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Much like riding a bike public speaking is a skill that is best learned through practice. And what happens when we enjoy doing something that we do? We do it more often.
So here are 15 fun public speaking activities that you can do, either by yourself or with a group of people or if you are running a class you can use this using with your students as well. (more public speaking activities here)
What Are The 15 Fun Public Speaking Activities?
I truly believe that making public speaking fun is one of the things that are going to take an average public speaker and give then enough practice to turn them into a good or great public speaker.
1. My Friend’s Fictional Life
In this activity, what you do is you get up in front of people (you can do it home by yourself as well) and you take one of your friends and you introduce them. However, instead of introducing them in the normal way you make up a fictional life for them.
So you say, hi this is Jane Smith, and she actually moonlights as a jazz pianist for the underground mafia. And you talk about her life, whatever it may be.
So this is fun because it makes you been creative, it’s very easy to think of these things on the spot and just roll with it. It’s generally pretty funny as well.
2. Impromtu Game
You basically just get up in front of people and somebody gives you something impromptu to run with.
It might be a topic, it might be a sentence or it might just be a single word or anything like that. But generally we run with just a certain topic.
For example: They need to talk about climate change or they need to talk about what makes a great teacher, or they need to talk about social media changes or whatever. So that the impromptu game.
3. Funny Image Game
This is similar to the impromptu game, but basically what you do is you give the speaker a funny image; you can find these easily just searching through Google and you get them to talk about that image.
You can pretend it’s their life experience and how this impacted my life or they can talk about why this image is important and what this image means or what’s the story behind this image.
4. Continuous Story
This is best done with a group of people. Each person gets up and might speak for anywhere from 20 seconds to a minute and they start telling a story.
And when their time is up, the next person has to get up and they have to continue the story.
So, obviously each person doesn’t know what the person before them is going to say and so they have to continue the story.
The goal of this is to make the story make sense. This game helps people engage in listening and learn to be creative enough to make the story continue on and make sense.
5. Something In My Wallet
You can use your own wallet or (if people are comfortable enough and happy to do it) you can get the person sitting next to you’s wallet.
Take an item out of the wallet and discuss what this item is and why its important and obviously you are trying to elaborate and make it funny as much as possible.
6. Action Story
This can be done in 2 ways.
A) You tell a story that has a whole great of actions in it and as a speaker you have to do these actions yourself whilst speaking.
B) Or the audience has to do the actions themselves while the speaker is giving their speech.
So you could say; I did a big stretch when I woke up in the morning. And everybody has to stretch. And then you say, I put on my hat, and everybody has to do the actions in line with that.
7. Make A Commercial
Get a bunch of things from your room or from your house, bring them in and you need to make a commercial about these items.
Someone is giving a random product. It might be a deodorant, might be an iphone, it could be anything. And then they are required to give a 30 second to 1 minute commercial on this product and talk about why this is so awesome and why people should buy it. So that’s a really fun one as well.
8. A Fake Holiday
This one is done with images primarily and a set of images that are related to each other.
So it could be a farm where you have images of animals, or the barn house or something funny happening on the farm.
The speaker is required to tell maybe 1, 2 or 3 sentences for each image and then you click forward to the next image.
Then they need to use the next image to continue the story.
So you are using these images as the key cards, as to where the story needs to go so the person needs to adapt the story based on the images that are given.
9. Alternative Ending
You take a well known TV show or a well-known movie. And what you do is you create an alternative ending for it.
10. Connect The Nouns
This is really a fun one, I really like this one.
You can do this by either putting nouns on key cards shuffling them up and picking 2 up at a time or you can use this random noun generator.
You get 2 nouns and you then have to create a story that connects that 2 nouns.
So it might be ‘a sheep’ and ‘a mechanic’ or it could be ‘friend’ and ‘shoelace’.
Then you have to create a story that connects those 2 nouns together.
11. How It Got It’s Name
Take an item (for example: packing tape) and you need to create a story around a packing tape and why it’s got its name that way.
You have to make it exciting.
12. Oink Substitution
When you are giving a speech you must allocate one word that you have to replace with word ‘oink’. Or you can use ‘moo’ or you use ‘woof’ or whatever it is that you want.
So you can use the word ‘I’ and replace it with ‘oink’.
So you would say: “Oink went to the movies and oink bought some popcorn.” And so you replace that word ‘I’ with ‘oink’.
This challenges your mind, and it makes that little bit harder to deliver a presentation. And it’s pretty funny for the audience, as well.
13. Which Is A Lie?
This one is generally pretty easy to out work and a lot of fun as well. And you will find that some students do it really well, but then some students just fumble when they are tying to lie and its quiet humorous to watch.
A person gets up and tells 3 truths about themselves, but 2 of them need to be true and one of them needs to be a lie.
So they get up and they tell 3 things about themselves and then the audience needs to choose which one was a lie and they see if they were correct.
So this one is really quick, really easy and you don’t have to go into a great detail about it but it can be really fun.
Get really big words that nobody really knows what the meaning is. You can do this using this big word generator or another tool (just Google it). Or you can just go through the dictionary and pick some strange ones yourself.
