Many of us grow up with a massive fear of public speaking. The thought of getting up in front of a crowd fills us with dread. But it needn’t be this way. By preparing kids from an early age, we can ensure that they become confident public speakers of the future. Here are some quick tips on how to make this process both enjoyable and effective.
1: Study less and practice more public speaking
Many schools take a rather academic approach to public speaking, studying the structure of speeches line by line. While this is important, the best thing is to just get out there and do it. Once they are confident at speaking in front of an audience then kids can study the nuts and bolts of how to write the most appropriate speech. Think of it like learning to ride a bike: at the beginning, you just need to get on and try your wobbly best, and hone your technique later.
2: Practice in smaller groups
Often children are made to get up and practice in front of their whole class. Facing a room of 30-plus not-necessarily friendly faces is intimidating for anyone and can scare a lot of children. Most parents can vividly recall such experiences during their school days. So, it is much better to present to a much smaller group or even just one other person. That way, the newbie presenter will perform better and will get the opportunity to receive in-depth feedback.
3. Lots of positive feedback is key
Anything in life is easy to criticise. But what’s much harder is going out there and actually trying to achieve something. There are not enough people around who give the positive feedback that will make kids want to stand up in front of an audience and try again. Public speaking can be learned naturally with plenty of practice, but children won’t continue this practice without encouragement and support. So, positive feedback is vital. Of course, sometimes some ‘constructive criticism’ will be unavoidable, but this can be sandwiched between two pieces of more positive feedback.
4. Video is your friend
These days, more online content is being consumed through video than ever before. While older generations naturally gravitate to the written word, younger people much prefer video. To be successful in the future, then kids need to be comfortable in front of the camera. This will help them ace Skype interviews and Zoom conference calls, or whatever technology is being used in the years to come. So, use your phone to record your child making practice speeches. They can then build their confidence as they get used to seeing and hearing themselves on screen, and use it as a great stepping stone to the stage.
Public Speaking and Presentation Skills for 9-18 year olds
The requirement for public speaking and presentations is unavoidable, and so our aim is to shape children into confident, calm and enthusiatic presenters. This programme is designed to teach the foundations of public speaking and presentation skills, and our highly-experienced teachers empower and strengthen students to be eloquent and calm presenters of the future. Find out more.