Games That Help Improve Oral Presentation Skills

Oral presentation skills are important for everyone from students to presidents.
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Public-speaking issues can range from cases of stage fright to problems with organizational skills or memory. To combat these potential problems, you can try playing games that mimic different public-speaking environments while removing the air of seriousness that surrounds them. Also, having a friend or two who can join you and provide objective feedback can help tremendously.

1 Mimicry

Delivery is an important aspect of oral presentation, and mimicking great orators is a helpful tool in developing those skills. Choose a televised speech -- or a portion of one -- and reenact it, attempting to accurately mimic the speaker's delivery. If possible, videotape yourself or have a friend listen and note which elements of your delivery stand out. You or your friend may note tone of voice, physical gestures, eye contact, speech tempo and pauses when analyzing your delivery.

2 Ghost Stories

Successful orating shares characteristics with successful storytelling. Play a game in which you and some friends or colleagues sit around a mock campfire and tell ghost stories to each other. (These could be existing stories or those made up on the spot.) After each story, discuss with the group which aspects kept listeners interested and which did not. Ask the group to pay particular attention to your tone of voice and tempo, along with your word choice and details, and how these different storytelling techniques affected the tension of the tale.

3 Remote Control

Arguing a point and backing it up with valid reasons and evidence under pressure is a valuable speaking skill, and the remote-control game creates a situation in which you will have to summon these skills to succeed. Ask a friend to play the role of keeper of the remote control. You will play the role of the person who wants the remote control. Then, you argue -- without devolving into name-calling and absurdity -- over who gets the remote. Try switching roles. Record your arguments, either on video or on paper, and then analyze for successful and unsuccessful argument strategies.

4 Mock Interviews

All orators must rely on their memory and organizational skills to speak clearly and intelligently in an interview, debate or another situation in which the speaker does not know exactly what he will need to say. First, choose a position on a particular subject about which you hold a strong opinion (for example, smoking and whether tobacco should be illegal), and jot down some main points you would like to communicate. Then, ask a friend to interview you about your position. Record audio of each interview so that you can review it and analyze how you react to unexpected questions and are able to speak extemporaneously and successfully about the subject.

Christopher Cascio is a memoirist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and literature from Southampton Arts at Stony Brook Southampton, and a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in the rhetoric of fiction from Pennsylvania State University. His literary work has appeared in "The Southampton Review," "Feathertale," "Kalliope" and "The Rose and Thorn Journal."