Giving a speech is difficult in any language. Teach your students that it is natural to be nervous, but there are presentation skills they can develop to become better at public speaking.
Use these ESL speech activities to help students improve their posture, eye contact, gestures, and voice.
Jump to ESL Oral Presentation Activities
There are three basic types of speeches: Informative, Demonstrative, and Persuasive (See Speech Topics at bottom).
An informative speech tells the audience about something. It does not try to persuade. It’s only purpose is to give the facts. You can give an informative speech on just about anything.
A demonstrative speech tells or shows the audience how to do something. It gives clear steps from start to finish. Examples include how to cook a dish, how to build a house, or how to play a sport.
A persuasive speech tells the audience why they should do something. It gives clear reasons why the audience should change their mind and agree with the speaker.
There are four basic types of delivery: Impromptu, Outline, Manuscript, and Memorized.
Impromptu speeches are generally short and require little to no preparation. Usually there aren’t any written notes. The speaker must think on the spot. It’s common to be asked to give an impromptu speech at a special occasion like a wedding or to accept an award.
Using an outline is the most common type of speech delivery. The speaker prepares an outline which highlights key words and facts. Because there is something written, it is harder to maintain eye contact than an impromptu speech.
A speech with a manuscript has every word written down, so the speaker does not forget to say anything. It takes a lot of practice to sound natural with a manuscript because written English is slightly different from spoken English.
A memorized speech is the most difficult and takes a lot of preparation. The speaker must write a manuscript and then memorize every word. This is the popular route of the Speech Contests that I’ve experienced in Japan. The speaker can practice gestures and intonation, but memorized speeches usually sound lifeless and unnatural.
Speaking of Speech and Getting Ready for Speech are good resources for more ESL oral presentation activities.
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I'm Becki, the Co-Founder and the one who put up all these great speaking activities. We’re here to provide enjoyable lessons for teachers like you! Learn more
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