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Acting and Improvisation Exercises

Acting and Improvisation Exercises
Public Speaking, Exercises, Communication Skills, Presentation Skills, Acting, Attention and Focus, Storytelling

Article Rating:::: 15 Ratings :::: Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Practicing improvisation exercises can greatly help with communication skills and help reduce fear of being on stage. In a controlled environment of a class, you can easily get delegates to practice telling stories, acting out roles and performing for a small audience. Such improvisation exercises are useful for presentation skills, reporting or performing in meetings. Actors routinely use these exercises to train themselves.

A few exercises are provided here so you can get ideas of what they are about and how to run them. Aim to match the improvisation exercises to your specific training needs and maximise learning.

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Think Music, Chess and Sports: Train Yourself to Train Others Better

Think Music, Chess and Sports: Train Yourself to Train Others Better
Public Speaking, Training Articles, Train the Trainer, Presentation Skills, Learning, Personal Development

Article Rating:::: 139 Ratings :::: Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Being a good trainer requires a set of skills. Like any other skill, you need to practice in order to get better at this skill. This is quite different from being good at the topic you are teaching. Unfortunately, many think that practice means conducting course after course and hopefully getting it right eventually. Sure enough, you may get a little bit better, but you won’t significantly improve your teaching skills unless you engage in what is known as “deliberate practice”. This term was popularised by the world-famous researcher on expertise, Anders Ericsson.

In the past couple of decades, numerous researchers have contributed to the concept of deliberate practice and the findings are quite interesting and educational, helping us to learn effectively and become an expert in anything.

A great book published in this area is called, “Talent is Overrated: What really separates world-class performers from everybody else” by Geoff Colvin. It has become a classic book in the field along with, “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell.

Colvin proposes three distinct models of deliberate practice. Each model is suitable for certain activities or skills. Sometimes mastering complex skills requires the use of all three models. They are quite useful in inspiring you to come up with new exercises or in identifying strategies to address weaknesses.

In this article, you will be introduced to these three models and will learn how to apply them to the training world.

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Energiser: Wake Them Up

Energiser: Wake Them Up
Exercises, Train the Trainer, Exercises for Kids, Presentation Skills, Large Group, Attention and Focus

Article Rating:::: 157 Ratings :::: Monday, July 4, 2016

It is just after lunch and you are about to teach a new theory to your delegates. Ideally you should not cover this after lunch but you have had no choice. You notice that delegates are falling sleep. Energy is low, concentration is gone and people are getting bored. What do you do? You need to energise them. Other than opening up the windows or calling for a break you can also use the energiser described here to awake the mind and the body. This exercise is particularly useful for younger delegates. For more senior delegates, you will need to make a judgment to see if this is a suitable activity.

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Teamwork Exercise: Broadcast News

Teamwork Exercise: Broadcast News
Leadership, Exercises, Team Building, Presentation Skills, Storytelling, Creative Writing

Article Rating:::: 1036 Ratings :::: Monday, July 20, 2015

This is an entertaining and educational activity designed to test a group of people on their creativity as well as teamwork. The task involves producing a video. However, the video production is only an excuse to see how a team goes about a common task where several distinct roles are involved. There is a strict deadline, limited resources and a sense of competition with other teams.

The activity can be used to explore many subjects on interpersonal skills such as leadership, resource management, conflict management, coordination, teamwork, reaching deadlines, accepting limited resources and a focused approach to producing results. It is also ideal for courses on public speaking and presentation skills.


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Public Speaking Exercises

Public Speaking Exercises
Exercises, Presentation Skills, Personal Impact, Storytelling

Article Rating:::: 176 Ratings :::: Monday, February 2, 2015

This is a series of exercises to practice public speaking and presentation skills. The key to mastering the art is practicing. The exercises here provide a template that you can adapt in various training courses. Consider using these exercises in courses such as:

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Public Speaking Exercise: Impromptu Story Telling

Public Speaking Exercise: Impromptu Story Telling
Public Speaking, Exercises, Presentation Skills, Personal Impact, Storytelling

Article Rating:::: 220 Ratings :::: Monday, April 22, 2013

This exercise allows delegates to practice speaking in public or in front of a group without the pressure associated with public speaking. The pace of the exercise is very fast and hence delegates do not have enough time to get scared or nervous about speaking in public. Instead, the exercise encourages them to focus entirely on the task which is an impromptu presentation based on a random number of concepts.

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Body Language Exercise: Observe People in Everyday Situations

Body Language Exercise: Observe People in Everyday Situations
Exercises, Communication Skills, Body Language, Presentation Skills, Personal Impact

Article Rating:::: 177 Ratings :::: Monday, January 7, 2013

Use this body language exercise at the beginning of a session before covering non-verbal communication. The aim is to find out how much delegates already know about this topic and effectively prepare them for what is followed. They can also learn from each other in the process. This activity will also help you understand which areas to focus on most as you go through the body language training.

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Brainstorming Exercise: Display Your Ideas

Brainstorming Exercise: Display Your Ideas
Exercises, Problem Solving, Presentation Skills, Large Group, Brainstorming, Illustration

Article Rating:::: 62 Ratings :::: Monday, November 26, 2012

In this brainstorming exercise delegates learn to come up with ideas separately and then together as a large group. The brainstorming technique helps those who are more comfortable in smaller groups to contribute while still taking advantage of large group creativity and brainstorming.

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If Your Training is Not Working, You are Not Doing This One Thing

If Your Training is Not Working, You are Not Doing This One Thing
Training Articles, Train the Trainer, Presentation Skills

Article Rating:::: 180 Ratings :::: Monday, September 3, 2012
In a Customer Service Skills course:

The trainer starts by explaining the principles of customer service. He gets excited and is carried away by explaining more. Delegates meanwhile are quietly listening, feeling like they are being lectured. Fifteen minutes later, the trainer seems to be still enjoying sharing his wisdom with the class. He is unstoppable. He is now excitedly explaining various techniques. Delegates have no choice but to simply listen, there is no interaction between the delegates and the trainer. Most delegates look bored and are not really absorbing the information. Many of them are looking around now, paying attention to what’s in the room, the decoration, other people’s cloth, etc. Gradually they all drift. Meanwhile the trainer is happy that this part is delivered so he can move on to the next bit…

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Public Speaking Exercise: How to Appear Confident by Adjusting Your Body Language

Public Speaking Exercise: How to Appear Confident by Adjusting Your Body Language
Public Speaking, Exercises, Body Language, Presentation Skills, Interview Skills

Article Rating:::: 117 Ratings :::: Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Many people find public speaking daunting. They get butterflies in stomach, feel nervous and sometimes simply refuse to give a public presentation when they can get away with it. It doesn’t have to be this way and a great way to overcome the lack of confidence is to adopt the behaviour artificially. 

Research shows that when you adopt a particular facial expression, such as smiling, you start to feel happy. In other words, the physical imitation of a smile can make you feel happy. The same applies to non-verbal gestures. If you stand straight, you are more likely to feel strong than if you slouch. If you are looking ahead while walking, you appear to me more energetic and determined than if you look at the ground. Using a similar approach, this exercise aims to boost people's confidence so they can present confidently to public.


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