The agony of trying to unsubscribe

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  • Business

Listening skills

ESL lesson plan about online marketing


James Veitch is one of the funniest TED speakers. In his speech “The agony of trying to unsubscribe” he delivers a hilarious story about marketing emails (and spam) and how to deal with them in an amusing way. Students will laugh out loud watching this 7-minute speech and then talk about newsletters and other forms of modern marketing.

B2 / Upper Intermediate60 minStandard LessonPrintable & Digital$6 Plan/ Free

This lesson focuses on online marketing in particular email marketing. But because of the funny character of the video and the universal character of the topic, it will be enjoyable also for people who don’t deal with marketing. As the TED talk itself is short, there is a listening comprehension task in which students have to answer a few questions about the content of the talk. Before you watch the video, students will discuss the various advantages and disadvantages of different forms of online marketing and decide how effective they are. The next step focuses on challenging vocabulary from the talk and apart from matching synonyms, students have to use new words in context too. The last part of the lesson is about a discussion on the topic of email marketing and its effectiveness.



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  1. lot of fun with my students!!!


  2. I love the video. Thanks for introducing me to this comedian. I changed it into a storytelling lesson.


    1. Nice! He’s definitely a good storyteller 🙂 Check his other famous TED Talk: . I think it’s even funnier!


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