Language Arts Classroom

Public Speaking Unit

A public speaking unit and public speaking activities can help you meet speaking standards. Speech units and speech classes can be engaging for secondary students.

Looking for a public speaking bundle ? I can provide you with an overall picture of how to teach public speaking. 

EDIT: This blog post about a public speaking curriculum has turned into a monster post! It is easily three times as long as my normal blog posts. That’s ok because I know how intimidated I was when I taught speech the first time. All of the lessons and activities mentioned below are in my Public Speaking Bundle . BUT?! I think you could still use these ideas as a springboard into speech if you aren’t looking to buy a bundle. 

How to teach public speaking? Download these public speaking lesson plans PDF for implementation into your public speaking unit. Teaching public speaking will engage secondary ELA students. If you're looking for how to teach public speaking, follow this outline.

I get lots of emails. Most emails pertain to grammar. The second most emails? Public speaking. Teaching public speaking is challenging. 

I have taught public speaking; I teach in Illinois and hold a teaching endorsement in speech. Additionally, I have coached a speech team and substitute-taught public speaking. I understand the challenges and rewards. 

Students have ambivalent feelings about public speaking. They understand the power of speeches, but they are nervous as can be. Our goal as teachers is to harness that range of feelings and get students speaking comfortably in front of crowds. That is my overarching goal as I organize and create these activities.

A few notes about this blog post:

  • This public speaking outline took me years to develop, and I still add pieces every semester that I teach. The order and the activities have reasons for placement, and I’ll explain those as we continue. For your needs and students, you may wish to rearrange these procedures. Please! Personalize as necessary! I purposefully left room for teacher personalization.
  • ALL of these activities are in my Public Speaking Bundle —BUT!—if you aren’t looking to purchase anything, I hope you can still use this outline to get started, to know what to expect with a public speaking course.
  • When I mention a “Discussion Starter,” I am referencing an activity in the bundle. The topic is a recurring question students have, so you should be aware that students will need that information.
  • The “weeks” are general guidelines. Don’t stress if you finish early or run a day over—I do too. Flexibility and compassion help nervous students.
  • Please, please feel free to contact me. I will happily answer any question about public speaking. It may be the most difficult class I’ve ever taught, but it certainly is rewarding.

My biggest belief with teaching public speaking: students need time to practice their speeches while providing structure and diverse speaking opportunities. We spend days practicing our speeches alone, with peers, and with me. Professional speakers practice intensely, and students should see that practice prepares them. Teaching public speaking requires flexibility and pep talks.

For a public speaking unit, activities should help build a supportive community. Teaching public speaking lesson plan included.

Week One: Introduction.

How to teach public speaking? Connect with your students and their parents. We complete introductory speech activities . (Download for free. ) Part of teaching public speaking should be building a community to set young public speakers at ease. Giving a speech in front of others can be nerve-racking, and I have never regretted spending time discussing communication and the multiple factors of public speaking with students. General conversations and fun activities help build a supportive community; you really will be setting the room for success.

Discussion Starter: “In the Beginning”

I email parents/post to the classroom website the note for parents about public speaking. (Note in bundle.)

I cover the role of audience members with students (worksheet in bundle). When I give students this expectation, it helps because they know they have a role in class even when they are not speaking.

We read an overview of giving a killer presentation . This takes an entire class period; we discuss how powerful speaking is.

I define the differences between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication. We write about how our intrapersonal communication influences our interpersonal communication.

Public speaking lesson plans should engage high school students. A speech unit often works for middle school or high school.

Week Two: Baby Steps.

Audience Analysis. Who is your target audience? For every speech, students must recognize their audience. We complete the Audience Analysis activity which normally takes two class periods.

Write a radio commercial . Students must realize that their audience cannot read the message; they can only hear and see. I practice “hear” first with a thirty-second speech. Students write and deliver a radio commercial.

This helps because students understand that public speaking holds power—in fact, that is probably why they are nervous about speaking to an audience! I want to harness that excitement and power but not scare students. With the radio commercial, students can “ease into” public speaking. It is quick, short presentation, but it allows me to outline my expectations for speeches.

The radio commercial also allows students to focus on verbal communication without focusing on hand gestures, positioning, etc.

Teaching narrative speeches as part of a public speaking unit. Teaching speech in high school can be part of many courses.

Weeks Three – Four: Narratives: writing and presentations.

Teaching public speaking is a personal endeavor because students will share personal information. Narrative speeches are a great way to build relationships with students.

Discussion Starter: “Where do I stand during my speech?”

I choose a narrative topic for students. I have done numerous, so I have plenty of samples and instructions .

Goal setting sheets help student, and I devote time explaining the process and reasons for planning goals in life. I want them to set goals so that the information is important to them, so they are invested in the process. Setting goals also allows me to differentiate without students asking about their classmates’ plans. After the narrative speech, students create their first goal sheet.

Students deliver a speech without researching and citing sources. The narrative is about them, so they can write and deliver it rather quickly. This gets students in front of an audience without immense pressures.

Informative speeches work well in a public speaking unit. A speech unit will include unbiased tone lessons.

Week Five:   Informative : research and writing.

For the first researched speech, I have students complete a biography. I do this because they are so easy to organize—students use a timeline of a person’s life. When I question how to teach public speaking, I believe starting students with confidence pays off later.

Additionally, with researching and citing sources, students can become overwhelmed. When they start with a biography, they do not yet have to worry about organizing information. We use the brainstorming sheet as we research these speeches.

Discussion Starters:

  • “How do I research my speech?”
  • “Citing sources”
  • “Outlining your speech”

We research and write the speech outlines. During this week, w e practice extensively. Students have completed several smaller speeches at this point, but this speech is different since students research the topics and cite sources. My sample speech is about Kate Chopin. Showing students this speech allows for me to demonstrate organization while not stealing a potential topic. Most students won’t write about Chopin!

Class discussions are an important part of any public speaking course. A public speaking lesson plans PDF is included.

Weeks Six – Seven: Practice, prep, and planning . Presentations.

This week, students will make a visual aid, decide on their goals, and practice their biographical speeches. I often have students work with peers and provide feedback. I rotate around the room these days. Students often put too much information on their visual aids, and this is a correction I work with them.

To differentiate, students choose their own goals. A goal can be to speak loudly, to minimize “um,” or to move hands purposefully. When I grade, I keep each student’s goal sheet by me and watch if they have improved on what their focus was.

Students often want to write their speech and deliver it the next day. To prevent this, I make the outline due a week before we start speeches. Students get points for having their outline done, which they appreciate. This forces them to practice.

I cannot stress enough that students will need lots of prompting and encouragement to practice. Students sometimes tell me that they perform better if they don’t practice. This is not true! Rarely have I given a class too much time to practice and had them bored. Students can always perfect their speeches.

We have many discussions and classroom conversations. Our worksheets start reflection and provide talking points.

  • “When Does My Speech Begin?”
  • “Using a Visual Aid”

How to teach public speaking? Teaching public speaking lesson plan free download.

Presentations take about a week (of course, this depends on the size of your class). I encourage proper audience behavior. Students should be engaged and check statements from presenters. Part of a speech class is learning to be a good audience member.

