Public Speaking Activities

  • Using a mirror, practice “friendly” facial expressions (e.g., smile and use eye contact with your audience). Compare the difference between friendly, confident facial expression and other types of expression such as: sad, fearful and angry.
  • Role play: In a group, have the “group leader” ask for everyone to stand and introduce themselves. Then, have each person tell one thing that makes him/her unique (for example: a hobby, an unusual favorite food, etc.). Using friendly facial expression and straight upright posture, the speaker should introduce him/herself and talk about their unique trait, making sure everyone in the group can hear him/her.
  • Using pictures of friends and family, discuss these pictured individuals’ facial expression, personalities, eye contact, etc.
  • Discuss Captain Courage’s public speaking tips at the back of the book, and come up with a list of people you think are effective, confident speakers like Captain Courage.
  • Write down all the things that happen to you when you get nervous before speaking (for example: sweaty palms, butterflies in your stomach, rapid heartbeat, flushing, fidgeting). Then, put a check mark next to each stagefright symptom that your audience will not even notice, such as a rapid heartbeat—they can’t see that! Notice just how many of these symptoms are not able to be detected by audience members.
  • Prepare a practice presentation about a favorite book of yours. Take the first sentence of this practice presentation and memorize it. Then, deliver the presentation to a group of peers, friends or loved ones and get feedback from them. Ask them about how you were standing (e.g., straight vs. slumped), how your voice sounded, and if you stumbled on your words.
  • Extended practice: Deliver the entire presentation you have prepared from #6 above. Practice in front of a mirror, then in front of a group. Again, ask for feedback from your audience. Notice how much you improve through practice.