Public Speaking Exercises

Public Speaking Exercises


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:

Exercise 1:

Find a famous speech. Look for one that is close to the style of the speech you will be delivering. Don’t choose a speech by Martin Luther King or Gandhi as a template when you want to give a speech at the annual meeting of your local sports club.

Use the text to practice delivery. Since you don’t have to worry about text, you are free to focus on the delivery alone and get it as perfect as possible. You can even record yourself and compare it with the original ideal delivery.

Exercise 2:

Most speeches start with an introduction of yourself. First impressions count a lot, so it pays to practice this introductory part more than other parts. You don’t want to lose your audience before you even get to start your main speech.

Write the introductory text and read it out over and over until you start to feel it has all the elements you need. Only then start practice delivering it from memory.

Exercise 3:

Divide a speech to three main parts:

  1. The opening
  2. The body
  3. The closing

Practice each part individually. Create three variations for each part and then practice delivering each version three times. Based on your delivery, select the best version and then practice delivering it an extra three times. Each time enhance the text and the delivery as you see fit. Do this for each of the three parts of the speech.

Exercise 4:

Search online to find some jokes. If you know some already, write them down. Next, practice telling these jokes. Good joke telling is all about timing and sequencing along with delivering the punchline in a clear way. A bad joke is one where you finish telling the joke and the audience still expects you to continue; i.e. they didn’t get it. It is not good if you tell an elaborate story for three minutes and when it gets to punchline you tell it so quickly and unclearly that people don’t understand what you said. They may feel they have to ask the person sitting next to them to repeat what was just said; the joke is wasted. You can avoid all of this by simply practicing the delivery of your jokes.

Exercise 5:

Search online for some inspiring quotes. Insert these quotes in a given motivational speech. Practice delivering the speech along with the quotes by reading directly from your written text. Next, practice memorising it so you can deliver the entire speech, including the quotes with exact wording. Quoting from memory is usually very impressive as it shows you have practiced what you are saying and so what you are saying is carefully worked out. It is therefore more likely that you would be saying something useful which makes people listen more attentively.

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