Public Speaking Exercises Help You Deliver Great Speeches

Public speaking exercises to improve delivery

Public speaking exercises are a great way to improve your public speaking skills, as the delivery of your speech is crucial. Techniques such as breathing exercises, impromptu speaking, role-playing, and video recording can also decrease anxiety and even prepare your content.

What Are The 5 Ps Of Public Speaking?

People use public speaking to inform, influence, and inspire their target audience. Effective public speakers successfully convey their core message and main points through verbal and nonverbal communication. 

If you want to be a better public speaker, this framework will help you plan and deliver any type of speech you want.

  1. Planning. In this crucial first step, you will set the goals for your speech. It’s also where you consider factors such as the setting or mood of the event, the number of attendees, the demographics and interests of the audience, and the time limit of your speech, among others.
  2. Preparation. Preparing for any public speaking engagement takes a lot of work. You must gather materials and research your topic thoroughly to create an outline — and develop a piece — that fits well with your audience and objectives. You must ensure that any examples and supporting research or stories you present are factual and relevant. 
  3. Practice. After you’ve created, revised, and edited your speech, you have to rehearse it to improve your delivery. Practice is the key to internalizing your piece (not memorizing it) and building confidence so you can properly deliver it during the event. You can try various exercises and activities (which we’ll discuss later) to help you identify any areas for improvement.
  4. Presence. When you’re delivering your speech, your presence matters. This refers to how you carry yourself. And to ensure you don’t get distracted or feel lost during your public speaking stint, it’s essential to take a deep breath, breathe out, and make eye contact with your audience. Doing so can help you project confidence, which, in turn, can entice your audience to stay with you until the rest of the speech. 
  5. Performance. Your performance is how you deliver your piece — from your volume, tone, and pace to your nonverbal cues. The following section, which tackles the 7Ps of public speaking, will help you learn how to make an impact with your words, your body language, and even facial expressions.
Preparing for public speaking

What Are The 7 Ps Of Public Speaking?

To enhance your public speaking skills further, take note of these 7Ps.

  1. Pronunciation. You must be mindful of how you pronounce words to convey your points clearly. You need to rehearse to identify which words you find hard to pronounce. You can replace such words or see if you can improve your pronunciation. 
  2. Pace. You can control your pace accordingly to excite and create anticipation among your audience. You can speed up or slow down when needed. Remember that a monotonous pace can make your speech feel and sound dull and lifeless. 
  3. Pause. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think as if you’re the one digesting the information you’re relaying. If you don’t have enough pauses in your speech, your audience will find it hard to process and absorb what you want them to. 
  4. Punch. If you want to emphasize certain points, you have to stress out portions of your speech. Varying your tone and volume can also keep your audience more engaged. How you say the words in your speech can make your message weightier and more impactful. 
  5. Power. Power refers not just to your voice (e.g., how loudly you speak). It’s the combination of vital elements, such as voice, diction, eye contact, facial expressions, and gestures, that dictates the effectiveness of your speech. 
  6. Posture. Imagine watching a speech where the speaker has a bad posture. Chances are, you won’t be as convinced or moved compared to a well-delivered speech by someone who observes proper posture. Keep in mind: The way you stand and use your body can make or break your credibility and confidence as a speaker.
  7. Passion. Acing all the abovementioned Ps will be futile if, in the first place, you’re not passionate about your speech topic. One way to overcome any fear of public speaking is to speak from the heart about something you genuinely care about. It will help make your message more emotionally resonant with your audience members. 

What Are Some Tips To Put These Ps Into Practice?

You simply can’t develop public speaking and presentation skills overnight. For the above-stated P’s to reflect on your speeches, you must constantly practice and embrace public speaking activities.

It will also help you join a Toastmasters club or enlist help from a speech coach to access professional resources. Spend time watching speeches (all types of it, including impromptu speeches or short 1 minute speeches), and observe how the speakers deliver their pieces. 

