3 Ways to Improve Public Speaking — Tips for High School Students

Are you looking to improve public speaking skills? You want to overcome this common fear? We provide students with 3 ways to do so: participating in extracurricular activities, registering for public speaking classes, and actively participating in class.
3 Ways to Improve Public Speaking -- Tips for High School Students
1. Participating in extracurricular activities

Practice makes perfect. One of the best ways to overcome your fear of public speaking is to practice the required skills over and over again. With public speaking, you can easily do that by signing up for and getting involved in different extracurricular activities. Outstanding activities schools typically offer are Model UN, Debate Team, Student Council, Mock Trial, or Performing Arts (plays, musicals, comedy sketches).  

Model UN

Model UN is the simulation of the UN organization, where students have the opportunity to become ambassadors and delegates from various countries and debate about current issues. You will have time to prepare and practice for your speech, discussion or debate with other country’s representatives. Participating in the UN not only gives you practice about public speaking and persuasion, but also provides you with knowledge about current events and international relations. Therefore, if you are a student who has an interest in international relations and politics, or simply wants to be informed about issues happening around the world, Model UN is a perfect platform for you to learn, improve and get to know friends who share similar interests. 

Debate Team

Similar to Model UN, Debate Team is another great practice platform. If Model UN teaches you about international relations, Debate focuses more on soft skills, such as information analysis, synthesis, working under pressure, concentration, and persuasion. Debate provides multiple benefits that will be advantageous to you in your future journey in college and in real life, especially when you prepare for interviews, networking, lead meetings, and doing presentations.  Instead of remembering everything you have written, you are recommended to remember key points before your debate. Remember to prevent filter words, use a lot of eye contact and good body language to convey your points and arguments.

Student Council

Each extracurricular activity in school has different focus points. For Student Council, students focus more on nurturing their leadership skills. Since student council representatives are elected by fellow students in school, your voice and opinion are the student’s voices and opinions. As a leader of a group of students, you will be networking with the school’s employees, board of trustees, and school directors to plan events, advocate for changes and raise potential issues observed by students. Student Council fosters skills like leadership, communication, teamwork, and public speaking – all you will need to succeed in university and in your career. 

Mock Trial

Mock Trial focuses on the legal side, helping students to learn more about the legal system and gain public speaking practice opportunities. Mock Trial is the perfect fit for students who are interested in law, regardless of how dedicated and committed you are in the field. So, if you are thinking about pursuing law or any related subject like political science, or social work, consider joining Mock Trial as an extracurricular activity.  

Performing Arts

Performing Arts or theater plays, musicals, or comedy skits are perfect for students who are geared towards the creative side. Performing Arts allow students to express their true selves in front of hundreds or thousands of people. Being an actor or actress on stage, you will practice physical, mental, and emotional betterment. So, if you are less interested in international relations or law but still want to practice public speaking, Performing Arts is a perfect way for you to do so.

Top 7 TED Talks on Public Speaking to Inspire You
Source: Unsplash
2. Registering for Public Speaking Classes

If you don’t have the chance to participate in the activities, or want additional practice outside of the classroom, consider signing up for public speaking classes. These classes are designed to teach you the skills and techniques necessary to become a successful public speaker. All the great TED Talk Speakers and brilliant leaders out there aren’t born to be public speakers. Great speakers received numerous training from professionals and practice in public speaking situations in order to captivate the audience and inspire them to act.  

Everyone has a different approach and style to public speaking and at Aralia, our public speaking teachers respect those differences while providing hands-on and personalized instruction to each student.  

When you register for Aralia’s public speaking course, the teacher will provide you the opportunity to not only speak but to listen, because good speakers are good listeners. You will also have the time to discuss different topics. By the end of the course, students will build a solid foundation in oral expression and learn how to express themselves confidently and clearly in English. 

More information about the class can be found here:

PUBLIC SPEAKING AND DEBATE

Description: This Public Speaking and Debate class will offer the opportunity to speak and listen to others talk only as much as possible. We will alternate between learning the structure of different types of speeches and making presentations by one student to the rest of the class. After each speech by students, we will have a critique from the peers, and the teacher. They will also be required and coached on how to participate in the discussion and to critique their peers.

Project time: Rolling enrollment throughout the year, one class every weekend, 1.5 hours per class 

TED-STYLE PUBLIC SPEAKING

Description: In this English Speaking course, each class will focus on different topics: sports, volunteer experience, current affairs, politics, culture, education, literature, technology, and the environment. These various themes are based on real situations that students will encounter when they come to the United States. Learning to discuss these topics will be very useful when interacting with native English speakers. Students will build a solid foundation in oral expression and learn how to express themselves confidently and clearly in English.

Project time: Rolling enrollment throughout the year, one class every weekend, 1.5 hours per class 

ACCENT REDUCTION

Description: The accent reduction course focuses on understanding and strengthening the unique sounds and structures that make up the “neutral” dialect. While there are many dialects throughout America, it is the neutral accent commonly practiced by public speakers and officials. Radio DJs, TV news anchors, and even most Hollywood movie actors use the neutral accent to convey their message to the largest group of Americans possible. By eliminating accents in communication, we can more easily connect to our audience and erase any misunderstandings or unconscious bias from a foreign dialect, whether domestic or international.

Project time: Rolling enrollment throughout the year, one class every weekend, 1.5 hours per class 

3. Active participation in class

The easiest way for students to practice public speaking is by participating in classroom discussions or presentations. Students should challenge themselves to be more active in class, through frequently raising their hands to ask questions and answer the teacher’s queries for volunteering to present their work or your group project.  

In American high schools, teachers expect students to have opinions and questions while they conduct lessons, and to participate in group projects. Some students may be scared and shy when it comes to these activities, but there is no better way to fight fear than to face it. This doesn’t mean you should blindly raise your hand no matter what questions the teacher asks. We recommend that you begin raising your hand in the subjects you are good at. For example, if you are excellent at Physics, you can start to answer questions in Physics class and gradually build up your self-confidence from there. With confidence, you will be more comfortable asking insightful questions or giving thoughtful answers in class. Also, you will gain the skills to do better group presentations and other oral assignments in other classes.  

Public speaking is intimidating, but it’s possible to overcome the intimidation. You can start practicing earlier in your school journey, but it’s never too late to be a better public speaker. Public speaking provides you with tremendous benefits and doors to potential opportunities that you could never have thought of. So now, let’s go practice and be better at public speaking, or just speaking in general!  

What's Next?

Want to improve your nonverbal aspect of public speaking? 8 Nonverbal Tips for Public SpeakingTop 12 Summer Reads for Incoming High School Freshmen

You’re great at public speaking and want to participate in debate competitions! Check out 6 Debate Competitions for High School Students

Scroll to Top
Aralia Education Technology logo full

CONNECT WITH OUR CONSULTANTS

to register for classes and schedule with our teachers

By signing up, you agree to Aralia’s Privacy Policy & Terms of Use

HOW ARALIA WILL HELP YOU ACHIEVE

Joining this list is one of them. We send weekly emails with updates about new courses, learning tips, and opportunities for 1:1 call with our consultants

By signing up, you agree to Aralia’s Privacy Policy & Terms of Use