I record students as they speak. As we finish presentations, students watch their presentations and reflect. They write what they should improve, how to improve—taking their goals into account. We wrap up by having a class discussion about concerns and strengths. Students can become overwhelmed or unmotivated, so I always acknowledge the difficulty of giving speeches and how they are succeeding in certain areas.

Argumentative speeches for Monroe's Motivated Sequence work well in public speaking units. Teaching public speaking units require multiple approaches.

Weeks Eight – Eleven: Argumentative research and writing.

At the start of this process, students are still watching and reflecting on their previous speeches. Students do this alone, so the rest of the class is often researching and outlining their new speeches.

We repeat the informative layout, but we cover more information as a persuasive/argumentative speech. To me, this is the type of speech students will most often deliver in life. It’s important for them to take it seriously and do well. I don’t have this as the final large speech because when I did that, winter break or the end of the school year (whenever the semester ended) took away from serious speech practice.

I add another week into this speech because I typically increase the time requirement. Students need more practice as this speech is a new format and typically longer.

Decide ahead of time what format you want students to use. I typically use Monroe’s Motivated Sequence for persuasive speeches.

Two days are spent completing the Ethos/ Pathos/ Logos Activity .

Discussion Starter: “Diving deeper with your topic”

Students are familiar with the creation process, so the speech creation and practice process normally is better.

Practice impromptu speeches in your public speaking class. A speech unit will organize the process.

Week Twelve: Impromptu , narrative.

Students have worked hard so far, and I give them a slight break from preparation while teaching them valuable skills: thinking, organizing, and speaking quickly. Plus, students often have habits that need broken: fillers (um, yeah, so) or unnecessary hand gestures. These short and relaxed impromptu topics require students to speak, but at the same time, they can focus less on the content and more on what they should improve.

We also study a famous speech by Susan B. Anthony . These activities are important, but they also give students a rest.

Elevate student rhetoric with public speaking activities as part of a teaching public speaking lesson plan.

Weeks Thirteen – Fifteen:  Informative , non-biography.

Returning to an informative speech is difficult for students, and I do this on purpose. Students must understand the different expectations of speeches. They will try to persuade during this speech, and that is something of which they must be aware. Part of teaching public speaking is challenging students in new ways.

Informative speech topics can include different types of technology, careers in a certain field, or roles of government branches. I have a sample informative speech included in my speech unit. The speech is on modernism, and I stress to students that they should not border on persuading their audience.

  • “Adding emphasis in your speech”
  • “Elevating your rhetoric”

We repeat the speech preparation format that the other speeches followed. I also show a presentation about figurative language and show students speeches with samples of the figurative language. Then, students brainstorm figurative language to put in their own speeches.

Public speaking courses require a variety of teaching public speaking lesson plan.

Weeks Sixteen – Seventeen: Impromptu/Argumentative, how-to .

(Again, you can download these public speaking lesson plans PDF in my library. The impromptu activity is included.)

We practice persuasive speeches again, only this time in impromptu format. Students need to present their point of view logically and persuasively. Many “speeches” will be in front of a college professor or boss when called on to present their case for or against something.

I have students create the topics which normally include ideas like, “sell me this pen” or “explain why your work schedule should change.”

Finally, if I have a large class, students might complete the impromptu speeches the entire week. If I need another speech topic, we complete the other how-to speech we did not do earlier. (I have two how-to speeches included, one for food and one for non-food.)

If you are looking for how to teach speech, check out these public speaking lesson plans. Add these high school public speaking lesson plans to your speech class. Teaching public speaking can be difficult but with this free public speaking lesson plans PDF, you'll have interactive speech activities. Speech lessons should provide practice & interaction for middle school speech & high school speech classes. A speech unit should contain scaffolded public speaking activities & speech lesson plans.

Week Eighteen: When I taught seniors, this was the most exciting time for my speech class. Students wrote a graduation speech, and administrators judged who would give the speech at graduation. (Students not in my class could participate too.) It was an authentic audience, it was meaningful, it had everything for the end of a public speaking course.

I do not give students a list of rules for their graduation speeches; I make students develop them. This is more meaningful because it shows me if they understand what it takes to create and deliver a great speech, if they understand that not all speeches are the same, and if they can take the initiative in delivering a speech. I use the rubric that is included in the bundle.

Sometimes, schools require that each class have a final exam. The public speaking bundle has a test, which I give if required. Other times, I use the graduation speech as the culminating activity. Then, we complete a final evaluation sheet so that we can close the class.

When I began teaching, I had fifty-year-old books that my students hated. (I didn’t love them.) I had my speaking experiences, and not much else. Teaching public speaking takes dedication and effort, but you can succeed. My hope is that this outline of a public speaking curriculum saves another teacher stress and pain.

I developed this order, these processes after mistakes, reflection, and more reflection. I hope this public speaking unit helps other teachers.

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Teaching public speaking requires a balancing act of public speaking activities, public speaking lesson plans PDF, and practice with students.

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Advanced Public Speaking

(6 reviews)

public speaking activities pdf

Lynn Meade, University of Arkansas

Copyright Year: 2021

Publisher: University of Arkansas

Language: English

Formats Available

Conditions of use.


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Reviewed by Desire Baloubi, Full Professor, Norfolk State University on 11/14/23

Advanced Public Speaking has comprehensive content in the sense that it covers all imaginable aspects and areas of public speaking. The book includes definitions, steps, processes, ethics, and a myriad of practical examples of speech types from... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less

Advanced Public Speaking has comprehensive content in the sense that it covers all imaginable aspects and areas of public speaking. The book includes definitions, steps, processes, ethics, and a myriad of practical examples of speech types from diverse perspectives. It consists of 40 chapters written in an affable tone of counselling to students, teachers, or anyone willing to learn public speaking skills for any specific purpose. The text exposes potential learners to more practical strategies than theories.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

The writer's research approach speaks volumes of the accuracy and credibility of the content. The author has collected data from multiple sources, i.e., public speaking practitioners, and presents the findings to end-users. Each chapter begins with an illustrating image, a quote, and concludes with a list of references. The amount and quality of the sources make the content of each chapter very credible.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 5

From the onset, the preface or introduction, "Making the World a Better Place One Speech at a Time," sets the stage and tone of relevance. In fact, we are witnessing a new world order in which speeches can make a difference, for individuals fighting for civil rights, or for peoples struggling for self-determination and sovereignty. Confronted with increasing challenges of preventing wars, making and keeping peace, the Secretary-Generals of the United Nations have made more or less similar speeches to celebrate, inform, and persuade nations of this global organization. The needs to write and verbalize such speeches are still current and, therefore, relevant. This textbook is here to stay and is adaptable, as the author rightly claims. In support of that view, one may refer to the content of Chapter 39, among other sections of the book. Chapter 39. The Science of Persuasion: A Little Theory Goes a Long Way (As Desmond Tutu claims, “Don’t raise your voice, improve your argument.” Such a statement will always be true of persuasion. This chapter discusses “Elaboration Likelihood Model;” “Judgmental Heuristics;” “Authority;” “Liking;” “Commitment Consistency;” “Social Proof;” “Scarcity” as a powerful tool; “Reciprocity;” “Unity;” “Social Judgment Theory;” and “Ethics in Persuasion.” “In summary, if you provide people information and attempt to persuade them in small increments regardless of their prior beliefs, they can change their political attitude and that change will stick.” All the quotes above testify to the relevant and perennial nature of the textbook content. Technology may continue to change, but the fundamentals of Public Speaking--described in this book--will remain the same.

