A few weeks ago, I was asked to judge a speech contest. I judge the contest every year. The participants are elementary and junior high school students. I am always impressed with their English skills. It seems like they improve year by year.
When I started judging the contest 12 years ago, I struggled to understand some of the participants. Now, I understand everyone. Their pronunciation, rhythm and intonation are all very good.
Good English skills are important, but communication skills are also important when giving a speech. What do you want to tell the audience? How are you going to communicate that? How are you going to show emotion? Some students use gestures. A few meaningful gestures are fine, but too many is not good. When using gestures, it is important to think “Why am I using this gesture?” “What will this gesture communicate?” “Does this gesture add anything to my story?”
Some students used gestures very well. They didn’t use too many, and only used meaningful gestures. Some of them were great communicators. I left feeling very impressed.