Speaking and Listening Topics - The Introduction
February 13, 2018
Your Speaking & Listening Presentation – The Introduction
In our last blog, we suggested some ideal GCSE English Speaking and Listening topics for you to present. In this, we focus on what you should say and the materials you need to use to achieve 5+, starting with your Introduction.
Introduce the topic, briefly explaining it and the reason(s) you chose it if necessary – 30-45 seconds
NB Remember, you cannot walk in and read a pre-prepared script word for word; even if you could, your tone and delivery would lack spontaneity – i.e. you’d lose marks!
Sample Topic: Talk about your favourite band/singer
Introduction (30-45 seconds)
Today I’m here to talk to you about a musician close to my heart: Robbie Williams.
Now I know the British public have a Marmite relationship with Robbie (they either love him or hate him), but I fell in love with Robbie when I was 10 or 11, and I’ll be a fan till I die!
I first heard Robbie’s music when my mum bought his first album after she’d heard his single ‘Angels’ on the radio, and the rest, effectively, is history.
This was so long ago that his first solo album Life Thru a Lens was on tape cassette; our car radio had room for just one tape at a time and CDs were only becoming a thing.
That summer I made my parents play his album whenever we drove anywhere. Already I was hooked on his music.
This introduction is short, concise, and contains a number of the elements you can use in your talk to make your speaking and listening performance effective:
- A balanced opinion: The speaker acknowledges that not everyone loves their favourite singer, even if they do.
- An anecdote: The speaker tells the story – briefly – of how they came to be a fan of their favourite singer and offers details about the singer without resorting to spewing facts and figures.
- Inclusion of context: The speaker gives us some background and context to their presentation – i.e. a rough idea of the time when they first became a fan, tape cassettes still in use etc.
- Room for development: The speaker doesn’t tell us why they were such a fan, even then, nor do they explain why they remain a fan years a later. They should do this in the body of their presentation.
Cue cards. And a lot of practice. Cue cards are a simple yet effective tool to aid you in your presentation. Again, you can’t write your presentation word-for-word on your cards, nor should you. Use them as a series of small prompts to keep you on track a la this example:
Today… talk about Robbie Williams.
Not everyone loves RW; but I do…
Mum his first album Life Thru a Lens song Angels – history.
Tapes vs. CDs… that summer.
Vocabulary: Marmite, effectively, cassette, hooked…
An alternative to these prompts is a series of questions, three max. per cue card, that encourage you to discuss the points you’ve planned, e.g.:
1. Who are you here to talk about?
2. How did you become a fan?
3. What happened after you heard the album?
However you structure your cards, write them out early on in your preparation and use them every time you practise. Practice really does make perfect.