It’s also advisable to listen to speech podcasts or just any other podcast in general. It’s a chance to learn public speaking tips from others and identify techniques you can use in your subsequent speeches. There are also mobile applications that offer guided breathing and vocal exercises. 

How Can I Practice My Public Speaking?

There are various ways you can practice public speaking. But one of the best ways to hone your skills is to practice in front of a mirror. This way, you can observe yourself while delivering your piece and assess how you look. To help you evaluate your delivery, it also pays to record yourself with a video camera. It will allow you to go over and over your previous rehearsals and better determine areas for improvement — sound and visual-wise. 

You can also get help from a family member, a friend, or a colleague. Gathering people and practicing your speech in front of them will help you simulate the environment of speaking before a crowd. These people can also give you objective feedback, which you can use to enhance your abilities further. 

Public speaking exercise - Practice speech in mirror

What Are Some Good Techniques?

Here are some good techniques and exercises to help you warm up your voice and attain more effective public speaking skills.

  1. Tongue twisters. This classic exercise will help you improve how you articulate and pronounce words. In doing exercises like this, the key is understanding the tongue twister’s meaning and essence. It will allow you to comprehend and convey the sentence more precisely. The most popular sentences you can practice are:
    • How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood
    • She sells seashells by the seashore.
    • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
  2. Vocal warm-up exercises. Before any speaking engagement, you can prepare your vocal cords by doing lip trills and humming exercises. There’s a good reason singers do these, too. These activities will help you loosen up your cords while improving vocal projection.
  3. Breath control exercises. You have to learn to control your breathing to calm your nerves. If you constantly catch yourself out of breath, it will sound as if you’re panicking, causing your audience to get turned off or become less interested in your words. A basic exercise you can do is to:
    • Breathe in for about four seconds and hold it for a second
    • Breathe out for another four seconds
    • Repeat this activity three times.
  4. Impromptu speaking. In this exercise, give yourself one minute to deliver an impromptu speech on any subject matter. The goal of this activity is to lessen your anxiety and get you to become more comfortable speaking. 
  5. Picture-talk exercise. A variation of the exercise above, this is a great way to improve how you paint a scenario or a situation (which is an essential skill for any public speaker). Take a photo of anything, observe the image for 30 seconds, and describe it to another person within one or two minutes.
  6. Question-and-answer with a friend. A good speaker is someone knowledgeable about their topic. And one way you can gauge your confidence to talk about your topic is to get a friend to ask questions to you. Your goal is to be able to answer as clearly and eloquently as possible. 
  7. Explain your speech to someone. Doing this activity will help you assess if you really can explain the main idea of your speech in simple terms. In the process, you can also build confidence by discussing your core message without relying on a pre-written speech.
  8. Role-playing. As a speaker, you need to adjust to different kinds of audiences with different levels of knowledge and interests. Role-playing exercises stretch those vocal muscles and allow you to communicate using various tones, voices, and perspectives. 
Public speaking exercises and games

What Is The 30 Second Speech Game?

Public speaking games and exercises are a great way to hone your communication skills. 

One of the best public speaking exercises is the so-called 30-second speech game, and its purpose is to help you eliminate filler words like “uhs,” “us,” and “you know.” In this game, you will have 30 seconds to talk about any topic. The challenge is to omit filler words. If you use a filler word, you must start over. 

How Can Speech Exercises Improve Your Speech?

Even the most experienced speakers still consider public speaking a nerve-wracking experience. However, you can overcome your fear and shake off those jitters by doing the right speech exercises.

The public speaking exercises we’ve presented above are designed to help you improve your speech and be more confident speaking in front of an audience. When you constantly exercise, you will enhance various aspects of public speaking, such as articulation, pronunciation, diction, vocal projection, and fluency. You can also sharpen your nonverbal communication skills. 

A great public speaker knows how significant exercising is in enhancing your craft. More than sharpening your technical skills, speech exercises help you build more confidence over time. 

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