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

Hobby: stamp collection

Interview Introductions are a great way to break the ice with a new group of people. This 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.

  • 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 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

Mr Fast and Friendly

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

dollar sign

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

Little girl dressed for her 1st communion 1932

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

painting of a soldier

This belongs in the group category of public speaking activities and 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 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.


E-book cover: Public Speaking Games

If you liked these games ...

You'll love my book!

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.

Find out more.


For more freebie public speaking activities visit these pages:

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

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