Clarity rating: 5

The book's clarity manifests itself through the author's straightforward use of language, stylistic choices, and the organization of ideas in an orderly manner, just the way it is recommended for any speech, written or oral. Each chapter is divided into short sections so as to make scanning for specific information easy to do. One would readily concur that the book is "Easy to Navigate." Clarity also transpires from the writer's tone that is most likely to make every student or reader feel comfortable. In sum, the author's language is as much accessible as the book itself is to all students.

Consistency rating: 5

The book's consistency is indisputable from multiple standpoints. First, the structure or internal organization of the content ideas. Each chapter has a title, an illustrating image, a quote from a notorious source, and short sections of clearly developed points that show more than they tell. Then each chapter ends with links to videos and a list of references for readers to doublecheck in-text citations or to read for further understanding. Second, the approach or process of presenting old and new information consistently matches or exemplifies the schematic model of each professional speechwriting or oral presentation. In other words, as the author puts it, the book is "written the same way you expect an effective speech to be written or presented." It is a matter of being cognizant of that reality and paying attention to it. Third, the book embodies diversity. It consistently proposes speeches from "all kinds of voices, from all kinds of places and opinions." It offers a broad range of examples from which to select withing a single chapter or across the entire textbook.

Modularity rating: 5

The book's modularity is easy to notice. Unlike most of the textbooks I have used in the last 20+ years of teaching Public Speaking, Advanced Public Speaking consists of 39 chapters and a fortieth chapter for teachers. The reason for this is because the author intentionally divides the text into short sections written in such a way that each is self-contained. The book does not read like a dense essay, a complex piece of fiction, a lengthy detective novel, or a kind of classical drama.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

Here again, one may refer to what the author calls "Intentional Design." The flow here in this book simulates the same process one uses in information sharing, advising, or counselling. From the initial chapter to the last, the author defines concepts to reckon with while reading the following parts of the book. The book discusses the essential elements of communication The ingredients of an effective speech are demonstrated with examples in the form of how-to. Then, the author touches on speech anxiety or apprehension and how to overcome it. The speech making process, just like writing as a process, is shown with special emphasis on delivery, delivery methods, including eye contact and voice projection. To facilitate and increase audience understanding, the author explains presentation aids for speech and how to design and use them. The book moves on to showing different speech types: ceremonial, informative and persuasive. Chapters 36 through 39 offer some considerations for speeches, with examples of dos and don'ts in addition to a little bit of theory on rhetorical history, fallacies, and the science of persuasion. The final part is about additional resources and teaching tips or classroom activities.

Interface rating: 5

Unlike many textbooks that would include large pictures, multiple graphic designs, and confusing charts and tables, Advanced Public Speaking is free of "significant interface issues." It does not contain any features that may distract or confuse the reader.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

The text contains no grammatical errors. It is written in a conversational tone a teacher may use during a one-on-one advisement session with a student. Examples: 1. "Yes, you want to identify with an audience and help them feel something, but you also need facts in your speech." 2. "Make sure you chose to talk about facts that match the audience." (Chapter 26). 3. "I want to dive into some of the theories and models of persuasion to help you understand how people think." (Chapter 39). 4. "Think of the setting as a basket to hold your story. If you start with the basket, the audience has a place to hold all the other details you give them." (Chapter 6).

Cultural Relevance rating: 4

Overall, the text remains culturally neutral and presents information with no consideration of race, ethnicity, religion, or place of origin. However, the images it displays are not racially inclusive until it starts discussing cultural differences to help understand feedback, especially when quoting from the book The Culture Map.

Advanced Public Speaking is advanced indeed! It is by far the best Public Speaking book I have ever considered adopting for classroom teaching and for personal use on daily. Moving forward, I will be recommending this book as one of the best companions for students and teachers alike.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Briggs, Instructor, Tidewater Community College on 2/26/23

The text covers all of the typical topics of a public speaking course. The depth of information for each topic seems appropriate, I do not think students would find it overwhelming. The size of the text seems to be on par with most publisher... read more

The text covers all of the typical topics of a public speaking course. The depth of information for each topic seems appropriate, I do not think students would find it overwhelming. The size of the text seems to be on par with most publisher textbooks, maybe slightly longer. The sections of the text are divided up into briefer sections that would likely make it easier for a student to manage.

I veered between 4/5, and decided to go with 5. I do think the content is accurate and well researched, and the author uses information from a wide variety of perspectives as well. In the examples chosen, I did see hints of political bias, but nothing overt.

The text uses examples from recent events, as well as people that students would likely be familiar with. The standard course content would not become outdated, and the examples and references used could easily be updated and changed without requiring the text to be completely reworked.

The language used is very approachable, and the tone inviting. It comes across as conversational, with a practical approach that would make it easy for students to relate the concepts and ideas to their own experiences. While specific terms are used, they are clearly explained.

The format and flow of the book is consistent. As this is a skill based text, working to build the skill of public speaking, it is presented in a way that provides structure to the process of creating the speech. The basics of speech creation are covered first, and then the way to tailor a speech to specific situations and contexts. Within each part of the process, many subjects are covered. The approach throughout the book is consistent throughout the wide variety of content being shared.

Each chapter/section within each part of the writing process is brief, and it would be easy to pick and choose the content that you wanted to include, as well as shift the order in which topics are covered. It seems like it would be very easy for an instructor to customize this to their specific course/approach.

The book is well organized. It is divided into 5 parts, 1)Writing a Speech, 2) Presenting a Speech, 3) Presentation Aids for Speech 4) Speeches 5) Considerations. This is a logical flow of information, and the chapters/sections within each part are also well organized. Each part varies in terms of the amount of content, but each chapter/section is short and it would be easy for an instructor to decide what they wish to include as a part of their course.

Interface rating: 4

I downloaded the book as a digital pdf, as well as sent it to my Kindle as an epub. The other two options for format were print pdf, and mobi. Throughout the book it suggests that you watch video clips or media, however in the digital pdf, there are no links to the media. The link, if you copy and paste it, actually just brings you back to the website to access the book. In the pdf, the images/text are well balanced, and the formatting stayed consistent. The epub for Kindle was also formatted well and easy to navigate. The only issue is not being able to click the link to access the video examples/suggestions.

Grammatical Errors rating: 4

Overall, the grammar/spelling/punctuation of the book is great. I am giving it a 4, because I did see a few minor errors throughout the text. They are very minor and do not interrupt the flow of the material. For example, there is a sentence about what an audience needs that says 'They need not be bored', which should read, 'They need to not be bored'.

Cultural Relevance rating: 5

I did not see any content that would be considered culturally insensitive or offensive. The author took the time to provide a wide variety of examples, from many different viewpoints and perspectives.

This book seems to be a very thorough, well written text with a modern voice and relatable approach. I like that the chapters/sections within each part are brief, although it makes the number of chapters/sections seem quite high. Also, on the home page where you can review the contents of the book, it identifies the 5 parts, plus additional resources. In the table of contents on the home page, classroom activities and additional resources shows sections 40-62. In the digital pdf, as well as in the epub on my kindle, it only shows section 40 and none of the others. They just need to be fixed to be consistent with each other.

