How to Keep Speaking This Summer

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Now that we’re nearing the end of June, students across the country are about halfway through their summer break. Many of us look forward to summer break each year as a much-needed escape. While school can be fun in an enriching way, summer is a time for relaxing by the pool, traveling with family, and enjoying the beautiful outdoors. However, there’s no reason to think that during the summertime, you shouldn’t keep your brain in top shape. 


A common phenomenon in the educational world known as thesummer slide happens each year, where kids lose significant knowledge over summer break, which can be seen when they return from break and score lower on tests. This phenomenon can be applied to more than just reading and math – you might not be working on your public speaking as much over break, either. However, there are many easy steps to take over the summer to maintain your mental sharpness – not just for the sake of your academics, but for your public speaking journey, too.


A good first step to take is to get some inspiration. As we talked about in a couple of previous blog posts, the Internet has a wealth of resources available for those who choose to use them. I would recommend watching some TED talks or Toastmasters International speeches over break over topics you are interested in – many can be found just by searching on youtube or the TED website. This is a wonderful way to get free training from some of the greatest speakers in the world! (You can also check out a blog post where we analyze a speech given by Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, the 2014 World Champion of Public Speaking! This post will give you an idea of things you can look for when watching a speech.)


Another tip would be to practice some of the basics behind good speaking: confidence and posture are good places to start. When it comes to delivering a speech, the two are intrinsically linked. According to one study by researchers from Ohio State University, good posture (sitting up straight as compared to slumping over) was linked to higher confidence. You don’t have to be giving a speech to practice speaking confidently. Be mindful of whether you tend to slump when speaking to friends or sitting at the dinner table, and slowly try to correct those habits. 


Finally, you can have a bit of fun with vocal warmups. Learning how to properly prepare for your speech entails not only being mentally prepared (you can read here about some of my favorite techniques to stop speaking anxiety in its tracks) – but also physically prepared. Try out videos like this one to learn about tongue trills, humming, and tongue twisters that can get you in shape to speak clearly without tripping over your words.


Bonus tip: Find a Gavel Club near you to explore! Gavel Clubs are youth divisions of an organization called Toastmasters International, which is all about public speaking. If you’re under 18 years old and want to find a community of others who want to improve their public speaking, Gavel Clubs are a great option! 


By getting inspiration, practicing the basics, and learning proper vocal techniques, you can use your summer productively while still saving plenty of time for fun! Let’s use our summer to become better speakers together.

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