Public speaking can be a very daunting task. It can fill you up with tons of anxiety and uncertainty as you can never be sure if your audience will find you interesting or not. But fret not there are ways in which you can make public speaking fun, for both yourself as well as your audience!
It is believed that a good public speaker is someone knowledgeable, confident, likable, accurate, and whatnot. And while these characteristics are widely appreciated if you possess them; if you don’t, it’s alright as well. You don’t have you beat yourself up.
The idea behind public speaking is to find your unique style which comes either naturally or easily to you. And that is what this blog would guide you with.
However, when you are given the task of public speaking be it a speech, a talk, a presentation, or even a competition, there are a few reasons why you might not find the idea of public speaking fun.
What makes public speaking a challenge?
Usually, it is the anxiety that comes with speaking in front of a crowd that gets the best of any speaker. Identifying the reason why someone avoids public speaking is important. Once you know their pain points, you can engage them in activities that help them work on them and feel more confident while speaking in front of an audience.
Some of the reasons why public speaking can be a daunting task are:
1. Stage Fright
As discussed having a fear of speaking in front of so many people could be one of the reasons why one would avoid public speaking.
Another reason to find public speaking tricky is when you find it difficult to recall information.
While you can read from your notes, it was always appreciated when you are able to talk confidently without your notes. This would require you to either memorize your content or know the flow of it.
However, it would be difficult if you tend to forget easily and that could make you go blank. Previous experience of such incidents further would limit you from engaging in public speaking.
3. Low self-confidence
Having low confidence in yourself and your public speaking ability comes in the way of giving an effective speech or presentation.
But guess what? you can work on yourself to improve your confidence in yourself while public speaking.
Ample practice is one way of doing it. Use positive mental imagery wherein you imagine the audience clipping for you after you are done with your talk. You can also avoid comparing yourself to others so as to focus more on your own public speaking skills and thus directly and quickly boosting your low self-confidence.
For more ways to boost your confidence, check out 7 Tips to Build Confidence in Public Speaking.
When you have been scared of something so such a long time, it is hard to understand how exactly can someone enjoy it. We are here to clarify that to you.
What makes public speaking fun?
When people say that they enjoy public speaking, it could be because it boosts their confidence and makes them want to do it all over again. Here are a few possible reasons why public speaking can be fun for some people.
1. Chance to interact with people
Public speaking is all about talking, listening, and interacting with people.
2. An opportunity to be heard
Public speaking is an opportunity to share your opinions and understanding on various topics. For some people being heard by the audience, and getting their feedback and views can be quite exciting.
3. To share stories
One of the major components of any form of public speaking is storytelling. Telling stories and sharing your experience could actually be a very fun and wholesome experience that some people look forward to.
Activities to make public speaking fun for adults
To make public speaking fun for adults, the activities should focus equal amounts on knowledge building, flow building, and fun.
A few activities that can be used with adults to make public speaking fun are given below. It is best if there is a group of 4-10 people to practice it with as it broadens the scope of learning from each other.
Inspired by the popular show named shark tank where you pitch your product to the “sharks” who are entrepreneurs or business owners doing well in their respective fields.
The idea is to make group members pitch their ideas, opinions, or even products to these sharks who could be other members of the group.
It would help enhance their marketing skills and the ability to creatively offer something of their own.
For example, the members of the group can be asked to pitch their ideas on alternatives to petrol. Someone could pitch diesel, electronic vehicles, solar-powered vehicles, and more.
Another popular game that would enhance not only one’s public speaking skills but also would help the members enhance their thought-building skills and listening skills.
The activity would begin with the first person starting with an imaginary story. Each member would get a specified time to contribute to the story. It could be anywhere between 20-45 seconds.
The other person has to carefully listen to what has been said and then continue adding to the story until their time is up. And this goes on until the last person concludes.
An example of this is given below:
Person 1: James was walking down the hallway of his school. But something seemed strange. He was sweating and looking across his shoulders. He seemed scared.