Reviewed by Ron St John, Assistant Professor of Speech, University of Hawaii Maui College on 12/12/22

This content of the text includes comprehensive information for all areas and ideas of public speaking that would help anyone succeed in a Speech course and public speaking situations in life. There is no index, however, there is a robust search... read more

This content of the text includes comprehensive information for all areas and ideas of public speaking that would help anyone succeed in a Speech course and public speaking situations in life. There is no index, however, there is a robust search engine for the entire book. There is no glossary; however, in most browsers, you can highlight a word and right-click on it to look up the meaning of the word. There is a “Classroom Activities and Additional Resources” section, after the main sections of the text, that includes 22 subsections. The subsections provide a wealth of information, activities, YouTube videos, and a variety of resources to help readers effectively prepare, practice, and present superior speeches. There are YouTube samples throughout the Resources section that will be helpful to new learners who are accustomed to viewing digital examples.

Content Accuracy rating: 4

The content is accurate throughout for most readers. There are some sections that I would revise and include different information. Most readers may perceive these sections as accurate and consistent with popular beliefs and strategies, however, I do not think that they are literal, and in close alignment with the logic in the rest of the text. There are some minor errors in the text. I believe that the author of the text presents unbiased information and activities that will help readers, from any walk of life, improve their public speaking and communication skills. Most of the activities are geared toward face-to-face classes and could be easily adapted to Zoom and online classes. There are some alternative activities for synchronous and asynchronous distance education classes. Perhaps more alternative activities that can be easily used in synchronous and asynchronous courses are in the works for the next edition.

The content is up-to-date and includes the fundamentals of public speaking, which are identified and explained with current, and historical information, demonstrating the relevancy of the text, and the longevity of the information. Many of the examples in the text are current and could be easily updated to reflect changes in the times and mediums used to communicate. There are YouTube videos throughout the text that I am sure could be easily updated, replaced, or deleted if the relevance or timeliness of the video has waned.

This is a clear, engaging text, composed in a dynamic and well-written manner. This text is a real “scroller” (page-turner). When Communication and Public Speaking terminologies are used in the text, there are clear explanations, parenthetical explanations and examples (right after the concepts that some readers may need to understand the information), and specific examples are provided throughout the text. Some of the examples are in YouTube videos with clear explanations of the key takeaways from the videos and examples of how the reader can apply the information. The text and additional resources are reader-centered.

The content of the text is internally consistent throughout. The sections/chapters are composed consistently throughout the text. After reading sections “1.” and “2.” the reader should be able to easily identify the consistent layout of the text and expect the same layout for all other sections throughout the text. Consistent terminology is used throughout the text, and the author has identified terms that may not be familiar to some students, by explaining the terminology and providing parenthetical explanations and examples throughout the text. The Framework is consistent throughout the text. There are textboxes throughout the text with examples and explanations about key ideas and concepts that help the readers understand, learn, and even apply the information to situations in their lives.

This text is organized into six major sections that are divided into small chapters/sections that are relevant and aligned to the concerns and questions students have at the beginning of a public speaking class and throughout the class. The chapters/sections include engaging headings that direct and guide the reader through the section, with subheadings for each sub-section. The organization of the text aligns with the progression of basic public speaking courses and guides students through the natural process of learning and developing public speaking skills and strategies. The text includes subunits that prepare the reader for the next section. The text is reader-centered throughout.

The topics, concepts, and fundamentals of speech are presented logically and clearly. I can tell that the organization of the text and the sections was done by someone who actually teaches speech classes to students. The author has identified the best way to scaffold the information to help readers understand new concepts and build on previous knowledge as they are learning, developing, and practicing public speaking skills. As a speech instructor for over 30 years, this is one of the first texts that I have encountered that is organized in the same order that I present the information to students in my classes. The author has included internal previews and summaries for sections and subsections to aid the reader and help them flow into the next sections, subsections, ideas, and concepts so that they may better understand and learn the content in a logical progression. The author included “Key Takeaways” Boxes at the end of each section to help the reader identify the most important key ideas from each section. This is valuable for the readers who are just skimming through the section and see something in the Key Takeaways that they may want to go back and review. There is also a detailed “References” section at the end of each section to identify the outside sources used in the section.

The text is easy to navigate with “breadcrumb” hyperlinks, for the Previous chapter/section and the Next chapter/section, at the bottom of the browser, which is accessible at all times from any page. All images and charts are crystal clear. Throughout the text, videos are embedded in the pages that can be watched in the text, in a viewer, or in YouTube. I am sure that these videos can be easily updated and changed if they lose their appeal, become outdated, or are no longer available.

Grammatical Errors rating: 3

I can see that the author has spent countless hours on this text, and I know that it is challenging to find small justification, grammatical, and spelling errors. Unfortunately, to the chagrin of my students and anyone else whose work I am reviewing, I am cursed with the skill of having been a professional proofreader for a large printing and graphics design operation before grammar check, spell check, computers, or any other conveniences of modern-day lithography and graphics design. I am an extremely slow reader because I read every single word (and often aloud). In this text, I have found some justification and grammatical errors. Some are more glaring than others. Some are minor errors that go unnoticed and don’t affect the content or the readability of the text. For me, one error did create a pause in reading the text. So much so that I wanted to contact the author to let her know. Conveniently, there was a way to contact her at the end of every section. So I contacted the author, Lynn Meade, with the Instant Feedback Google Form at the end of the chapter/section. I am hoping that she addresses this concern or contacts me. Maybe it is not even an error, and I am not seeing the correct context of the information. I would gladly offer, free of charge, my proofreading services to the author.

Incorporated and integrated into this text are inclusive examples and explanations of how “Culture Makes a Difference.” There is an excellent explanation in one section of “Individualism vs Collectivism” and “High vs Low Context” cultures which are the basics of understanding cultural diversity and how culture can make a difference in the way we communicate with each other. Thank you for including this important and concise explanation of cultures.

This is an excellent text that I definitely plan on adopting for my speech and communication courses. I know that this text will engage my students and help them to improve their public speaking and communication skills. The fact that this is a Creative Commons zero-cost textbook is even better. The “Please share your feedback, suggestions, corrections, and ideas.” sections that the author has at the end of each chapter/section demonstrates her desire to get the feedback and put it back into the text and create a “living version of the text.” is awesome. This is an excellent idea, and I will absolutely include this in my Creative Commons text. The feedback is collected in Google Forms which is a great way to collect feedback. I will even use this type of reader/student feedback in my Learning Management System sections and modules for all of my courses. Thank you to the author for sharing this excellent idea.

Reviewed by Danielle Hartman, Adjunct Instructor, University of Mary Washington on 6/10/22

This book covers a lot of the various content areas in a comprehensive manner on the topic for novices, students with experience already, and for instructors. Some areas are not or rarely covered in other texts on public speaking. Some areas... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

This book covers a lot of the various content areas in a comprehensive manner on the topic for novices, students with experience already, and for instructors. Some areas are not or rarely covered in other texts on public speaking. Some areas would have liked to see a little more information on such as DEI and online presentations. The Table of Contents is very helpful but there is no index.

