Session 7 Mentor Guidance – Public speaking


Public speaking is a skill used by many people in their work or during their time in education or training. It is also something that many of us are called to do at key times in our lives such as weddings or other family events.

For many people public speaking is associated with fear and worry. As with any fears or worries these can be overcome if we practise and build our confidence. For many of us the fears associated with public speaking are based firstly on the belief that we are not good enough and nobody will listen to us. Secondly we believe that there are those in the audience who know more than us and that we are simply not prepared enough.

These beliefs are of course false but to deal with them is not easy – there are however techniques that can be used. An effective public speaker has learned to deal with the physiological effects that are generated through the release of adrenalin in stressful situations. They have learned ways of establishing rapport with an audience and they have become desensitised to the feeling that everybody in the audience is looking at them.

This part of the Ambassadors training programme is aimed at helping the Ambassadors learn these skills through practice and through the realisation that the way in which we deliver a message is often more important than the actual words that we say.

The content of the various annexes associated with this session can be found below. This enables the content to be translated by the translation plugin available in this site.

Content of Annex 1 – Definition of Public Speaking

Public speaking (also called oratory or oration) is the process or act of performing a speech to a live audience. This type of speech is deliberately structured with three general purposes: to inform, to persuade and to entertain. Public speaking is commonly understood as formal, face-to-face speaking of a single person to a group of listeners. Public speaking can be governed by different rules and structures. For example, speeches about concepts do not necessarily have to be structured in any special way. However, there is a method behind giving it effectively. For this type of speech it would be good to describe that concept with examples that can relate to the audiences life.

Content of Annex 2 Text to be used for tone, volume and timing exercise

Option 1

Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb

Mary had a little lamb

Whose fleece was white as snow.

And everywhere that Mary went

Mary went, Mary went,

Everywhere that Mary went

The lamb was sure to go.

Option 2

‘Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realise that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back!’

Option 3

How can I try to explain, when I do he turns away again
It’s always been the same, same old story
From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen
Now there’s a way and I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go

Content of Annex 3 – Public Speaking Role Plays

Role Plays

Telephone Conversation

Telephone conversations are good because, unlike ordinary face to face conversations, they require people to listen solely to the words. Normally, you would have the students sit back-to-back and pretend they actually are on the phone. Appropriate telephone manner is then taught during this, such as always saying “hello” when answering the phone (this is particularly important when it comes to business, always answer with “hello”).

You want to find out about a part time job they have advertised; however, you could not download the details. You are interested and want to know more

Going to the Shop

For this role play, you can teach the basic vocabulary. If students are planning on going abroad soon, then this will allow them to practice dealing with the general public. This role play will also make great use of certain grammatical structures, for example, the difference between: “I would like those” and “I would like that”. Even if your class is sufficiently advanced, this can be helpful for fine tuning specific grammatical errors.

You are looking for coconut oil for cooking but you cannot see any- what is the next best option?

Looking for Accommodation

Finding accommodation in another country is tricky. Using this type of role play, one student can act as the estate agent and the other can be the prospective buyer or tenant. It might also be a good time to let them jot down some very common terms used when it comes to dealing with getting accommodation such as land lordlease, etc.

You want to rent a house or room for 9 months whilst you are training. You haven’t lived away from home but don’t want to be taken advantage of 

Booking a Hotel Room

For student going on holiday, this will also be helpful. Again, it can be tied in with telephone manner. Try practicing this both as face to face and on the telephone!

You want to book a hotel room with a sea view, breakfast and it needs to be quiet as you’re tired

Job Interview

This is going to be of particular interest to young people Job interviews will generally require a lot of business phraseology in order for the interviewee to appear professional to the employer. Even when not learning a language, practicing a job interview can relieve a lot of the stress that comes along with looking for work.

You have experience of helping in your auntie’s hair salon but want to have a job at a supermarket at the weekends. This is your first real job but you don’t want them to think you are not ready


Whilst not necessarily a role play, a debate is always a good way to begin a class. Students will get used to the different modes of argument and sometimes the debates themselves can become quite heated. It will, overall, make for a very interesting class. Two young people can take part

Point of view 1 – You are not a fan of football and you don’t see why the world cup is such a big thing in your village

Point of view 2 – You live and breathe football, you play yourself and support your national team. You think this is a great way to get the community together and want there to be a big screen put up at school so you can support in the world cup.

Content of Annex 4 – Public Speaking Starters

My biggest concern for the future is…

Real wealth is never measured in money or possessions it is measured by…

Real love is not the stuff of pop songs but…

If I were an animal, I’d be a…

The world is a smaller place these days due to…

The more we communicate, the less we really say because …

When I grow up…