Person 2: It looked like someone was following him, so I decide to check on him, just to make sure nothing bad happens to him. As I walk behind him,
Person 3: He sees me. So, I run to hide but I hear his footsteps getting closer to me. I get into a class and close the door behind me.
Person 4: It seems as if James couldn’t find me. I take a sigh of relief but then I feel someone’s hand over my shoulder. It’s him.
Person 5: James. With the look in his eyes, I know what he has done. The body in the locker room, he killed her.
Most of the words have a definition that quite a lot of people are aware of. But what if, you came up with your definition of a word and then gave the speech accordingly.
I believe an example would help you understand it better. During the commencement speech given by Ellen DeGeneres, she quite uniquely comes up with her way of defining commencement speech.
She says how she had no idea what commencement meant so she let her logic do the work and came up with her way of defining “commencement.”
Common and cement. Commoncement.Ellen DeGeneres
Activities to make public speaking fun for students
Activities for students would comprise a larger group of participants and hence must be short so that each student can participate.
In this activity, all the students would assume the role of secret agents who are on a mission. They are to take any object in the class and explain to the class how that object could be either a piece of evidence or a weapon.
This activity would stir up their investigative minds. It will also help build their confidence in impromptu public speaking.
If for instance the students are told that there has been an attempted murder in the class and they are to find the evidence, a student can come up with a bottle of water that could contain poison or could have been used to hit the victim.
There are all sorts of possibilities that the kids can come up with.
Another way to make public speaking fun for students is by enacting a drama while a student narrates it. The students can take turns narrating and enacting.
The reason why this is an excellent activity to make public speaking fun for students is that it works on their gestures and expressions as much as it does on their speaking skills.
An amazing way to work on your student’s public speaking skills as well as social skills is this game of complimenting.
The idea is very simple, each student has to compliment one other student on any one thing that they appreciate about them. This would also require the students to work on their observational skills.
Public speaking activities at home
We understand that it isn’t always possible to practice public speaking in a group, so here are a few ways you can make public speaking fun for yourself at the comfort of your home.
It is an activity wherein you take any intriguing photo or video either from your gallery or online and come up with a story behind it.
You can video-record yourself and check it later to see how you did.
This activity helps you build flow. It can also boost your confidence when you are presented with an impromptu speech to give.
Assuming you select the image below for your photo story activity, you can create a story on the lines given below.
Jack and Julie were unlike any other couple we would find these days. Even after 50 years of living together, they adored each other just the same. Although people said that jack was turning into an old baby with his ever-increasing inconsiderate demands, Julie knew that he was somewhere doing it to get the weight off of her shoulders. And Julie, well she was becoming a little forgetful the past couple of years but Jack had her back. They enjoyed each other’s company as much as they enjoyed life. At 74, they’d go to watch the most recent rom-com while sharing their cola, a tradition they had been following since they were in college. “It’s just for these traditions that have kept us strong all the while, else I’d have packed my bags before turning 30 for sure,” Jack jokingly says.
There are tons of approaches to telling a story like nested loops which involves telling 3 or more narratives at a time. You can also try out the sparkling technique through which you try to instill hope just like Martin Luther King Jr. did with his “I have a dream” speech.
To know about approaches to storytelling, check out 9 Storytelling Approaches For Your Next Speech or Presentation.
Auction at Home
An absolutely fun activity wherein you take up any object from your house and present it to an imaginary audience as if you were to auction the item and needed the highest bidding for the same.
It definitely would refine your persuading skills while working on your vocabulary too. You can again video record yourself to see how you did.
For an example of this, let’s assume you own this beautiful set of vases. A way in which you can auction them to yourself is:
If you are into designing your house in the most aesthetic and Instagram-pleasing way possible, you might be aware of how difficult it is to find that perfect vase for that perfect spot in your home, right?
What if I told you, you don’t have to worry anymore? That’s right. Here is a set of beautifully designed unique vases, all different from the others, that suits perfectly if you want to keep them individually or in a set. And that isn’t even the best part about it, They come in such excellently crafted colors that would fit perfectly in your room even if it is a shade of nude creme or neon green. Now a deal like this would ideally cost you a fortune, but you are in luck here as these 6 vases are available for the price of 4.