Content is accurate and in some areas where there is debate it discussed the pros and cons of each side. Sometimes the author will indicate which side they recommend and others not, eliciting clear preferences or unbiased information.

The text uses very recent information and examples throughout. The pandemic and social justice movements since 2020 have had a significant impact on how presentations are done and inclusion efforts within public speaking and the text does a good job addressing these changes.

All terminology is clearly explained and in a very relatable and inclusive manner for novice and advanced speakers as well as instructors.

The text uses consistent terminology and structure throughout. It also indicates as needed to reference past chapters or sections or if something will be covered in more depth later on.

The text has clear sections making it easy for busy students and instructors to pick up and return to if they only have a few minutes at a time to read. It is written in a very conversational tone making it easy to retain information and sections are an appropriate length for attention spans.

The text has very clear and consistent organization. The organization makes logical sense even though it differs from other public speaking texts (for example addressing the nervousness and fear of public speaking is not at the beginning but in part 2). The text's structure allows students to go from their of idea generation and writing through the process as they experience, removing the initial focus of fear and hopefully this would help many students re-frame their initial impression of public speaking.

It is very easy to see and navigate through. The only issue I encountered was some charts in the PDF version are sideways so for those who download to have access offline would have a few pages that way.

There are a few typos but very minor.

The text does a good job being inclusive and diverse in terms of content as well as how speakers should work to do the same in their presentations and have good DEI. I would like to see a little more, particularly on accessibility.

Overall a fantastic and unique text on public speaking. At first the length seems daunting which may deter some students initially, but it reads well and quickly. The activities are beneficial and well connected to the topic throughout the text. It is a welcoming and inviting text making this subject and the act of public speaking less formidable.

Reviewed by Maryan Ali, Advanced Public Speaking (BETA), Howard University on 1/1/22

The book is comprehensive and covers a wide range of topics; it is compatible with the 21st-century audience because it has memories videos of real people and real-world scenarios from ordinary people to presidential speeches. The author made a... read more

The book is comprehensive and covers a wide range of topics; it is compatible with the 21st-century audience because it has memories videos of real people and real-world scenarios from ordinary people to presidential speeches. The author made a great deal of effort to present diverse examples of all types of speeches. I enjoyed reading and listening the presenters.

This book's content is excellent; it has diverse worldwide presenters who address global, domestic, national, and personal perspectives quite powerfully. The ideas of the people were accurate though it was not error-free. For instance, in the reported presentations, there are some errors due to punctuations. For instance, this book provides the tools to build or create beyond acceptable speech. As the author Lynn Meade mentions, it is about transforming the world.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 4

The text was relevant to the central idea, thoughtful, and resourceful. Therefore, a future update or edition is possible. For example, in making the World Better Place, Lynn Mead (author) addresses how we have a power in us that can transform the world if we utilize it. Otherwise, it will limit or diminish our ideas. For example, the book teaches public speaking, provides activities for students, and shows real people's speeches. These video clips and links are tremendously helping students understand certain aspects of speech clearly. Another example is how 16th-year-old Greta Thunberg addressed the United Nations Climate Action Summit. She stood up for her generation by articulating the effects of climate change on them and how the UN was not taking severe or mitigating the matter.

Clarity rating: 4

This book made technical terminologies easy to understand in context and definitions. It is a unique fact that the author made this book open and available to educators, students, other individuals in the US and around the world. In this book, Lynn Meade discussed and encouraged the importance of public speaking and how to approach it. For example, he made the idea so what who cares irrelevant by explaining the importance of caring about your audience and knowing what they need from the presenter, engaging and presenting the thoughtful, clear, and concise speech. For example, the book explained the meaning of the phrases, such as "mind the gap," which lets the people taking the subway in London watch out for the cracks between the platform and the train.

The text is pretty consistent with the communicative terminology and the framework. It employed countless sources of powerful speeches from the TED Talks to United Nations, each catered to its target audience, whether it was political changes, addressing natural phenomena, civil rights, and so on. For instance, The author articulated how to avoid random words while speaking in front of the audience. He concluded four remarks that transform one's speech: Avoiding nervousness. Designing content Delivery mechanism The audience's perception of your message.

The author did a great job dividing and subdividing small sections with the same central related ideas or topics. Therefore, the writer organized in a small, interconnected, engaging reader rather than disrupting. The book demonstrated speeches, such as informing, persuading, inspiring, motivating, or presenting a new idea or product. In addition, the author explored how each individual can utilize their potential, whether it is for job interviews, graduation ceremonies, business pitches, etc.

The book content is bulky yet is organized and touches diverse aspects of public speaking in a sense that teaches interactively, practically, and theoretically encourages learners. The idea flows throughout the book along with the relevant video clips of that particular topic. For example, the author utilizes a scenario to demonstrate how to get an idea, "Moving the Cheese Out of the Way So You Can Find Your Best Ideas." In addition, Lynn Meade presented a picture of food in a refrigerator, which helps the reader visualize and vividly remember this idea better.

This book does not have any visible distortion or interface issues. The author organized the topics on the content page and, when clicked, displays the subject and its subtopics, so I have not come across significant issues navigating the throughout the book. In addition, it has 673 pages and video links, which is a rich resource to tap into to master public speaking. It is an excellent book to have for all elements of public speaking.

The text contains grammatical errors, particularly the video transcriptions. For example, on page 47, this statement needs a period or semicolon after the word them, "People appreciate a speaker who took the time to think about them it will increase both liking and credibility." There are compound and complex statements like this that I came across as I read the book.

The text is not offensive in any way; in fact, it addresses how to avoid all phrases and words that are not appropriate for speech professionally or formally. In addition, the book has a diverse group of people addressing specific issues necessary. For example, the speech given by Tshering Tobgay highlights variety, cultures, and inclusiveness. Introduces his country, his traditional dress, and what his government did to become Carbon Neutral.

The book is an excellent resource for almost everyone to reference for their speeches; therefore, I like to thank Lynn Meade, the author, for his generosity in making this book an open book that educates us about public speaking.

Reviewed by Amy Rawson, Professor, Century College on 10/26/21

I really like the content of this OER textbook. I have looked over many OER textbooks and this one is by far the best. I love how the author organized the content into smaller chunks for students and the information provided was relevant, current,... read more

I really like the content of this OER textbook. I have looked over many OER textbooks and this one is by far the best. I love how the author organized the content into smaller chunks for students and the information provided was relevant, current, and helpful. I could see myself using this in class. This textbook covers all areas and ideas of the fundamentals of public speaking appropriately--the only thing I would change would be the word "Advanced" in the title as I think this textbook could be applied more broadly to Introduction to Public Speaking courses. There was not a glossary that I could find, but a strong and detailed table of contents was provided. Each of the chapters were so rich with content, I do not think a glossary and/or index is necessarily needed.

I only found 1 typo which was an extra space in the introduction. The overall content of this textbook was extremely accurate and I loved the links to useful video examples and websites, etc. The textbook is unbiased in my opinion.

The content of the textbook is currently up-to-date, but I could see that quickly changing based on the next current event, social unrest, and/or next election. This has the potential to make the textbook seem more dated within a short period of time, but no necessarily obsolete. I do believe that this textbook is well written and organized in such a way that necessary updates should be relatively easy and straightforward to implement such as changing videos, links, and some content.

