6 Activities To Boost Your Public Speaking Skills

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“Congratulations, what an impressive presentation! We loved it.”

Always wanted to hear these words? 

In today’s dynamic corporate landscape, the power of public speaking cannot be underestimated. Your ability to captivate and sway your audience with your public speaking and communication skills is the key to setting yourself apart as a true leader. 

Julia Roberts, the renowned actress, initially struggled with public speaking due to stage fright. Determined to improve, she enrolled in training courses and sought expert guidance, gradually overcoming her fear. As she gained experience and confidence, Roberts became a proficient speaker, successfully engaging with audiences. 

While it is essential to improve your public speaking skills, it can often take time to understand how to go about it, what to refer to, and where to begin from.

While reading, learning, and hearing about it might be helpful, you could drastically improve your public speaking skills by practising them with the help of fun public speaking games and activities. So let’s look at the short public speaking techniques, activities, and games below to polish our skills.

1. Explain Yourself

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Don’t worry, it’s not what you think! This simple yet exciting activity enhances your ability to articulate complex ideas into simple, understandable ones. Additionally, this game improves your contextual vocabulary and would be a great tool to enhance your thought structuring and creativity. 

  • Take any basic everyday object – like a stapler, a bottle, or a balloon – and try to explain it to someone without prior knowledge. 
  • Think about each granular characteristic that you would mention to explain the object, as the focus is on describing an ordinary thing in a simplified yet detailed manner.
  • For example, to explain a chair, you can say something like this:
  •  

“It is a piece of furniture with a seat, backrest, and four legs. Its purpose is to provide a comfortable surface for people to sit on. It is used in homes, offices, schools, and public places whenever people need to rest their bodies while sitting.”

Insider Tip: You can use the CARE Framework to structure your thoughts.

CARE Framework

While developing ideas is crucial, public speaking requires you to structure your thoughts and ideas. To be able to speak in a structured manner, it is essential to think in a structured way.

CARE Framework is an efficient tool that enables you to articulate your thoughts about any topic in seconds. Let’s see how, with the help of an example:

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Step 1: C – Context

  • Explain the setting, the situation, or the problem you’re trying to address. 

  • Give information that is relevant and sets the stage for your answer.

  • Setting context is to build curiosity in the audience’s mind. 

Example: Before presenting on a particular topic, talk about its background. 

Step 2: A – Answer

  • Present your answer or solution to the problem or question at hand. 

  • Be concise and direct in providing your response.

  • The idea behind sharing the answer is to set the audience on the right path. 

Example: While sharing about a topic, or idea, share the main agenda by prioritising your thoughts. 

Step 3: R – Reason

  • Provide the reasoning or rationale behind your answer. 

  • Explain the thought process or evidence that supports your chosen solution.

  • Make sure while sharing the reasons you structure them in 1,2,3…

Example: While sharing the reasons, try to add all the “whys” of the topic.

Step 4: E – Example

  • Illustrate your reasons with relevant examples or real-life scenarios. 

  • It helps to make your response more concrete and relatable to the audience.

  • Remember that the examples can be personal stories and have a unique style. 

Example: While sharing an example, use anecdotes, quotes, and dramatic curiosity. 

2. Mindmap Technique

Ever had a million ideas rush to your mind in an instant or struggled with a mental block? Mindmap technique is your saviour! It is a visual thinking tool that helps structure information, allowing you to better comprehend, analyse, and generate new ideas. Grab a pen and paper, and try this fun exercise!

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Step 1: Main Topic

  • Begin by identifying a central concept – the agenda or topic on which you make a mindmap – and write it in the centre within a circle.

  • This will be the core of your mind map, and all other ideas will extend outwards.

Example: Write the topic of your next big presentation in the centre of the page and encircle it.

Step 2: Branches

  • Identify the most basic sub-topics or keywords you want to expand on further.

  • Organise the ideas by writing them as branches stemming from the main idea.

Example: Lay down the sub-topics you want to include in the main topic.

Step 3: Explore

  • Explore each subtopic by adding more branches until you are satisfied with the different ideas you have generated.

  • Keep the most relevant and vital key concepts closer to the subtopic and the other specific details further away.

Example: Continue expanding on every sub-topic by adding specific details and ideas within each element.

