Three More ModernBrain Speech and Debate Drills

limited prep speech techniques Sep 01, 2023

One of our most discussed blog posts was a list of three helpful speech and debate drills. We'd like to keep sharing some more great tools with the community.

In the world of modern education, effective communication is a vital skill. Students need to not only articulate their thoughts clearly but also engage their audience. Traditional methods often focus on memorization and delivery, but there are innovative speech drills that can help students improve their speaking abilities in exciting ways.

Drill #1: The Cheat Sheet Challenge.

Memorization is a crucial aspect of speech preparation, but sometimes, students can get bogged down trying to perfect every word. Enter the "Cheat Sheet Challenge," a fun and practical exercise that encourages students to focus on delivery rather than rote memorization.

Students create a cheat sheet with one word or a very short, abstract phrase for every 15 seconds of their speech. They then deliver a 5-10 minute speech without their full script, relying solely on this cheat sheet. The objective is clear: "Don't get caught up in trying to nail down the perfect phrase." Instead, students concentrate on the way they deliver their message.

This drill also instills accountability, preventing students from falling back on the "I'm not ready yet!" excuse. It pushes them to be on their feet and familiarize themselves with the general content, mimicking the challenges real-world speakers often face. The Cheat Sheet Challenge empowers students to think on their feet and enhances their overall communication skills.

Drill #2: The Politician's Pivot.

In the realm of public speaking, the ability to handle unexpected questions with grace is a priceless skill. The "Politician's Pivot" drill adds an element of spontaneity and adaptability to student speeches.

Students take on the role of a politician and engage in a Q&A session with their classmates. The twist? When asked a direct question ("What's the weather like outside today?"), they must pivot away from it and reframe it, starting with the phrase, "That's not the question. The question is…(why aren't we discussing what the weather will look like in 30 years, after we've failed to address the impending climate crisis?" This exercise teaches students to think critically and reframe questions to address their preferred topics, all while maintaining their composure.

The Politician's Pivot drill fosters quick thinking, adaptability, and the ability to control the direction of a conversation. It equips students with valuable skills for impromptu speaking and handling challenging queries, skills that are essential not only for politicians but for any effective communicator.

Drill #3: Rephrasing for Resonance.

Effective communication isn't just about delivering words; it's about conveying meaning and emotion. The "Rephrasing for Resonance" drill helps students infuse their speeches with genuine passion and impact.

When a student has memorized a prepared speech but seems emotionally 'stuck,' instructors can introduce this exercise. Students are tasked with spontaneously rephrasing their speech, sentence by sentence. They must convey the same meaning without using any of the same keywords. This forces them to dig deeper into their message, finding alternate ways to express their ideas.

Surprisingly, the rephrased sentences often end up being more powerful and emotionally resonant than the original script. This drill encourages students to explore different linguistic avenues to connect with their audience on a deeper level.

These three ModernBrain speech drills provide students with valuable tools for effective communication. They go beyond traditional memorization and encourage creativity, adaptability, and emotional connection. As educators, incorporating these drills into your teaching repertoire can help your students become confident and compelling speakers in today's fast-paced world of communication. So, why wait? Dive into these drills and witness your students transform into masterful communicators.

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