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Fun Public Speaking Assignments For High School

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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.

14. Definitions

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.

15. Endings

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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Public Speaking Activities

5 fun speech exercises

These public speaking activities are designed to develop speech fluency and confidence and are easily adaptable to groups of all ages and skill levels: from newcomers to advanced.

I've used them and know they work. You'll find that people become so involved with the fun and enjoyment that they forget to be fearful!

1. Interview Introductions

Interview Introductions are a great way to break the ice with a new group of people. The exercise has them finding out about each other and then introducing the person they interviewed to the class.

As it's a lot less threatening or scary to talk about someone else rather than yourself, you'll find people respond really positively as they're generally eager to represent the person they interviewed well.

Instructions

  • Divide your group into pairs.
  • Each person interviews the other in turn. The information gained forms the basis of a brief introduction speech they'll give to the whole group when the interviewing process is complete.
  • Ask them to find out their partner's name, where they live/work, what hobbies they have, what their favorite book, film, song...is, what they're most proud of (an achievement perhaps), what they hope for from the class, something funny that happened in their childhood, where they go for holidays, what they think about the latest local issue ...
  • When the group comes back together the introductions begin:
    "This is Mary from Taupo. When she's not working for the Social Welfare Department she's collecting stamps. Her favorites are ..."

2. Image Starters

Gather up a collection of interesting images/photos from magazines or newspapers - enough for your class to have one each and then a few spare.

Place them face down and have everybody pick one.

Using the image as a prompt, what can they share about it? 

Questions to get started are:

  • Where is this photo/image from?
    (And the answer doesn't have to be true - merely plausible! Encourage imaginative creativity.)
  • What's happening in this photo/picture?
  • What feelings does the image evoke?
  • Is there a season or time associated with it?
  • What happened after or before the photo was taken?

3. For/Against

This public speaking activity encourages flexibility; the ability to see a topic from opposing sides.

A speaker has 30 seconds to talk 'for' a topic and then another 30 seconds to speak 'against' it.

Prepare and print out a selection of controversial speech topics. You'll need one per person.

Sample topics:

  • money is the root of all evil
  • a country gets the government it deserves
  • 'green' politics are just the current fashion
  • pets in apartments should be banned
  • marriage is essentially a business contract
  • 'Religion is the opiate of the masses' Karl Marx
  • poverty is a state of mind
  • euthanasia is unjustifiable
  • global warming is media hype
  • cloning animals should be banned
  • animal testing is immoral

4. The Object of my Affection

Gather up a collection of small objects, for example: a toy car, a can of sardines, a hair ribbon, an old black and white photographic portrait, a pair of baby shoes .... 

Put all of them into a non-see through bag.

Each speaker puts their hand into the bag and pulls out an object. Whatever they get forms the basis of their speech.

Ideas to kick-start the imagination:

  • This ... {insert the name of whatever it is the speaker has in their hand} saved my life. It happened like this...
  • Whenever I see a ...{insert the name of whatever it is the speaker has in their hand} it reminds me of the time I...
  • I collect ...{insert the name of whatever it is the speaker has in their hand} and this one is the prize of my collection. It used to belong to ...

5. Conducted Speech

This belongs in the group category of public speaking activities. It is noisy, effective and fun!

Select a tongue twister from this page of diction exercises eg. "Sister Susie is sewing shirts for soldiers".

Divide your class into groups of four. Three in each group will be the speakers and the fourth, the conductor.

The speakers repeat the tongue twister responding to the conductor's direction. He/she can make them go faster or slower, louder or quieter.

The goal of the exercise is to practice articulation coupled with vocal variety ie. speech rate and volume.

Swap the conductor role around to give everybody a turn.

If you liked these games ...

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28 public speaking games (with many more variations and extensions), full instructions, PLUS printable topic, tongue twister, poem and image sheets.

A complete one-stop-select-print-go public speaking resource for busy people.

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For more freebie public speaking activities visit these pages:

  • Word games - a collection of tried and tested speech class activities for middle school upwards
  • Another 7 fun-filled public speaking games for groups
  • Improv games - a collection of excellent drama games for groups
  • Public speaking exercises - these focus on the individual speaker- how to breathe well, stand, use eye contact effectively ...

What's the difference between these freebie pages of activities and your ebook?

The ebook contains the best of all the games from these pages and then some more strictly Susan specials, PLUS detailed instructions on how to use them.

You'll find out how to select them for a class, introduce them for maximum effect, integrate them into your lesson plans, and so on. It also has all the topics, tongue twisters, images etc that you need to play available as printables.

It's a one-stop, time saving resource that you'll return to time, and time again. Why not check it out?



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