Engadine Public School

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Public speaking

Every year students at Engadine Public School take part in a school based Public Speaking competition.

Students who achieve at class and stage levels then have the opportunity to proceed further at competition levels throughout the Sutherland area. 

Students are also provided with the opportunity to take part in the Mulitcultural Perspectives Competition - this is an elective choice.

A valuable link for clues about public speaking is provided through the NSW schools' A to Z website : Click on the link : A to Z - Public Speaking

Further information is provided below:

A brief guide to public speaking

Speaking well in public is a very valuable and challenging skill. There is no substitute for practice but some of the tips and ideas below will help students to prepare for their class and stage speeches.

Firstly, it is important for all students to realise the following:-

  • Everyone who speaks in public is nervous, no matter how experienced they are.
  • The audience will forgive them for making a mistake.
  • It is important to be themselves and be comfortable in their stance.

Speaking out

Regardless of the topic students are speaking about, it is essential they structure their points well, so that their audience can clearly follow the issues they address. Students need to pace their content. Making sure they do not try to cram in too much so they have to rush their speech can be just as unsettling to them as not having enough material so their presentation does not meet the time requirement.


Good delivery is important. Unfortunately if an audience is distracted by odd mannerisms (rolling ankles, swaying) or turned off by a dull delivery (monotone voice), then they will be less likely to hear the intended message of the speech.

Verbal cues

Think about the acoustics of the room – for example; lots of people or furniture will absorb the sound of the student's voice and large halls which echo mean the student will need to speak even slower than normal.

Things students should consider:-

  • Rate:Are you speaking too quickly? A good thing to ask yourself is "Am I speaking too slowly?" If you think the answer is "Yes" then you are probably speaking at the right rate.
  • Pauses: Do you use pauses to add impact to your speech or do you simply race through it?
  • Variety: Do you vary your voice? Does the pitch of your voice rise during questions? Does the volume of your voice decrease when you are describing a quiet moment? You will do this all the time while speaking in conversations.  Try saying the word "really" as a question, a statement and as a sarcastic remark – same word but three different ways to use your voice. Use your ‘voice' in your speech to make it more interesting and effective.
  • Pronunciation/ Articulation: Don't try to use words because they are long and sound clever if you wouldn't normally do so. Odd words which don't fit with the rest of your speech sound out of place rather than making you sound smart.
  • Language: Is your language appropriate? Have you considered your target audience?  Avoid slang terms that may not be understood by your audience.

Non-verbal cues

The presenter's eye-movement and the way they deliver their presentation impacts the audience too.

Things students should consider:-

  • Gestures: Do you use gesture effectively? Do you over gesture?
  • Movement:: Do you move around too much when you speak? Some movement is natural when you speak but pacing or swaying become distracting.
  • Eye contact: Do you maintain good eye contact? Using small notes helps to make sure you don't hold anything in front of your face and make sure you look at your audience.


All speeches do a combination of three things: entertain, inform and persuade. Getting the right balance between these three aims depends on the purpose of the student's speech. Students should be sure they know what they are trying to achieve before they start.