Games to Make Public Speaking Fun
While activities are a fun participative thing, games bring with them a little bit of challenge for the participants. There is a possibility of being wrong, getting eliminated, time limitations as well as other fun-filled challenges that make it different from your activities that make public speaking fun
Games to Make Public Speaking Fun for Adults
Say No to Fillers
An absolutely fun game, Say No to Fillers is a simple game wherein the task of the person is to speak on a topic for 30 – 60 seconds without using any fillers like “Uh” and “Um.”
To make the game more challenging, the participants can be given a topic on the spot. The game helps in working on filler words which happen to be one of the biggest barriers to effective public speaking.
One minute speeches
As the name suggests, one-minute speeches would help the participants enhance their public speaking skills and also work on time management.
You can also add a buzzer to indicate that the time is up, just make it a little more fun.
A game that helps you work on your storytelling skills, a 3-word story is an absolutely fun-filled game.
The game requires you to come up with random words and write them on a small piece of paper. You can collect these paper pieces in a jar and then ask the participant to pick any 3 words. The task of the participant is to creatively craft a story that would include all three words or scenarios.
An example similar to a 3-word story would be the time Nicki Minaj freestyled using three words Hexagon, Yeti, and Edible Arrangement.
Games to Make Public Speaking Fun for Students
Define Bee is a game that would help enhance students’ knowledge and understanding of various new terms.
Each student will be given a word. They are supposed to explain the definition of the word in front of the class.
To make it more competitive, each student can be given words until they make a mistake. The scores of students can then be tallied to see who the winner is.
Elect me is a game that taps on the political and negotiating side of students. The game requires the students to assume that they are the candidates for the upcoming elections and are to make a public appearance.
The students can be given a situation by their teacher or guardian. And they have to make a convincing speech to their classmates on why they are the best candidate for the post and why they should be elected. A small poll can be taken after the speech of all participating students to know who convinced their classmates the most.
Moving story is like story-continuation but it is a more flexible game. You can make changes to the game as per your needs.
It is best when a group of 5-10 students are participating in the game. Each student will get 20 seconds to add something to the story that the first student begins with.
One form of a moving story is when one student ends their part of the story with a particular word which the following student must either begin with or include in his/her part of the story.
Another form of a moving story is when all the students have to include a particular word when they speak, failing which they would be out of the game.
Online Public Speaking Games
- Language Playroom: An amazing site filled with tons of games focusing on language building and vocabulary building. The games are curated for children and are completely free. Check out their games for enhancing vocabulary at Vocabulary Booster.
- Brainpop: Brainpop’s The Meaning of Beep for kids and Sortify for adults are games worth trying. Sortify has games that help you work on nouns and parts of speech.
- Orai: Orai is an app that helps you with your speeches and presentations to turn you into a confident public speaker. It provides a detailed report of your speech as well.
- Rhetoric: A fantastic website and app with games to make public speaking fun. The app charges you a small fee to access all the games.
Funny Public Speaking Games to Try
How many times have you claimed that you are good at tongue twisters only to get it wrong right away?
In my case, it is a gazillion time and counting.
You can try tongue twisters as it happens to be a hilarious public speaking game, especially when you try it in a group.
A few examples of tongue twisters are:
- Did Doug dig David’s garden or did David dig Doug’s garden?
- Round the rugged rocks, the ragged rascal ran.
- Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper, Where’s the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked?
- She sells sea shells on the sea shore.
2 Truths 1 lie
Another very popular game is 2 truths 1 lie. The idea behind this game is that one person comes forward to tell others three things about them. Others are supposed to pick out the one that could be a lie.
The game will make you weak in your knees as you try to find that lie and don’t get us started on the number of secrets that you might unearth.
The ball is in your court
A very fun game to help you make public speaking fun and improve your catching game as well. The ball is in your court and requires a group of 5-10 people and a football-sized ball.
