The magic behind public speaking

Yvonne Day, one of ILSC-Melbourne’s first public speaking instructors, talks about her experience teaching the course. We also went all the way to ILSC-Vancouver to talk to four students, who describe what they learned and their favourite parts of the class.

Yvonne with her class

ILSC’s public speaking course focuses on developing intonation, timing, delivery, and body language

“The need to be clear is fundamental,” says Matheus, an ILSC-Vancouver public speaking student. “But what is the magic behind speeches?”

The public speaking course has been a popular afternoon class choice at ILSC. Here are four major takeaways of this course, according to Yvonne and four ILSC-Vancouver students:

1) Developing storytelling skills

ILSC’s General English morning classes focus on developing the skill sets of speaking, reading, writing, listening, and grammar. The public speaking course focuses on developing less common speaking skills, like intonation and rhetorical storytelling devices: timing, delivery, and body language when speaking.

Some of these skills can have a huge impact on a speaker’s success. The visual impact of a speaker may be so great that we may not even notice grammatical errors. “How we deliver our message can be almost as important as the message itself!” says Yvonne.

But that doesn’t mean public speaking should only come from those who are naturals. “One of the biggest things I learned in this class was that everyone is capable of a good speech,” says Matheus.

ILSC-Vancouver student Rafael

How we deliver a message is as important as the message itself!


2) Opportunities for personal expression

Taking on roles in interviews, commercials or city council meetings allowed students to express other sides of their personalities that don’t usually get much exercise in a classroom setting. “For the students, this class opens up new avenues for personal expression,” Yvonne says.

The students agree. Anna says: “My favourite part about this class is the freedom to express what I want. Earlier, I was afraid of making mistakes, but in this class, it’s okay to make mistakes! That’s how I became more confident.”

An ILSC-Melbourne student

This class opens up new avenues for personal expression for students


3) Everyone has a story to tell

While teaching this class, Yvonne learned that everyone has a story to tell. Students went through a variety of topics and genres: 30-second speeches, persuasive speeches, interviews, debates, local government meetings, filmed television commercials, and personal anecdotes.

“Giving students the chance to tell their stories brought us closer as a group,” she says. “We learned new things about each other that we might not have otherwise discovered.”

ILSC-Vancouver student Shiho believes this exchange is very important. “I get many chances to speak in front of people,” she says. “Plus, listening to classmates who have different experiences also opens my mind!”

An ILSC-Vancouver student

Students practice and perform speeches, interviews, debates, local government meetings, filmed television commercials, and personal anecdotes


4) Experimenting with new ideas

It was at this point that Yvonne noticed the magic in her class, through her students’ eagerness to engage! They stumbled over themselves to get out ideas, threw themselves into creating scripts for short films, and worked hard to research for a debate or to film that last scene in a commercial. “I was moved by their commitment to our projects and feel that this course has huge potential as a learning tool,” she says.

Rafael says that he took this course to do something challenging. “Now I feel more confident talking in English than in my first language,” he says.

Yvonne with a student

The public speaking class encourages students to experiment and engage with new ideas

Interested in ILSC’s public speaking course? Enroll and learn speech organization, delivery techniques and listening skills – an excellent way to push English skills to a higher level.



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