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Teaching Toolkit

Delivering a Lecture

Chalk and talk is a centuries old approach to lecturing where a ‘master’ read important passages from a text and expounded their interpretation (Swanson and Torraco, 1995).  Lecturers are now expected to be more dynamic, to encourage active learning and to engage students critically and quizzically rather than simply delivering monologues prompted by slides.

The key to an effective lecture is establishing a rapport and connection with your audience. The tabs below offer some key advice in this area.  Inevitably one must be aware of themselves, the environment, the learners and even the technology, as issues will always materialise.

Connecting with the Audience

  • Ensure opening captures the audiences interest and attention
  • Engage students
  • Phrase and pause [Speak deliberately, construct your dialogue and allow time for your audience to digest the content and appreciate its flow]
  • Talk to individuals
  • Get agreement [Look to the audience for silent cuesto ensure they are following your dialogue]
  • Provide activities
  • Encourage students to ask questions
  • Use studentsnames as often as possible 


  • Speak clearly
  • Don't rush or talk deliberately slowly
  • Use deliberate pauses at key points
  • Change the tone of delivery
  • Use hand movements to emphasise points
  • Exhibit enthusiasm about the topic
  • Project your voice or use a microphone if necessary
  • Use a variety of media, and dont be afraid to turn it offonce in a while!

Non-Verbal Cues

  • Establish eye contact
  • Smile, be calm and be engaging
  • Move around and interact rather than simply reading from notes
  • Be confident in your delivery and interaction 
  • Respond to studentsreactions, and adjust and adapt accordingly
  • Keep an eye on the audience's body language

Common Issues

Take a moment to appraise these common issues: what to be aware of and to avoid where possible, as well as to introduce some solutions for creating an effective lecture.

  • Standing in a position where you obscure the screen: 
    • Move away from the podium, use a mic, engage the audience.
  • Getting lost in an overhead: 
    • Ensure there is a handout (online or paper) so that the learners may follow.
  • Technical jargon, unexplained: 
    • Provide a glossary, references, or be certain to explain the terminology.
  • The use of verbal fillers (such as ‘um’, ‘er’, or ‘you know’): 
    • Relax and follow your session objectives; pause and create room to breathe!
  • Overuse of PowerPoint: 
    • Consider if you could use something else; a video, an image, a paper or the Socratic practice, for example.
  • Reading from slides verbatim, or saying too much too quickly: 
    • Design slides as guides (use the note section if there is additional content) and disseminate information verbally.
  • Too much didactic presentation and not enough time for discussion: 
    • Focus on the core message of the lecture but ensure opportunity for activities such as question and answer sessions, or peer discussions.
  • Gaudy colour schemes, distracting sounds or visuals in slides: 
    • Make your slides easy to read for all and ensure Universal Design for Learning.


  • Swanson, R. A., & Torraco, R. J. (1995). The history of technical training. The ASTD technical and skills training handbook, 1-47.