One of the main reasons I like this textbook is because it seems written with a focus of the audience of students. It is written well and any jargon/technical terminology is explained. It seems written in a laid back, casual, conversational tone which I think will strongly appeal to students and instructors.

Yes, the textbook is internally consistent in terms of framework and terminology. Although there are multiple chapters within a section of this textbook the author clearly explains this is on purpose so students can quickly access what they need.

This textbook is readily and easily divisible into smaller reading sections that could easily be assigned at different points within the course. As I stated before, there are multiple chapters within each section. However, the author clearly describes that this intent was purposeful so students can readily access what they want and/or need. The textbook is well organized and should not present much disruption to the reader. The textbook has a nice flow.

This textbook is well organized and topics are clearly presented in a logical way. This textbook covers all of the important aspects of a public speaking textbook and could be used (in my opinion) both advanced or introductory college-level speech classes.

Overall I do not think there are interface issues. There is no glossary or index, but this may be by design. The only piece that may distract or confuse students could be all of the chapters listed in one section.

There were no grammatical errors that I found.

This textbook uses inclusive examples (and so do the links and videos) which I appreciated. It is not offensive or culturally insensitive in any way.

It is a great textbook! Thank you for this opportunity to review.

Table of Contents

  • I. Writing a Speech
  • II. Presenting a Speech
  • III. Presentation Aids for Speech
  • IV. Speeches
  • V. Considerations for Speech
  • VI. Classroom Activities and Additional Resources

Ancillary Material

About the book.

This advanced public speaking textbook is designed to encourage you as a speaker and to help you sharpen your skills. It is written to feel like you are sitting with a trusted mentor over coffee as you receive practical advice on speaking. Grow in confidence, unleash your personal power and find your unique style as you learn to take your speaking to the next level--polished and professional.

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Public Speaking

Our Public Speaking lesson plan introduces students to the important skill of public speaking and gives them tools to become better public speakers. Students create a presentation, including visual elements, and present it to the class to practice their public speaking skills.


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Our Public Speaking lesson plan introduces students to the vital skill of public speaking. Starting the process of identifying information to share and sharing it in an engaging manner early serves our students well. It provides practice of a skill they will continually draw upon, as well as laying a foundation that will hold up as demands of preparing and presenting information grow throughout their school career. In this lesson, students are asked to choose a topic and go step-by-step to research their topic and create a presentation that they will then present to the class.

At the end of the lesson, students will have created a presentation with oral and visual components and present information to peers and teachers in a public speaking format.

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13 Most Effective Games and Activities for Public Speaking

activities for public speaking

If you believe that public speaking comes naturally , then you are mistaken ! It is a communication skill that can be studied and honed.

The best public speakers have dedicated time to perfecting their art . That involves proper communication skills, body language, and polished public speaking activities . They could put in many hours of practice, engage with a tutor, or enroll in speaking classes.

The best part is that you will develop your public speaking abilities and talk more persuasively in time. Public speaking activities can significantly enhance your success. Here, we’ll go through the 13 most effective games and activities for public speaking that may teach you how to talk passionately.

1. Talk Pointlessly

Activities for Public Speaking

A great oration is, as per a study , 38% your tone, 55% nonverbal cues, and only 7% your material . Therefore, this activity for public speaking will help you improve your presentation since it matters more than the content.

The best way to do this is to pick a passage in an unfamiliar dialect over the internet. You can also jot down a nonsense paragraph and practice reading it loudly as if you were addressing an audience.

Notice how you are utilizing the ring of your voice to arouse interest amongst your audience. Pay close attention to your pitch, mannerisms, and overall delivery. You can also do this public speaking activity in front of the whole class.

2. Study the Experts

Try looking up talks regarded as extraordinary in the public eye available on the internet. The most well-known TED Talks ever are a fantastic starting point .

Choose a speech that interests you, and then observe it critically. Examine the speaker’s use of storytelling . The use of graphics plays a vital role in making a presentation successful. Also, note the other elements that help their speech stand out.

3. Thirty Seconds Without Fillers

Filler words are brief, empty phrases or sounds that we employ in conversation to fill up short gaps as we consider what to speak next. At times, we unwittingly speak our ‘umms,’ ‘uhs,’ and ‘ers,’ which interrupt the flow of our talks.

filler words to ponder and cut in public speaking

They not only create difficulties in following you when you speak but also give the impression that you lack confidence and authority.

To do this particular activity for public speaking:

  • Record yourself speaking for thirty seconds on any subject.
  • Make sure you leave out the filler words.
  • When an ‘um’ comes up, restart and give it another go—ten times through, without any fillers.

4. Extempore

To do this activity for public speaking, capture yourself speaking spontaneously about any subject you find interesting. The only restriction is that you cannot arrange the topic and the speech beforehand . You can use your device’s stopwatch to start a one-minute countdown .

extempore is good as a public speaking activity

This exercise is meant to help you feel relaxed when speaking spontaneously. It will also help lessen the stress associated with worrying that you will run out of words to convey your idea. Try carrying out this public speaking activity in front of the class. Familiar faces always help!

5. Storytelling Using Pictures

Storytelling is essential to keep your listeners interested and assist them in remembering the particulars you’re delivering.

storytelling using pictures

Please talk about the characters’ backgrounds, personalities, goals, driving forces, and everything else that will help write a fascinating tale about them.

6. Construct a Meaning

Whatever the subject of your speech, you must always come across as an expert on the subject.

To carry out this activity, select a term you are unfamiliar with . Then record yourself trying to give meaning to that unfamiliar word. Pay attention to how you can use your tone of voice to project a stronger sense of authority and influence.

Find Out More About Public Speaking as a Skill

Read Is Public Speaking a Skill to find out.

7. Questions for a Professional

To do this activity for public speaking, you’ll require a friend .

Pick a profession or subject that you are unfamiliar with. Invite a pal to ask you about it, and when they do, respond to their inquiries as if you were an experienced authority. This is a great exercise that will improve your confidence and presentation .

8. Prattle on about a Subject You Dislike

Excitement spreads easily. You must be EnthuZiastic about your issue for your listeners to be as well.

Pick anything you don’t care about, like a household tool, and practice talking excitedly about it. Use your tone, intensity, and gestures to convey the impression that it is the most exciting item in the world.

9. Write an advertisement

Since speeches are all about promoting a topic, develop the craft of marketing. In this way, you will be able to convince anyone and everyone.

public speaking activity - write an advertisement

Film yourself describing the object’s unique qualities, how it may help society, and why each person requires it in their possession.

10. The Origin Story

One activity for public speaking that will improve your storytelling abilities on stage.

Choose a household object, such as a stapler, and share a story of its name’s origins. Create your own story if you like. The goal here is to create the practice of locating and creating compelling narratives out of anything, not to be historically correct.

11. A Different Conclusion

OTT platforms have brought countless sitcoms and movies to our fingertips. We are glued to a show if it has a good plot and a cliffhanger. But, the ending of a show is what we take home. Now imagine your favorite show having two parallel finishes!

a different conclusion

To do this activity for public speaking, you must start by choosing a popular television program or film. And you give it a different finish . Let your creativity run its entire course!

