Highly Effective Public Speaking Activities
Practicing public speaking activities from an early age is a good habit as it's a very useful skill to have regardless of what field of work you choose. Spontaneous speaking comes naturally to some people, but they would still require good training & practice to be effective public speakers.
Depending on the age group there are various public speaking activities that can help you build this skill. Listed below are some effective activities to help you advance your public speaking abilities.
Public Speaking Activities for Kids
Many schools around the world have starting including public speaking activities for kids in early grades. When training juniors the primary focus needs to be around making them speak without restraint. As the kids gain confidence through practice, they then need to be trained on presentation style and other advanced aspects for public speaking.
1: Simple and Exciting Speeches
In this activity the school teacher or the trainer asks the kids to gather in sharing circle and then announces a topic. About 5 minutes are given to think and then each kid stands-up and talks on the topic for a minute or two.
An important thing to keep in mind here is to choose topics that generally excite the kids. To start with, choose simple topics like describing what fun thing each kid did during the weekend or describing a favorite cartoon character.
Advance the training as the kids progress through the years by throwing open topics like talking about a role-model (favorite sport-person, celebrity, etc.) or talking about a place (restaurant, garden, zoo, etc).
To further advance the public speaking skills, include topics like debating on the next best field trip, socio-economic topics and current affairs that involve preparing short reports though independent research. At this level give the kids a couple of days or more to prepare.
2: Clarify Speech with Tongue Twisters
One of the most common problems with kids is mumbling - that is unclear pronunciation of certain words or syllabi. This often leads to tripping of words while doing a public speaking activity. To minimize this problem ask the kids to practice tongue twisters.
Reciting tongue twisters is a fun activity and kids can enjoy this to a great extent. Tongue twisters help strengthen the tongue, lips and facial muscles which are important muscle-sets responsible for correct speech articulation.
A good way to practice this is to read out the phrases loudly and slowly at first, and then with practice ask the kids to gradually increase their recitation speed. Here is a big list of tongue twisters that you can use to train the kids.
Public Speaking Activities for High School Students
Older kids and teenagers who have learned the fundamentals of public speaking need to focus on aspects like storytelling, using natural humor, use of eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and body movements to advance their skills. Below are few public speaking activities specially designed for high school student to advance their public speaking skills.
1: Interviewing and Reporting
This is a commonly used activity in the corporate world to develop and build interactions between colleagues. The basic idea here is to ask the participants to interview each other and then have each of them to do speaking activity to report their findings.
Start by pairing the participants randomly and then give them about 15-20 min. to interview each other. Before the interviewing process starts give the participants head start guidance depending on the group's familiarity with each other. If the participants are not familiar with each other the interview can have general question like demographic information, personal likes and dislikes, job related, favorite vacations spots, etc.
If the participants are well acquainted with each other then the interviews can be a little more in depth and specific about the person. The interviewing questions in this case can be personal and probing in nature.
This activity is a great way to start some interesting discussions and along the way this public speaking activity can result into an effective training exercise.
Public Speaking Activities for Grown-ups
For all others to enhance public speaking and presentation skills you need to practice more. You need to review performance through feedback and get some expert coaching if possible. Repeat this process multiple times to keep advancing your skill.
1: Learn from Inspiration and Famous Speeches
You can learn a lot from famous speakers and their inspirations speeches. Having a role model can also help to a great extent. There are numerous audios and videos of compelling public speeches given by famous speakers available on the internet. Hear them, see them and learn from them.
For audio, video and text speeches check out Famous Women Speeches.
Secrets of the Presentation King - Steve Jobs
The key here is to build speaking and presentation skills through a continuous and incremental practice approach. Remember there is no substitute for practice when it comes to advancing your public speaking skills.