I get conflicted opinions about guest speakers coming into class. Unless they made movies, music, or played professional sports, odds are I’m not interested. Regardless, your professor wants you to care a little but more than you typically would for them, because they feel your disdain for higher education reflects poorly on them. As a result of this, it’s essential to keep a few in depth questions on hand to bail you out for napping during their presentation.
“Just curious, how many drugs did you try in college?”
It’s important to get a feel for where professionals were at in their career when they were your age. You might need to clarify this, or the guest speaker might think you are veering off topic. Just ensure them that the question is not only relevant, but it’s what you want to know, and they should give you an answer.
“Who would win in a fight, a silverback gorilla or a black bear, and how often does this question come up professionally?”
This is something that I wish I could poll the entire population on. People have passionate answers to this. I can’t imagine that Fortune 500 companies aren’t asking this to every person who walks in the door.
“What year did World War II end?”
If they get it wrong, go back to sleep. They aren’t worth your attention.
“Are you actually passionate about this topic, or are you just doing it for money like everyone else?”
Follow up question: If you told your twenty-year-old self that you just lectured a group of college students about how much you love advertising, would your past self be excited? Just master the tone of this question so they don’t realize how much you are chastising their profession.
“If you could have dinner with Larry David or Taylor Swift, who would you pick?”
Everyone gives a boring answer to, “If you could have dinner with anybody dead or alive who would it be.” It’s typically a dead loved one, which is a bummer. This cuts to the chase, by forcing everyone into two boxes: smart people, and Taylor Swift fans.