12. One Lie and Two Truths

This one is often relatively simple to beat and has tremendous excitement. And you’ll discover that while some people are good at it, it’s highly entertaining to see others stumble whenever they attempt to lie.

one lie and two truths

Call up all your close friends to partake this activity for public speaking. Now, o ne of your friends will stand up and say three facts about themselves . The catch here is that only two of them can be genuine . The third must be a fake .

The group must then decide which of the three was false before determining whether they were right. This one is, therefore, relatively short and incredibly simple, and you are not required to go into considerable length about it, but it is delightful.

You will win this game if you keep an eye on your friends’ behavioral cues. According to scientists , nonverbal communication helps us to understand a person’s personality. Also, it is an important aspect that will help you in your professional, as well as, your personal life.

Take note of things like eye contact, expressions, posture, hand movements, and voice tone since there are many different ways that people convey information.

13. A False Vacation

This activity for public speaking is mostly made up of one photo or a collection of similar photographs. It can be a farmhouse where you see pictures of animals, the barn, or anything amusing.

a false vacation - public speaking game

You must provide one, two, or three phrases for every picture before moving to the following one. The following image must then be used to carry on the narrative. As a result, you have to keep on making up stories to carry on the narrative.

How can public speaking skill be improved?

The best way to develop the skills for public speaking is to start small and keep practicing. Study the great public speakers, especially their mannerisms and tone.

How do you teach public speaking skills?

As a teacher, you need to understand your students. Please help them be the best version of themselves by providing feedback after every session. Do not forget to be patient with them.

What makes an excellent public speaker?

Speaking confidently in front of an audience is seen as more specific, correct, informed, clever, and likable than speaking less assuredly. Feeling anxious is normal, but if you want to succeed in public speaking, you must overcome your anxiety.

How to gain confidence in public speaking?

Maintaining eye contact with your listeners, using hand gestures to highlight points, and moving around the stage will help you appear confident on stage.

Being an excellent public speaker involves delivering engaging stories. You will become a more effective public speaker if you train yourself on how you can come up with innovative ideas for storytelling in the moment.

To educate yourself on being an excellent public speaker, you should frequently practice and make it enjoyable. It is similar to learning to ride a bike. In no time at all, you will develop the necessary skills.

If you had fun practicing these fun games and activities for public speaking, let us know in the comments.

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public speaking activities pdf

  • Games, topic printables & more
  • The 4 main speech types
  • Example speeches
  • Commemorative
  • Declamation
  • Demonstration
  • Informative
  • Introduction
  • Student Council
  • Speech topics
  • Poems to read aloud
  • How to write a speech
  • Using props/visual aids
  • Acute anxiety help
  • Breathing exercises
  • Letting go - free e-course
  • Using self-hypnosis
  • Delivery overview
  • 4 modes of delivery
  • How to make cue cards
  • How to read a speech
  • 9 vocal aspects
  • Vocal variety
  • Diction/articulation
  • Pronunciation
  • Speaking rate
  • How to use pauses
  • Eye contact
  • Body language
  • Voice image
  • Voice health
  • Public speaking activities and games
  • About me/contact
  • Activities and games
  • 7 Public speaking games

Public Speaking Games

7 fun-filled speech activities for kids of all ages.

By:  Susan Dugdale   | Last modified: 03-29-2022

If you're looking for fun-filled  speech activities  check these out.

There are  7 tried and tested  public speaking games  on this page - ones that have been a great 'yee-haa-hooray' splendiferous success for me.  You'll find they'll adapt easily to suit children of all ages;  from around middle school to adulthood and don't require a great deal of set-up preparation.

  • Connect the dots
  • Tell us the history of
  • Story starters
  • The big fat lie
  • In the news today

More public speaking games

  • Guidelines for the games

Use them in your class room, with the members of your speech club, as an extension activity for a life skills or communications program, or for home schooling with your family.

They'll help by-pass anxiety, develop and nurture competent, confident public speaking skills, and do it with a large, welcome dollop of fun!

A line drawing of a team of happy people each giving a thumb's up sign. Text: We say YAY to public speaking games.

*  If you're not sure about how to introduce games to your class or group, scroll down to the foot of the page. You'll find handy 'how to begin' guidelines there.

1. Connect the Dots

Connect the dots - 6 dots with an arrow running through them, linking them up.

How to play

Prepare a collection of word cards each with a familiar noun on it. You'll need at least 100. They could be names of famous people, common objects, colors, animals ... For example : bird, wheelbarrow, hammer, cow, witch, moon, grass, hat, elephant, computer, book, vase, elbow, photo, green, candlestick, shoe, painting, mug, plane, eclipse, Queen Elizabeth,  operation, halo, knife, eye, storm, girl, pillow, lid, thermometer, jungle, barn, wheel, thistle, steam, mud, bike, pink, Madonna  ...

Put the word cards into box or non-see through bag.

A player picks two cards and then must immediately begin telling a story connecting both words together convincingly. The story needn't be long, (one to two minutes is enough), complicated, or true!

Once your class is comfortable with connecting two words, add to your word collection and increase the number of cards selected to three or even four.

What this game teaches

In a word - transitions!

Moving from one idea to another smoothly, in a way that can be readily understood and followed by your audience, is a must-have public speaking skill.

Connect the Dots gives people the opportunity to practice.   It doesn't matter how disparate the "dots" or ideas  appear to be, a way can be found to link them, and with practice the ability to make those connections will become stronger and stronger.

An added benefit of the game is listening and learning from each other.

Connect the Dots - an example story

I've picked my two words. They are Queen Elizabeth and bike, and here's my speech!

"When you think of Queen Elizabeth, what do you see in your mind? Do you see an older woman wearing a diamond studded tiara staring grimly into the camera?

That diagonal sash across her chest proclaims dominion over the commonwealth realms. These include countries as diverse as Canada and Barbados - 32 of them in all. That's serious leadership - around 128 million people, including Prince Phillip, her husband, their four adult children, assorted wives and grandchildren.

Her daily duties would make most of us wince. She answers letters, talks to government officials, reads briefing papers, plans her diary, makes calls to charities, hospitals, factories, schools, museums or military units, performs civic duties like openings and investitures, and tours . That routine hasn't varied for the last 56 years. The Queen is an institution, revered and respected.

But she's also a person. And despite how difficult it may be to imagine, she'll have good days, bad days and days when, in the words of Cyndi Lauper, a girl just wants to have fun.

In my imagination, she wants to poke her tongue out at all the 'must and mustn't dos', toss the tiara sideways and shuck off the designer gowns.

She'd like to walk barefoot through wet grass and float on her back down a summer stream blowing bubbles. She'd like to gallop a horse around Hyde Park without a minder and in the afternoon ride a bike. Starting at the top of Primrose Hill she'll fly down, pedals whirring, yelling 'Look Ma no hands.' It will be glorious. It will be wonderful, and she will be free.

Perhaps it was a glimpse into unfettered being that convinced her to take up sky-diving with James Bond for opening of the 2012 Olympics. 86 years old and starring in a royal performance. She showed us. It's never too late to 'get on yer bike' in whatever form it takes. God save the Queen!"

