Tip 58: Breaking Through the Fear of Public Speaking

Break through the fear of public speaking using a game.

Siobhan Curious asked a question: What games work in school?

And her commenters told her. One that sounded particularly useful, interesting, and easy to work with was from Sharon Sept-Isles.

Another game I use is “Panic” –a deck of cards with categories on them (“farm animals, soft things, outdoor sports, pastas, etc.” Students need to name five (or three, or seven –you decide) things in that category. It is amazing how difficult it is to think when you are the one on the spot (and how well you can think when it is not your turn!). I have used this in English to introduce the idea of extemporaneous speaking; it can be modified from the original game by having a student speak for 30 seconds on the given topic (My favourite pizza toppings are onions, ham, pineapple and sweet peppers. This combination is called a Hawaiian pizza, but not everyone in my family enjoys it as much as I do…until 30 seconds are up). I use it in Humanities to loosen students up for the challenge of speaking in front of each other. A game is much less intimidating than a presentation, so it is a helpful stepping stone.

Go forth and do likewise.

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