual level, trying to inform the person, or influence his way of thinking, and thus this has an ethical dimension. And what is the use if you are not able to get across to your audience effectively and thereby not be able to optimally achieve the objective of speaking to the audience. Read on what you must do to ensure maximum effectiveness while delivering a lecture or public speaking. 

Whenever I begin to deliver a lecture, before I start speaking, I tell myself this apocryphal story:

A renowned Management Guru entered a large lecture hall to deliver a lecture on Motivation to the employees of a large industrial organization.

To his horror he found that the large hall was empty except for a young man seated in the front row.

The Management Guru asked the solitary audience who he was.

“I am a Cook in the Industrial Canteen,” said the young man.

The Management Guru, pondering whether to speak or not, asked the Cook, “You are the only one here. Do you think I should speak or not? Tell me frankly, should I deliver my lecture?”

The Cook said to the Management Guru: “Respected Sir, I am a simple man and do not understand these things.  But, if I came into the Dining Hall and saw only one man sitting there, I would certainly give him food.”

The Management Guru took the Cook’s insightful answer to heart and with full gusto began to deliver his lecture.

He spoke passionately for over two hours delving in great detail on each and every aspect of the theory and practice of Motivation.

Immensely proud after his virtuoso performance, the Management Guru felt highly elated, on top of the world, and wanted his audience to confirm how fantastically illuminating and effective his lecture had been.

So the Management Guru pompously asked the Cook, “How did you like my lecture?” 

The Cook answered, “Respected Sir, I told you already that I am a simple man and do not understand these things very well.  However, if I came into the dining hall and found only one man sitting there, I would feed him, but I wouldn’t give him the entire food I had prepared in the kitchen.”

Well, this simple cook's wisdom is applicable in the context of "FOOD FOR THOUGHT" too, isn't it...? 

So, Dear Reader, the next time you speak, or conduct a training programme, remember this story...
And here are some tips on the four aspects of a good lecture:

The lecture is still the most frequently used method of instruction. Even if you are not a teacher, in your everyday work you may be constantly using the medium of speech to convey a message or instruction or for informal training or motivational purposes. How well you put across your ideas depends to a large extent on now well you have mastered the elements of good public speaking.

An important pre-requisite of a good lecture is that it must be carefully prepared to the extent that you have a firm mastery of the topic you are going to discuss and a clear conception in your mind of how you are going to present the subject.

A good lecture has four simple requirements:


The first characteristic of a good lecture is that it must have a message. The lecturer must have something to say and what the lecturer says must be worth saying and worth listening to. You must clearly bring out the importance of the topic and why the audience needs to hear you and unambiguously state your message so that the audience understands what you want to say.
You may have heard Aristotle’s dictum on rhetoric:
"Tell them what you are going to say, say it, and then tell them what you told them."
So, to get your message across, thus is what you must do:
Tell the audience what you are going to tell them
Tell them
Tell them what you have told them.


The second attribute of a good talk is naturalness. Remember, the audience wants to hear YOU so make it your own lecture, your very own talk – speak in your very own natural style, don’t try to copy someone else.


The third feature of an effective lecture is that it must be sincere. The audience must be convinced that you believe in what you say, so make sure you talk sincerely and clearly demonstrate that you believe in what you are saying. Remember, you cannot fake sincerity so the only way to succeed in giving an impression of sincerity is to be sincere. 
And suppose you do not believe in something or are not fully convinced about a topic. Well, why talk about something you do not believe in? As Teacher or speaker you must be true to your conscience and not live a lie and say something you do not believe in. 

Remember the saying of Mahatma Gandhi:

What you think, what you say, and what you do must be in harmony.

This must be evident to the audience.


Finally, last but not the least; a good lecture must radiate enthusiasm. An enthusiastic speaker is one who displays great eagerness to have his or her ideas understood, believed and put into practice. You should be passionate about what you are speaking about. If you want your audience to be enthusiastic about listening to you, radiate enthusiasm yourself while speaking.

So, in a nutshell, before you deliver your next lecture, keep these basic four principles in mind (message, naturalness, sincerity, enthusiasm) and you will deliver a great lecture – you can take my word for it.

All the Best – May you become an effective communicator and deliver excellent lectures.


Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures(2008) and is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

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1 comment:

Dr.manisha said...

really interesting .Would like to learn more from you ,vikram