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2. Tell us the history of ...

Image: 3 zebras in grassland. Text: How the zebra got his stripes - Tell me the history of ... a public speaking game.

Prepare a starter list of events or things. Write them on slips of paper.

For example: a postage stamp, birthday cake, books, a zebra's stripes, a chimney, the tooth fairy, common sayings like 'a penny for your thoughts', 'a red rag to a bull', 'a pinch and a punch for the first of the month', April Fools Day, a wheel, a Christmas tree, ice cream, a ladder, Father Christmas, May Day, a siren, shaking hands on meeting someone...

Put the topic cards/papers into a non-see through bag. 

When it's their turn a player pulls a topic from the bag. They then must give an account of the history (story) behind the thing or event they've drawn.  It needn't be factual!  Encourage imagination, outrageous lies, flights of fantasy...

The goal of this public speaking game is sustained credible fluency. Aim for 1 - 2 minutes per story.

3. End lines

Image: a pair of hands, palms up, with an image of the world on them and flying white doves. Text: Love makes the world go round. End lines - a public speaking game.

You'll need a collection of endings written on slips of paper.

For example: 'Just do it', 'Diamonds are forever', 'He's fallen in the water', 'Some like it hot', 'His bark is worse than his bite', 'Love makes the world go round', 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away', 'First up, best dressed', 'King for a day', 'Funny money', 'Laughter is the best medicine'...

Put the end lines into a non-see through bag.

Each player takes a turn to take an ending from the bag. The task is to tell a 1-2 minute story ending with the line they have selected.

4. Story Starters

Gothic thunderstorm scene - haunted house, dark skies

Write opening sentences or phrases on slips of paper. You'll need one for each member of your group and then some more. For example: 'It was a dark and stormy night', 'I wish people would not say...', 'Yesterday I saw a herd of cows ', 'My favorite activity is bird watching', 'The wisest saying I ever heard was...', 'In 20 years time I will be...', 'It made me yell', 'All I want for Christmas is...', 'Something is terribly wrong...', 'The little voice inside my head...', 'This is the secret I've never shared before', 'I never knew what happened...', 'Sometimes I just want to...', 'You know it's Summer when...', 'Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you', 'The story made me want to...','I heard the best news this morning', 'The sound of people laughing...'

Put the slips of paper into a non-see through bag.

Nominate a person to begin. He/she reaches into the bag and pulls out a story starter. The starter they've drawn must be used to open their story.   A story can be built and extended however the speaker wishes.

5. Oink Substitution

A large pink pig jumping with the word OINK superimposed over its body.

In this game a commonly used word is chosen and then substituted with the word ' oink '. For example: If the selected word is  I , the speaker says  oink  instead.

Oink  can be played several ways.

Playing Oink using well-known stories

Make copies of well-known children's stories. For instance - Red Riding Hood, The Gingerbread Man or Three Little Pigs. (You will find many of them here: american has hundreds available.)

Next choose a regularly occurring word in each piece to substitute.

Eg. The word 'she' would be suitable in The Gingerbread Man story . Here's the opening paragraph given the 'oink' treatment.

"One day, the cook went into the kitchen to make some gingerbread. OINK took some flour and water, and treacle and ginger, and mixed them all well together, and OINK put in some more water to make it thin, and then some more flour to make it thick, and a little salt and some spice, and then OINK rolled it out into a beautiful, smooth, dark-yellow dough."

Decide who is to start. Ask them to choose a story. They are to read aloud for approximately one minute making sure they use 'oink' in place of the selected word.

Repeat for each member of your group.  Try to have each new reader of the same story pick up from where the last reader of it left off rather than repeat the same passage. 

Encourage authoritative readings, full of passion and drama!   

Using Oink as an extension activity

Another way to play  Oink  is as an extension of already known games. Try it with  One Minute Speeches , Story Starters or End Lines.

Once your group is confident, add the ' oink ' factor for even more fun! You'll find substitution hones thinking-while-you're-speaking skills really well.

6. The BIG Fat Lie

Young woman with her dog sitting on a mountain ledge high above the clouds.

This game encourages the use of the imagination, develops fluency and, it's fun. In playing it your group will learn about body language too. How do you know when somebody is lying? How can you tell?

Each speaker is to stand so that everyone can see them clearly and share 3 things about themselves on a theme you set.

Examples of theme: holidays, the future, my favorite after school activities, when I was young, my beliefs, the best books I've read, the best adventures I've had..., my family...

Two of the things they say about themselves in relation to the theme are to be true. The third is not .

When they've finished speaking, ask the class/group to identify the lie. And when they have, ask them how they knew. What alerted them to it being untrue?

PS. This makes a great icebreaker for groups getting together for the first time.

7. In the News Today

Image: Cartoon girl on newspaper background. Text: Introducing Milly Reed with today's headline news.

In the last activity making up of this collection of 7 public speaking games, your class/group are broadcasters, anchor people for a news show.

The news is whatever has happened during the day. It could be an event on the way to school like a traffic jam. It might be a new menu in the canteen or lunch room. It could be an announcement the principal made.

It doesn't matter how trivial the happening; encourage the big news treatment for anything at all, even a new set of pencils!

The aim of the exercise is give whatever subject they choose the standard news format. They'll need to cover who, what, where, why, when and how .

Once they've mastered that encourage experimentation; adding introduction hooks, on-the-spot interviews, switch backs and summaries.

Retro cartoon of an excited young woman. Text: OMG - get all these games and everything needed to play them - BUY NOW.

If you liked these games ...

You'll love my ebook!

28 public speaking games (with many more variations and extensions), full instructions, PLUS printable topic, tongue twister, poem and image sheets.

A complete one-stop-select-print-go public speaking resource for busy people.

Find out more   >>

Before you begin the games with your class

Lead in guidelines.

Taking the time to set the games up will ensure they go well and go on to become an accepted and eagerly anticipated part of your classroom activities.

  • If your class is new to playing public speaking games start with the simple activities first, for example, the Story Starters.
  • Model or demonstrate each game before you ask them to play themselves.
  • If it's too threatening to have the entire focus of the class on one person at a time - split into smaller groups of 4-6 players and have them work simultaneously. It will be rowdy but worth it!
  • Establish your ground rules for positive participation. You can check out the ones I used in my teaching here: rules for public speaking games
  • Include full class quickfire feedback sessions at the end of each game. I found these invaluable for drawing attention to and reinforcing what had been done well. Be sure to acknowledge any gain - not matter how small!
  • Keep the timing snappy. Too much of any one particular activity will become tedious. Keep it flowing along.

For more freebie fun filled public speaking games to play with your class:

  • 5 best-loved improv games
  • 10 impromptu speaking practice activities
  • Developing word power exercises
  • And yet more public speaking activities , some of them with printables to download.

What's the difference between the freebie public speaking pages and your ebook?

Public speaking games - ebook cover

The ebook has the best of all the games on my site (including the ones on the pages above) and then some more.

Plus, it has full instructions for using each of the games and printables. It is the type of one-stop-time-saving resource I wanted to find when I was full time teaching and didn't .

My freebie pages are good but if your commitment to leading/teaching a public speaking class is ongoing, the ebook is better, more complete.

Why not check it out?

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public speaking activities pdf


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