Improve Your Public Speaking Skills with Practical Exercises

Public speaking is not just an innate talent; it's a skill you can hone with the right techniques and exercises. Below, you'll find a variety of ways to improve your public speaking skills with practical exercises, from audience engagement to vocal variety. By doing these exercises and having a “growth mindset,” you can discover more about your own capabilities. Explore these exercises below.

Exercise 1:

Engage Your Audience with Questions

This exercise aims to enhance your audience engagement skill by incorporating a good number of questions into your presentation. Questions are designed to involve the audience and make them feel part of the conversation.


Steve Jobs often engaged his audience with questions. In his famous Stanford Commencement address, he asks, "How many of you want to live your own life?" Watch Steve Jobs' Stanford Commencement here:


Create a list of 5-10 questions that you can ask your audience. Determine the most strategic points to insert them in your presentation.

Exercise 2:

Audience Involvement Through Games or Quizzes

Keeping your audience involved and invested is crucial. This exercise helps you create fun, topic-related games or quizzes that keep the audience engaged. Games or quizzes are especially great for trainings but can also be effective in other types of presentations.


There are several apps available that can be used online or in a live, in-person presentation, such as Mentimeter (, Kahoot (, and Blooket ( Polls and quizzes can be great ways to get your audience involved. Slide Lizard lists 50 different types (


Design a game or quiz that correlates with your presentation's subject matter. Make sure to outline the rules then practice explaining them.

Exercise 3:

Use Vocal Variety in Dramatic & Humorous Readings

Mastering vocal variety—changes in pitch, tone, and speed—can make for an engaging presentation. This exercise helps you practice those skills in a fun and unconventional way.


Tony Robbins provides an incredibly engaging Ted Talk on “Why We Do What We Do.” While his speed is mostly fast, he is easily understood. Notice how he changes his pitch and tone throughout. Watch here:  


Choose an engaging text—like a children's book or novel excerpt. Read it aloud, focusing on pitch, tone, and speed. Intentionally go past your comfort zone to discover what you are capable of.

Exercise 4:

Pacing & Pausing

Learning from the best can offer incredible insights. This exercise helps you understand the art of pacing and pausing.


Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" is the epitome of excellent pacing and pausing. Notice his clever use of rhetoric and alliteration also. Watch here:


Watch famous speeches and analyze how they use pausing, pacing, and vocal variety. Look at your presentation and intentionally note and practice where you can integrate these techniques.

Exercise 5:


Clear articulation ensures that your message is understood. This exercise helps you practice pronouncing words distinctly.


Barack Obama's commencement speech to the 2016 graduating class at Howard University is just another example of his clarity and precise enunciation. It also provides great examples of pausing. Notice how is acute understanding of the audience powerfully engages them. Watch here:


Practice challenging tongue twisters or complex sentences to improve your enunciation ability. Start slowly and then gradually increase your speed while maintaining clarity.

Your Takeaway

Your journey to be a compelling public speaker starts now. Try these exercises and share your progress or any additional tips you have in the comments below. Let's enhance our public speaking skills together!

About the Author

Hi! I'm Pam. I teach entrepreneurs to be fearless & compelling speakers online and in person and how to easily promote and run their own online workshops, webinars, and online courses. 

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