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STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE SPEAKING SKILLS

Improving speaking skills begins with fostering student motivation and effective teaching..
What do you do when students don t want to put that extra mile to do a speaking presentation, so they get cold feet and read from their notes just to get by. Improving speaking skills takes a lot of classroom practice, motivation to speak, and skill. Sometimes it is necessary to think beyond the box, adding creative elements wherever possible depending of course, on the skills of your students and how open they are to creative thinking.

Improving the speaking skills of your students may be difficult, but the added benefit is building confidence in students for speaking skills and strategies. Even though the professional years are still way in the future, help your students by starting small. Teach both speaking and listening activities, sometimes even in one lesson, while preparing them for that future presentation.

That way, students don t feel the pressure and burden when it comes their turn to present a presentation due to remembering the fear of those earlier years during those speaking activities.

Teaching Activity Using Speaking Activities.


Depending on the variety of visual resources and class level and ability, a teacher can brainstorm with the class a variety of sentences, (key) words, and phrases around a particular category or situational context that is the building block for a presentation. Follow-up with a memory game or exercise. Students then work in pairs writing down or translating the words they remember.

Effective Teaching Continues


Another teaching activity involves asking questions or presenting statements that are not true about themselves, and then asking their friends to decide whether they are true or false. Students have a lot of fun with this one. Play Adjectives All Around! Students have one minute to present all the adjectives they can in a sentence.

The other student then tries and guess who the person is. Make sure they include a minimum of five adjectives and no more than seven or eight. A teacher can use this activity to draw the students attention to the different categories that make up an adjective.

Additional Tips for Improving Speaking Skills


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Allot a time limit for each and every speaking activity. Take into consideration those activities that involve either group or pair work. Keep the activity fun and simple. Make sure the instructions are also crystal clear. Dont overdo speaking activities in one lesson. Make sure you aim for a balance between speaking and listening. Have a back-up plan for the entire class and for individual students who are withdrawn. Always reflect on what can you do as a teacher to help students improve their speaking skills.

The more diverse and creative your speaking activities become, the easier it will be for you to train your students to improve their speaking skills and speaking exercises will become much more automatic.

10 Ways to Improve Public Speaking Skills


Good public speaking skills are important to career success and social effectiveness. Thankfully, there are sure-fire ways to improve speaking skills.

Anyone wishing to advance their career or improve their personal effectiveness should concentrate on improving communication skills. Being able to articulate one's thoughts, ideas, proposals, and suggestions in both writing and speaking will go a long way toward insuring professional success. While one doesn't need to be an orator on the level of Martin Luther King, Jr. or William Jennings Bryan, an effective public speaker is well positioned for success. Fortunately, there are ways virtually guaranteed to improve public speaking skills. Here are 10 ways to become a better public speaker: 1. Study great speakers -- Those hoping to become better speakers should study great speakers. There are numerous examples of great orators in history, from Demosthenes to Winston Churchill and from Frederick Douglass to Billy Graham. Read their speeches. Study the context of their greatest speeches (who was their audience? what were they trying to get the audience to believe or do? what were the obstacles to that goal?) and how they spoke within that context (how did

they tap into the minds of their listeners? how did they address the obstacles? what was their strategy?). If you want to be the best, learn from the best. 2. Speak with a goal -- In his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey advises readers to "Begin with the end in mind." This is a great principle for public speakers. Never get up in front of an audience without a clear objective. Is the goal to inform or entertain or both? Is the goal to persuade? Is the objective to move the audience to action? If so, what action do you wish the audience to take? 3. Speak with enthusiasm -- No one wants to listen to a boring speaker. The key to holding an audience's attention to speak with passion and enthusiasm. Legendary orator William Jennings Bryan described eloquence as "thought on fire." The great Methodist preacher John Wesley once said: "When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn." Be passionate about the goals of your presentation and let that enthusiasm flow through you. 4. Know your audience -- Your speaking style will be different (or at least it should be different) when you're speaking to elementary school students as opposed to Fortune 500 chief executives. Not only will you need to

adjust the content of your presentation (vocabulary, illustrations, etc.), but you'll also need to match your personality and style to that of your audience. One should be more enthusiastic than his or her audience. After all, enthusiasm is critical and contagious (see previous point). However, a hand-clapping, cheerleader style presentation designed to thrill pre-teens might not go over as well with well-heeled business executives. 5. Know your topic -- Knowledge breeds confidence. Ignorance breeds nervousness and fear. Never go into a presentation unprepared. 6. Smile -- One of the most important things a person can do to achieve likability is to smile. A smile conveys happiness, confidence, and enthusiasm. It helps the person wearing the smile to think positive, happy thoughts, and it tends to draw those same thoughts out of others as well. There are, of course, times one should not smile, but smiling should be the default facial expression. Not a forced, exaggerated smile, but a relaxed, natural one. 7. Practice regulated breathing -- This tip is especially for those who struggle with public speaking fear. Before you get up to the podium or stand in front of the group, regulate your breathing. Make sure your brain is getting plenty of oxygen, and make sure you use

breathing to maintain a calm, deliberate demeanor. 8. Expect the best from yourself -- Banish worries and fears. Don't let negative thoughts rob you of your confidence. By doing your homework (knowing your audience, topic, and objectives), you have every reason to be confident.

9. Understand the audience wants you to

succeed -- While there may be a rare, strange person in the group (or perhaps a personal enemy), the overwhelming majority of your audience wants you to give a great speech. They are rooting for your success. The reason why is because they'd rather listen to a great speaker than a bad one. Draw confidence from the fact that you and your audience have a common, positive goal. 10. Develop a servant's heart -- The audience isn't there to serve you. Rather, you are there to serve them. Make a conscious decision to like and respect your audience, and to want to give them your very best. Be a servant. Serve your audience. If you're giving a comedy

presentation, your goal is to help them laugh, not for your sake, but for theirs. Many of them had a rough day or are in the midst of a tough situation. They need a humorous break. That's your job. If you're giving a persuasive presentation, try to persuade them, not so it benefits you, but because you believe that what you have to offer will truly help them. Serve your audience. By doing one's homework, establishing clear objectives, and developing the right perspective and attitude, anyone can become a more effective and successful public speaker. Improving one's public speaking skills takes time, work, and patience, but it can be done. And it's well worth it.