12 Best Public Speaking Activities to Improve Your Performance
Are you looking for some fun and effective ways to polish your public speaking skills? It’s better to practice before than to wing it at the end.
The fear of public speaking is common and well-documented worldwide. Not everyone is a natural speaker, but that doesn't mean you cannot overcome the fear and develop great public speaking skills.
In this fast-paced life, public speaking is a highly valued skill in any individual. If you want to be recognized as a confident person valued for your insight and approach to a problem, you might need to get good at public speaking.
Therefore, here’s a list of easy and effective activities that you can use to improve your public speaking.
12 Best Public Speaking Activities
You can remain unrecognized even when you have a good thought but don't know how to deliver those ideas. This is what affects your confidence and creative energies.
We researched and weighed out some common yet effective practices anyone can do to work on their public speaking skills.
Here are our top picks for the best public speaking activities and games that can help you improve your craft.
1. Start Conversions on Family Dinner Tables
They say; whenever you want a change, start from your home.
As silly as this reference may sound, it is not as bad an idea if you think about it. You can start by opening up to the people closest to you, especially if you are shy.
You can use any conversation starter if you have one lucky family gathering over a dinner table.
Start with any trending news and take turns giving your opinions over anything. This can help you figure out how to break the silence anywhere. This is a good activity to learn to address small gatherings.
This is literally called 'Table Topics'.
2. Create Bullet Points for Future Discussion
If you think you might get a chance to discuss something among friends, colleagues, or in class, you can create some points to help you in these situations.
You don’t need to set aside a specific time to do this. In fact, you can try to remember a fact or news when consuming any media or reading a book.
This can make you stand out among others and give you the confidence to share more, hence improving your public speaking.
3. Try Out Breathing Practices
Whenever you are about to talk to a group of people, the biggest hurdle is controlling your breathing and heart rate. You can opt for many breathing practices to get a hold of your nerves.
Firstly, you can start your day with a small yoga session targeting your breathing. You can get many effective regimens through YouTube yoga tutorials. These can help you overcome the rapid breathing and the stutter that comes with it.
Furthermore, take a deep breath when you step onto a podium. Hold it for a couple of seconds, then exhale slowly and gently through your nose before picking up the mic. There’s a great difference if you start your delivery without nerves.
4. Learn From the Pros
Have you ever seen any clips of the legendary speeches that some revolutionary political leader gave in the 70s or 80s?
If not, you can easily find hundreds of these on the internet. Study the speeches that are widely acclaimed and criticized as well. Prepare points and objectives and also study the public's reaction.
You can also look for TED talks or speeches at any international forum or convention.
Observe these videos with a critical point and single out important highlights that you think are the best or need to be changed.
Observe the orators and their body language. Pick up on those cues and practice them in your room or with your friends in class. Pinpoint what makes these people stand out from every other public speaker you know.
5. Practice 10-Min Filler Free Speech
Here is another small practice for a change.
Whenever you are addressing anyone, concentrate on the fillers in your speech.
Try to avoid or decrease them as much as you can. The fillers like 'uh,' 'um,' 'like,' "you know," and 'okay' make you sound less confident and unsure.
Practice by trying to avoid them in consecutive sentences and work your way. Talk to yourself in the mirror as practice.
If you use it once, say the same thing again and keep doing it till you say no filler word again. Practice this activity every day for ten minutes.
Related: How to Stop Using Filler Words in a Speech
6. Tell a Continuous Story
Building a narrative and conveying your thoughts through a story is a very effective way to engage your audience. Think of something useful and interesting, or pick a scenario.
Now picture yourself as a protagonist and present the situation as an event that can inspire someone else.
Surely, this is a very good approach to compel and motivate others while making yourself memorable.
7. Make a Commercial
Presenting something is the same as selling something. Whether you are selling a product, an idea, a story, or anything else, the way you sell is what matters.
If you watch commercials on TV, you will notice a pattern. They are always trying to create new and engaging ways to sell how their product can help you.
Anyone can adopt this strategy and can make any conversion or speech into a commercial. However, the only product you need to sell is your ideas and their importance.
8. Make a Fake Holiday Story
You can engage your audience by creating a fake holiday story - or a real one. This can help your audience relate to you and listen more attentively.
You can make up any story that strengthens your points and validates whatever idea you are pitching. You can customize your story with whatever scenario and character you deem necessary.
9. Connect the Nouns
Here is a fun game to try. This might be an interesting activity for you if you are hanging out with your friends sitting around a bonfire.
Make cards with random nouns on them. Shuffle them up, and ask someone to pick any two cards. You can also use a random noun generator app from the play store.
Now, they need to connect the two nouns by creating a story. This game can help you work on your imagination and react to a specific scenario. Moreover, this will help you create a false reality in any situation in any setting.
Great for improving your impromptu speeches.
10. Defend Your Favorite TV Shows and Create Alternative Endings
This might be a favorite for most people. Almost everyone has a favorite movie or a TV series, and almost everyone has strong opinions about them.
You can create a delegatory party where participants are given a time slot to state a fact about their favorite movie or TV series and justify it.
The next person can either state a new fact or counter-argue the previous one. Furthermore, you can also present an alternate ending to a movie or TV series and justify it.
Hence, this activity helps the participants plan an argument and justify their opinion effectively using the short time slots.
11. Mention Political Gaffes
Here is another fun activity. Suppose you are facing a situation where you are on trial or in a cross debate.
In that case, you want to lighten the space by using political gaffes as a psychological weapon over your opponent. This particular activity is practiced in parliaments all around the globe. It is a technique to undermine your opponent's confidence and take an edge over them.
You can practice this with your friends as well. Make a setting where everyone sits down in a circle facing each other. Start by making fun of some lame idea from anyone in the group.
Everyone gets a time slot where they can use any clever statement or methods of mimicry to entertain without hurting the sentiments of any involved personnel.
Moreover, you can even set a theme for this activity. But make sure it doesn't get out of hand by getting too personal.
12. Watch TED Talks
The best way to shape and sharpen your oratory skills is to find cues from any famous public speaker.
TEDx is a great platform to learn these. TEDx gives rising and potential public influencers opportunities to share their thoughts and approach on a reputable platform.
You won't always find the best public speakers here, but this is the good thing about it. You can take notes on the good ones and the bad ones.
Hence, you can aspire to be someone while learning to avoid what the noneffective speakers did. Especially if you are preparing for presentations and speeches as an ESL student, you can gather a lot of information, body posture, and delivery cues from famous TED talks.
You are meant to watch these TED talks critically and have an unbiased opinion about the speaker.
Furthermore, you can start practicing the highlights you created while saying or replacing the influencer's words.
If you are lucky enough ever to get a chance to ask questions in such conferences, you can surely ask questions and clear your doubts.
Whatever public speaking activities you think can make a difference, opt for them as a game and try to enjoy them.
Try to indulge more in conversations around any topic with anyone and express your concerns more often.
Go to public gatherings and try to take an interest in all topics. Try to relate to the topic, and then you'd have opinions to prove. This would help you create a conversation starter.
Moreover, try to debate with your siblings. This would make it much more fun, and you'll feel like a conqueror afterward.