Public speaking guidelines

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Guidelines for students

Public speaking and writing for publication are exciting and rewarding activities. They are great fun and can be wonderful learning experiences.

If you are given the opportunity to speak in public (for example, at School Assembly), or write for publication (for example, for a School magazine) you must accept certain responsibilities.

To protect individuals in a democracy from unfair criticism, there are laws of defamation and libel. This means that you have a responsibility to ensure that you do not damage a person by attacking or injuring their reputation by saying or printing lies or suggesting damaging things about them.

As a public speaker or writer, you will probably be keen to use humour. When incorporated in a speech or publication, humour that is appropriate and well thought out can be extremely effective in increasing audience/reader enjoyment and interaction. Humour will come from the clever use of language, detail, character and place, with tricks such as exaggeration and reversal well applied. The inclusion of in-jokes or inappropriate nicknames that relate only to a section of the audience or might be part of building team spirit in another context, should be kept to a minimum. Avoid approving, by inference, inappropriate behaviour. Be aware that attempts to gain cheap laughs from crude jokes or put-downs of people or places are likely to detract from the rest of your speech and reflect badly on you, the group you are representing and perhaps even our School.

If you are speaking or writing for an audience and it is prepared as a humorous piece, you should try to make your words appeal to everyone, or at least not offend anyone.

Protocols for speaking at assembly

With the exception of sports reports, which are collated by the Sports Prefect, all other reports for Assembly need to be edited by the teacher in charge of the activity prior to submission to the Director of Co-curricular and Planning.

  1. Preparation
    • All reports for Assembly need to be typed in MS word
      • Appoint one speaker for each report (in most cases). Plan to speak for a maximum of
      • three minutes (As a guide the rate of speaking is 160 words per minute)
      • Use language appropriate for the place and the occasion
      • Stick to the main points and be positive and affirming
      • Write about the highlights (not lowlights), and avoid making your speech/report a catalogue of events
      • Prepare your speech/report using all the above guidelines to ensure that it is appropriately worded
      • Use a boy’s first name and family name; avoid inappropriate or offensive nicknames
      • Make an appointment to meet with the Director of Planning and Co-curricular at least two days before the Assembly in order to read and gain approval for your speech/report
  2. Delivering of Speech/Report
    • Keep to the script approved by the Director of Planning and Co-curricular
    • Speak to your audience and speak more slowly than you think is necessary