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Speech Board

Type of tool: 
Activity
Duration: 
30-60 min
Topics addressed: 
Communication
Personal development

Speech Board is a board game strengthening speech delivery. The topic of the game is speech and the communicative possibilities it offers. Usage of speech dynamics during communication process undoubtedly raises the quality of communication in general.

Aim: 

- The players are playing with their speech organs (by producing tasks written on the cards) in order to became more aware of their speaking possibilities, but also to raise recognition of their co-players skills.
- The aim of the game is victory achieved by reaching the Best Speaker field.

Methodology: 

Speech Board game is an individual activity which can be used in the process of public speaking training or on workshops. It is being developed within evidence-based approach to communication and public speaking promoted by the author.

- The game includes speaking tasks with various levels of difficulty. Fields placed at lower levels, i.e. at the beginning of the game, have easier speaking tasks and the game progresses to the most difficult, red tasks which are mini speeches. The easier tasks include simple speaking activities which gradually become more demanding fostering development of speaking delivery.
- The player rolls a dice and moves the counter. The task depends on the field colour that the counter has landed.
- Speech Board game can be played during gatherings, longer educational formats or (the shorter version) to raise awareness of the speech delivery dynamics.

- The Speech Board Game is attractive because of the content which is quite different than in most board games, but technically, it is extremely simple.
- The aim of the game is victory achieved by reaching the Best Speaker field.
- Similar to most board games, the players roll the dice, move the counter on the board, complete a task and in that way they advance through the game. The fields are in different colours matching the colours of the five card decks.
- Speech Board game can be played by two to six players. If the game is played by only two players the scoring procedure of utterances is slightly different.
- The game can be played by any age group (6 to 99+). The children aged below six can also play the game if they can express emotions in speech, however their reading ability should be considered and in case they are not reading yet, the game should be slightly adjusted (introduce a reader role).
- Duration of the game is cca 90 minutes, but there is a smaller (three row) board for shorter games or demonstrations.

Step by step process: 

• The required material should be downloaded, printed and cut. A dice, counters and stopwatch (if the players choose to measure the time) are also required.
• The game starts with all the players landing their counters on the START field. Each player rolls the dice and the highest roll of the dice goes first.
• First player rolls the dice and moves on the board according to the dice.
• After landing the counter on a particular field, the player draws a card from the deck that is the same colour as the field, reads and completes the task.
• Depending on the number of players (two or more than two), the players decide on the scoring procedure (see the options in the Scoring section). Depending on the outcome of the scoring the counter either moves further or moves back to the field from which it started.
• After task completion the card is returned to the deck.
• The game is continued by the player sitting next to the one who completed the speech task (the players decide at the beginning will they play clockwise or counterclockwise).
• Two or more counters can land on the same field (no elimination).
• The player rolling 6 can have another dice roll.
• If the player lands to field 58 and in the next dice roll gets three he moves the counter to the end and back. That means that he comes to the field 60 and returns to 59 and completes the task. If the next dice roll gives him six, he goes to the field numbered 60 and returns to 59, 58, 57, 56 and 55 and completes the task from the orange card. The winner is the player who stops on the field numbered 60 and delivers a “Thank you” speech and an applause.
• The board is comprised of three areas: the first area is made of the first three rows (fields 1 to 30), the second area is made of the following two rows (fields 31 to 50) and the third area is located in the last row (fields 51 to 60). The area division is made according to the task difficulty. There are no red tasks (speech improvisations) in the easy or medium areas. The orange tasks (tonguetwisters) are located all over the board.
• SCORING
1. Two players game (especially two children) is played in the way that players progress on the board by completing the tasks, while the criteria is time. They have 10 seconds to read and start speaking. If the player does not start speaking in ten seconds he returns to the previous field.
2. If the game is played by three or more players, they have to decide on the scoring procedure from the offered two procedures. Each player has three white card with smileys. They are used for the assessment of speech delivery of the co-player. After a player completes a task, the other players show their marks. Smiling smiley and sad smiley cancel each other, neutral smiley does not influence the result.
3. If five players play the game, four are assessing. Example 1: they have given the player these marks for the task: :), :), :( and :│. The overall result is 1 :) because happy and sad smileys have canceled each other, neutral one does not change anything and one smiling, happy smiley remains.
4. If the player receives more happy smileys he moves forward. If the result is neutral, he remains on spot and if it is negative (more sad smileys) he moves back.
5. SYSTEM A: After completing the task the player moves the counter forward for the number of happy smileys or backward for the number of sad smileys.
SYSTEM B (SPEED GAME): The player moves the counter forward or backwards according to the dice roll. Example: the previous dice roll gave him five, he landed on the orange field, completed the task successfully and moves forward for another five fields. In case the other player gave him more sad smileys, he moves back for five fields as well.

Materials and resources: 

• The board, cards with speech tasks (five decks of cards, each in different colour and a white deck with smiles (three per player) for evaluation, dice, counters and instruction.
• There are some specific terms used for task description (high, low etc.). For an example, high means high pitch while low means low pitch or deep voice.

Outcomes: 

The players will be aware of the speech dynamics and of the acoustic elements of speech delivery (pitch, loudness, tempo etc.). The players will use the prosodic elements during the game for fun, exaggerating, to raise awareness and use them freely in spontaneous communication.

Evaluation: 

The review and evaluation process of the Speech Board game has undergone several steps. The first one was among my colleagues and it was tested in smaller groups (author's family and friends). Then it was used on several workshops and finally on ToolFair Croatia 2018. It is being reviewed by a colleague specialized in speech linguistics. The feedback from the participants was taken into account and the sentence examples on the cards are not being repeated in order to raise game dynamics. It should also be noted that the game is to be translated to several languages except for Croatian and English (probably German, French and Italian). However, the translation is not enough. The game should be adopted to the aforementioned languages consulting the native speakers and phoneticians of the particular language.

Notes for further use: 

The improved version (ver.2) is based on the feedback collected in various workshops and will be uploaded on all the platforms. Hopefully, the game will become multilingual, so translations to other languages can also be expected. For all the information, comments, translations, feel free to contact me: diana.tomic@gmail.com.

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