When it comes to surveys that identifies what our greatest fears are, public speaking frequently top these lists. According to an article published by The Washington Post, more than 25% of Americans surveyed fear public speaking, making it the number 1 fear of all Americans (see article titled America’s top fears: Public speaking, heights and bugs, published by the Washington Post on 30 October, 2014). Delivering a speech in public is more fearful than heights, bugs, snakes, and drowning!
One way to mitigate this fear of public speaking is to play public speaking games! These games encourage people to stand up and speak, without fear of embarrassment or judgement.
Here are 3 classic public speaking games that you can play with your family and friends.
Game #1: The Story Behind The Item
Prepare a starter list of events or things.
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…
Each speaker is to give an account of the story or history behind the thing or event. It needn’t be factual! The goal of this public speaking game is to cultivate credible fluency and impromptu speaking skills.
Game #2: Speak About This Phrase
Prepare a list of phrases.
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’…
Each speaker is to speak about the phrase they have been given. Set a time limit, e.g. 2 minutes per speech attempt. The purpose of this game is to cultivate creativity and impromptu speaking skills.
Game #3: Spot The Lie
This game fosters imagination, fluency and 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 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 are to be true. The third is not.
When they’ve finished speaking, ask the class to identify the lie.
PS. This makes a great icebreaker for groups getting together for the first time.
There you go, three amazing games you can use right away during your next gathering with friends or family. If you are a teacher, you can use these games to promote new opportunities for your students to speak up in class or share a story. The bottom line is to create as many chances to speak, in as fun a manner as possible. Public speaking need not be fearful and intimidating!
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