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Guide to running a great Lightning Lesson
Guide to running a great Lightning Lesson

Run-of-show for your Lightning Lesson with frameworks and templates

Madeleine avatar
Written by Madeleine
Updated over a week ago

Run of show

Here's a slide deck template we recommend that you use. Here's a suggested run of show with more details on each section below:

  • 10 min before: prepare and get settled

  • 2 min: Intro & icebreaker question

  • 3 min: Quick story about a challenge you faced earlier in your career and how you solved it. We included several prompts in the slide deck to start your story.

  • 14 min: Tactical & concrete examples that get into the “how”

  • 1 min: Pitch your course

  • 10 min: Q&A (see strategies below)

0. Pre-lesson prep

Run through this prep checklist 10 minutes before your lesson.

1. Intro & icebreaker

Start each live session with high engagement - greet people and say hi. Ask a "no fail" question and direct participants to "Put it in the chat."

  • Where are you calling from?

  • Where are you calling from? Like the actual location, your kitchen, the park, your office?

  • If you could be a comic book superhero, who would you be?

  • What’s something on your desk that has a story? Show it to the camera.

  • What's your guilty pleasure snack?

  • What show are you binging right now?

  • What's your favorite city or country to visit?

2. Storytelling frameworks

In the beginning, hook your audience with a story. Here are prompts to use:

  • “Everyone in...[industry] thinks...[common belief]. But here’s what I’ve learned after years on the inside…”

  • “I used to believe...[common misconception]. Then I realized...”

  • “Behind the scenes at [company/industry], there’s one thing nobody talks about...”

  • “The biggest mistake I made in my career was...[describe mistake]. Here’s what I learned...”

  • “The moment I knew I had to change my approach to...[topic] was when...”

  • “I once lost a major client because...[mistake]. Here’s how I turned it around...”

  • “The unconventional advice that skyrocketed my...[career/business]

3. Get tactical

Have you ever taken a course or webinar and thought, “Well, that wasn’t worth my time. I already knew most of what they were teaching”? This is usually because the instructor gave generic advice without getting into "the how."

The best Lightning Lessons are tactical, actionable, concrete, and specific.

  • Tactical: "This isn't a generic idea I've heard a million times before"

  • Actionable: "I can put it into practice and apply it to my own work"

  • Concrete: "This can be observed and measured--not just theory"

  • Specific: "This is precise advice for a particular situation"

Examples are your secret weapon; examples give 10x more tactical information than what you can describe with words alone. Examples show students what “great” looks like. What can you show screenshots of?

  • DMs

  • Emails

  • Tweets

  • Calendar

  • Paid ads

  • Feedback

  • Strategy docs

  • Spreadsheets

  • Text messages

  • Internal memos

  • Before-and-after edits

  • Google Docs or Notion

Remember that your audience wants to learn ideas they can immediately put into practice and isn't generic fluff. Regularly ask yourself these questions below.

  • What does my audience want to learn to do?

  • Is it as direct as possible?

  • Could this be turned into a visual?

  • Could this be turned into an interactive experience?

  • Where might my audience be confused and how can I proactively address that

  • What are the best docs you’ve ever created?

  • What was the best email you’ve ever written?

  • What was a transformative moment and personal story you can share that will get students to see in a completely new way?

To learn more, we recommend these articles by Maven Co-founder, Wes Kao:

4. Pitch your course

Mention your course 2-3x (no more than 5 minutes in total):

  • Beginning: no slide, just quickly voiceover "By the way, I teach a course on this topic on Maven. We go much deeper in XYZ"

  • Before Q&A: show a slide with course dates and QR code (see template). You should talk about the projects, exercises, and what your alumni have achieved in their careers.

  • During Q&A: quickly voiceover "We actually get into this deeply in my course, and the short answer is..."

5. Q&A strategies

Keep at least 10 minutes for Q&A. Based on student feedback of Maven Lightning Lessons, Q&A is one of the most valuable part of a Lightning Lesson, so take the time to answer their questions with nuance and specificity. Here are 3 ways to facilitate Q&A:

1. Encourage students to “Put it in the chat” and then upvote with emojis 👍. We highly recommend this method. It makes the chat feel more alive, and it's a more natural way for students to ask questions.

2. If you have Zoom Business, enable Q&A in Zoom to collect questions. This will separate questions from regular chat. During the meeting, click "Q&A" and adjust your settings like this:

3. Ask your students to “Raise your hand in Zoom” so you can call on them. This makes your session more interactive and works well even with 500+ attendees.

Here are some in-session engagement strategies for an interactive lesson.

After the lesson

Your recording will be automatically emailed to students and posted on your Lightning Lesson page in 48 hours. You can also upload a video and send the recording sooner within Maven. Check out these additional guides:


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