4 Public Speaking Exercises

Posted on August 29, 2013

Make the person next to you laugh – RIGHT NOW!

Unless you’re sitting next to a child, it’s not very easy to be funny on command. Why I signed up for the Toastmasters Humorous Speech Competition is beyond me right now. My habit of jumping in head first and finding out how deep the water is afterwards might have finally caught up to me.

Thankfully there’s 12 days until the competition so there’s still time to implement a ‘training regimen’. Here’s what my Public Speaking Training Regimen will look like leading up to my first big speech – since college at least:

Workout Equipment Needed:

- Video camera – cell phone is fine

- Voice recorder – cell phone is fine

- Live ‘audiences’ – thankfully I will have 2 opportunities to practice this speech to my Toastmasters group before the competition, but even just practicing on family and friends is vital

Exercises:

  1. Daily (minimum) Practice! Practice! Practice! My time to practice my speech is while I’m driving. I record every single ‘practice session’. Every time I’m in my car, (the shower is another good place to practice) I’m alternating between listening to my last recording or practicing my speech again. This helps you recognize your own improvement and areas you’re struggling with. My speech is also only 5-7 minutes long, so if you have a longer speech break it up into different parts to practice at different times if needed.
  2. Videotape in front of a live audience (2/week min): My schedule is packed with family gatherings until the competition- so I’m sure they won’t mind taking 5 minutes to listen to my humorous speech. They’re family so they’re obligated to, right? Word of caution though to not take your family and friend’s advice to heart all the time. You’ll know the audience you’re speaking to better than they will.
  3. Study the film: Just like athletes study film, you have to do the same. It’s brutal, I know, but remember that you are your worst critic. This is by far my least favorite part of practicing for my speech, but I would rather know now instead of after the competition that my nervous shifting makes it look like I have to use the bathroom.
  4. Visualize (daily min.): My dad taught me the power of visualization when I started competition shooting by telling me the legend of a POW improving his golf handicap by playing a round of golf in his prison cell every day. Legend or not, I firmly believe that visualizing shooting bullseye after bullseye before going to bed every night played a big part in me winning state for competition shooting.

Do you have any other advice for me of how to prepare for my big speech?

UPDATE

It worked- I won my area contest last night and will be competing at the Toastmasters Divisional Competition soon! Read why this means so much to me.

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  • Craig

    One tip when reviewing your video is to play it in fast forward. This helps you pick up on annoying repetitive actions that you might not otherwise notice.

    • Shawnee Huie

      Thank you, Craig! I never would have thought of that.