The speaker has to get up – they are given this strange word and they need to with confidence tell the class what this word means.
Obviously they are making it up, but they need to do it confidently.
You give a person an ending. It could be a saying: “Diamonds are forever” or an ending to a story ‘and the man cried for 3 days’.
You give them an ending and they have to create a story that matches up with that ending.
A lot of being a great pubic speaking is about story telling. Teaching people how to creatively think up stories on the spot is going to make them a better public speaker.
I have previously talked about how public speaking rubric actually damages the progression of public speaking skills. We need to continually practicing public speaking (like riding a bike) and have it be fun if we want to teach people to be great public speakers. Technique comes along with that.
So keep that in mind, keep public speaking fun and I hope that you enjoyed these activities.
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It’s only natural. After all, they are trying to talk in a language they are still working on learning. Still, silence can be deadly in the ESL classroom for your students and you. When you want to get your students to speak up, try one of these fun and simple games to get them talking in class.
This is How We Roll
You can use this simple game as a get to know you at the start of school or later as a get to know you better activity. All you need is one standard die and six questions – either ice breakers or ones that elicit opinions, experience or other personal thoughts. Be creative and choose the ones you’d like to hear your students answer. Give students a list of the questions, and make sure they are numbered on the paper. Then, have students take turns rolling the die. Whatever number they roll, that is the question they must answer. You could do this activity as a class, in smaller groups or as a public speaking activity. For the latter, have students prepare answers to each question as homework and then have them share in front of the class after they roll.
Human Experience Bingo
Your students are probably already familiar with the rules of Bingo. Simply get five numbers in a line on a chart. You can use this as a basis for another get to know you game. Work with your class to compile a list experiences that a person might have had. For example, gone scuba diving, made a birthday cake and eaten sushi would all be good expereinces. Work together on the list until you have about 30-40 different experiences. (You can also compile the list on your own if you prefer.) Then, give students a blank bingo board (a 5x5 chart) and have them write one experience in each of the boxes. On your word, students mingle and talk to each other to find someone with each experience they have chosen. If a student finds someone who, for example, has gone scuba diving, that student signs the square where your student wrote it on his Bingo board. The first person to get five in a row yells, “Bingo!” Another variation is to arrange students speed dating style: two rows of chairs facing each other. Each pair then gets two minutes to talk with each other. When time is up, the students in one row shift one chair to the right. The game is over once someone has gotten five spaces in a row on their bingo board.
Character Trait Roulette
This game works best for students who already know each other fairly well. Work as a group to come up with a list of several character traits a person might have. (Try to stick to positive traits.) You might include adventurous, sympathetic and generous. Then write these traits on small slips of paper and put them in a bag. Each person takes a turn drawing one character trait from the bag in front of the class. The student must then announce who in class (and you are fair game, too) possesses that character trait. Of course, a name isn’t enough. The person must tell a story or give an example of why he made his particular choice.
Story Starter Hot Potato
Put the list of story starters in your writing drawer to double duty with this silly and fast paced game. Students play in small groups of around five members. Students should arrange their seats in a circle. Give your class a story starter at the beginning of the round. Starting with the person whose birthday is closest to today and them moving around the circle, each person gives his group one sentence of the story. After one person is done, the person sitting to his left adds a line where the first person left off. Students continue around the circle, adding one sentence at a time, until the music stops or until you give another signal. Whoever is in the middle of his sentence or is struggling to think of a sentence when the music stops is out. He must leave the circle. Then students play a second round either continuing the story or with a new story starter. When you stop the music, whoever’s turn it is is eliminated. Play continues until the final round when the person not speaking when the music stops is the winner.
Find Your Partner
Prepare a small slip of paper for each student in your class. Each paper should have one word on it that goes with a word on another slip of paper. For example, matching pairs might be fork and spoon, day and night, bat and ball, or table and chairs. Fold the papers and put them into a hat. Each person then draws one slip of paper. On your word, students must circulate and talk to one another trying to find their partner. Once two people think they are a match, they come to you to see if they are right. If they are, they sit down. Play until everyone has found their partner. Then have those partners work together to create a new pair of words that go together. Repeat the game with these student given examples.
Hide and Speak
To prepare for this energetic and fast paced game, write several questions each on one index card or post-it note. These questions can be get to know you questions, comprehension questions or questions using current vocabulary words. Before your students arrive, hide these cards throughout your classroom. At the start of class, break your students into two teams. Explain that you have hidden cards throughout the room. On your word, students will search the room for the cards you have hidden. They can only pick up one card at a time. When a student finds a card, he must bring it to you and answer the question on the card. If he answers it correctly, he earns the card for his team. If he does not answer it correctly, he must get someone else from his team to help him find the answer. Once students have correctly answered the question on their card, they can search for another card. At the end of the game (after a certain amount of time or when all the cards have been found) the team with the most cards in their possession wins.
Speaking doesn’t have to be forced or boring when it comes to ESL class. These games are just a few of the fun ways to get your students speaking up and having a good time while they practice their English.