The idea is is to stand or sit in a circle and throw the ball around. The person who catches the ball is supposed to talk about a topic that the group decides before beginning the game. Each person is to make quick points and pass the ball to anyone in the group.
This game helps in making short and crisp points, something that comes in handy during short speeches.
Would you rather?
Would you rather? is a game that can be played by both adults as well as students. The participant will be given 2 choices or situations and they are to decide on which one they choose and why.
You can try to add the most hilarious situations to the game like, Would you rather have Beyoncé’s talent or Jay-Z‘s business acumen?
For more funny Would you rather questions, check out 250 Best Would You Rather Questions.
If I had a penny every time I ….
This is a game you must try the next time you are with your friends. This game is all about pouring your heart out and being as hilarious as you can be.
The only catch is that you have to start by saying “If I had a penny every time I” and then add your experiences to that.
A few examples are given below:
- If I had a penny every time I gave my honest opinion of my boss’s new idea, I’d be homeless.
- If I had a penny every time I said yes to going out with my friends and bailing out the last me, I’d be so rich even Bill Gates would be jealous.
- If I had a penny every time I go to the gym after signing up for a yearlong gym membership, I might be able to afford a single Reese’s peanut butter cup.
Ways to make your speech fun for your audience
To make your speech or presentation fun for your audience, a simple rule is to have as much fun while presenting as you expect the audience to have when they listen to you.
A few activities to make your speech fun for your audience are:
Engage the audience
By engaging your audience, we mean making them a part of your speech or presentation. Make your audience participate or move. You can do that by including an action story.
Action stories are when one speaker speaks while the others enact. An example of an action story is the one by The Minimalists where one speaker speaks while the other enacts.
In a similar manner, you can ask the audience to follow your directions as you present your speech. If there are more speakers that the audience can follow the directions or actions of the other speaker. This works well when the audience comprises young students or children.
You can incorporate activities that all members of the audience can be a part of. Stacey Schuerman has done it so effortlessly when she makes the audience experience the bliss of breathing.
The other way you can do it is by asking volunteers or members of the audience to come to the stage. A good example here is Dr.Alan Watkins’s Ted talk wherein he calls a volunteer to show how easy it is to create chaos in one’s biology.
To learn more ways to engage your audience check out 11 Engaging Ways To Interact With The Audience.
Word substitution is a fun way of substituting any one overly used word in your speech with a funny word. It is also called the Oink method wherein any word is substituted for Oink.
So, an example would be
I was walking at the beach the other day when I stumbled upon a piece of a plastic container, near the shore!
Now when we substitute “I” for “oink”, it would be something like
Oink was walking at the beach the other day when Oink stumbled upon a piece of a plastic container, near the shore!
Another amazing example of this used in speech was by a Florida Grad who was forbidden to use the word “Gay” so instead, he used “Curly hairs” as a substitute.
If there is something you can be extremely innovative with to make public speaking fun, is your use of props. Props come up as amazing visual aid for your audience and are also one of the most interesting accessories that your speech can adorn.
Props are an effortless way to grab your audience’s attention.
You can use anything as a prop, be it a hula hoop, a rose, or even underwear!
No kidding. Check out the phenomenal way in which Toastmasters champion, Darren made use of underwear as a prop in his speech.
A background check
Now, this is something that not everyone can include in their public speaking yet we have included it here just in case it fits perfectly for you to add in your next speech.
Background check as we would like to define is when you give the audience a chance to relate to seeing where you are coming from. How can you do it?
Sing a song! Maybe a dance will do. Anything that is in line with your topic. Being unique, it stands out effortlessly.
An example of this is the TED talk by Claudio where she explains how her musical instruments have become her safe place.
Public speaking can be a very daunting task but the good news is that you can make it fun!
Make a self-assessment of the reasons why you don’t particularly enjoy public speaking or the reasons why you find it challenging. Once you get the results, you can accordingly engage in some fun activities to make public speaking both easier and enjoyable for you.
As we said, it is equally important for you to enjoy your speech as much as you’d want your audience to enjoy listening to it.