Mindmaps improve the overall quality of the speech by enabling you to brainstorm, organise, and present ideas coherently, ultimately leading to a more compelling presentation. 

Insider tip: Feel free to add colours, symbols, icons, and images to your mindmap for systematically categorising your ideas.

3. 30 Seconds Without Filler

Umm… Uh… You know… 

Do you use filler words more than the actual words in your daily conversations? 

This happens because you think faster than you speak, and your mind unconsciously uses these filler words to fill the gaps while you structure your thoughts into sentences. However, these words affect the fluency of your conversations by distracting the listener. 

Try out and play this public speaking game to avoid using filler words and improve your communication skills!

  • Pick any topic you are comfortable and familiar with, for example, the importance of education, environment conservation, or your favourite movie, and record a spontaneous speech about it for at least 30 seconds. 

  • Look back at the recording, identify the common filler words you are using and practice speaking the same without using those filler words.

  • Practising this activity would help you gradually eliminate all such filler words by replacing them with timely pauses or contextual transition words to ensure you communicate fluently and confidently. 

Insider Tip: Writing the word ‘Pause’ on paper and keeping it in front of you for the first few attempts would enable you to remember to replace your filler words with a pause. 

4. The Expert

While rehearsed speeches are comparatively easy to deliver, this activity is a great way to ensure better articulation and structure of spontaneous presentations. Apart from polishing your research and presentation skills, you can work on organising complex ideas convincingly and contextualising your speeches.

  • Take any topic that you are unfamiliar with and deliver an impromptu speech on it as if you are an expert. This will help you to develop the confidence to handle unexpected situations and maintain composure while giving your speeches.

  • To make it challenging and exciting, you can deliver this speech to someone and answer their questions about the topic off the cuff. 

  • For example, practise speaking about “The Detailed Action Plan in Case of a Flood” as a Disaster Recovery Manager.

Insider Tip: You can use the 5W 1H Questions – Who, What, Why, Where, When, and How – to give an elaborate description of the topic. This exercise would help you be better prepared and think spontaneously in front of a group or a formal audience.
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5. Elevator Pitch (Pyramid Principle)

Imagine you are in an elevator with your manager and have to share your thoroughly researched idea, but you have a limited amount of time to make a strong and concise impression. To be impactful in such situations, you deliver an elevator pitch. You can practise being succinct yet impactful using the following framework:

Popularised by Barbara Minto, the Pyramid Principle is a great way to structure and prioritise your ideas to create an impression.

Pyramid PrincipleStep 1: Conclusion
  • Share the main takeaway, message, recommendation or simply your conclusion.

  • This would attract audiences’ attention, especially when presenting in a limited time.

Example: Introduce the critical idea and its expected outcomes or benefits

Step 2: Key Points

  • Share the key points, sub-ideas or main arguments.

  • Elaborate on the how and why of your conclusion.

Example: Break down the main idea into small achievable steps and logically explain them.

Step 3: Evidence

  • Share the facts, statistics, examples, and other evidence concisely.

  • Providing relevant evidence adds credibility to your key points.

Example: Share additional details in the form of studies, data, games and activities or numbers to add weight to your arguments.

Practice using this framework in your next brief conversation and boost your communication skills.

6. CLAM (Change Listeners After a Minute)

The way you speak, the words you use, the tone of your voice, and the intended impact will all change according to the audience you are catering to. This activity prepares you to engage in any topic by enhancing adaptability and communicating with different audiences effectively. 

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  • List different audiences, like managers, colleagues, subordinates, parents, children, etc.

  • Choose a topic to present on and set a time limit of one minute. As the timer rings, change your listener randomly and contextualize your presentation spontaneously at least thrice. 

  • Decrease the time gradually to 45 or 30 seconds to make it more challenging and practice. 

This fun public speaking game makes you reflect on how modulating your emphasis, speed, volume, tone, and vocabulary would enable you to connect with different people and adapt to the context of the situation to be impactful and persuasive. 

Becoming a skilled public speaker begins with thoughtful preparation, polished delivery, and consistent practice. Engaging in the activities mentioned above can be immensely beneficial in polishing your public speaking skills, leading to a remarkable enhancement in the overall quality of your conversations, presentations, speeches, and other verbal interactions. Gradually, you will notice a transformation in your oratory skills and the ability to express ideas, capture audiences’ attention, and radiate confidence in any speaking scenario.

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