Park Lane Academy

‘We aspire to be the best at everything we do’

Speaking Confidently


Students’ ability to speak confidently as themselves is something which we want to develop.  Following Olwen Edwards (Presentation and Communication Skills trainer and Alexander Technique Practitioner) attending our Careers Convention, we discussed how her skills could help our students develop their ability to speak confidently.

We proposed a pilot scheme whereby 6 of our Year 11 students would be identified, mentored and coached by Olwen into speaking more confidently as themselves in preparation for attending interviews at colleges and sixth forms.

Session 1

At this session the students were introduced to some Alexander Technique methods to help them with posture, breathing and self-confidence.  Olwen then went on to teach them how to plan, prepare and practise a pre-prepared talk. Students were set the task of creating a first draft of a 3 minute talk which would let a college know about themselves and why they wanted to do a particular course. They were asked to hone and practice this at home before the next session and were taught how to do this.

Feedback following Session one

‘I am better equipped (to plan, prepare practise a three minute presentation) because I know how to outline the structure and what to put in the speech.

‘It will definitely make me more attractive for future employers’

‘I enjoyed the information about posture because it was interesting learning about the sitting bones’

‘It will improve my chance of getting into my chosen 6th form’

What did you enjoy the most?                                                                                                                     

‘Learning something about myself

How relevant is this for the interviews you will be undertaking?                                                            

‘Very relevant, helps me look more confident and know what to talk about’

‘I enjoyed learning posture and how it affects a first impression’

‘It will definitely make me more attractive for future employers’

‘It will boost my confidence and get rid of my issues’

Session 2

At this, students fed back on how they had found planning, preparing and practising their speech.   They then did their speech in front of the group, requesting specific areas on which they wanted feedback (something Olwen had taught them).  They then moved on to learn about how to deliver a spontaneous speech to time – 30 seconds, 1 minute. Vital for answering questions at interviews etc. 

Feedback following Session two

‘It has improved my ability to know how long to talk for when being put on the spot’

‘I know how to structure and how to ask for feedback’

‘I know how to plan a talk and answer questions’

‘It has been useful for speaking in a specific amount of time and knowing how long to speak and when’

‘Would have liked a bit more time on the spontaneous speaking cards’

Session 3

During this session, students honed their speeches and then presented them to a formal audience (the Headteacher) talking on board all the feedback they had been given. One student decided to focus on delivering a spontaneous speech rather than a pre-prepared one.

At the end of Session 3 each student was presented with a Certificate -  an Award of Achievement and Excellence for Speaking in Public. Something they can add to their portfolio and cv

Feedback following Session three

‘(I’ve learnt) mistakes are ok’

‘I know how to look confident (eye contact)’

What has been most useful?                                                                                                                               

‘To not think too much before I want to speak’, ‘Speaking at a regular pace’, ‘feel/look more confident’, ‘talking in public’

‘I know roughly when and how to stop’

What would you like more of?                                                                                                                             

‘More sessions’, ‘spontaneous speaking’