Ways To Develop Public Speaking Skills In Children.
Ways To Develop Public Speaking Skills In Children.
Powerful public speaking can have the audience spellbound and history has witnessed remarkable speakers around the world who have had the potential to touch the lives of millions of people through their enthralling and engaging speeches. There could be many examples for this, from the legendary Martin Luther King Jr’s speech “I Have a Dream”, to Swami Vivekananda’s speech at the World Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893, are all recalled as the most passionate speeches in the history of mankind.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson rightly said, “Speech is power; speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.”
Speaking in front of other people is something that we all will encounter throughout our lives. It is the same for our children, it can be reading a book or a para to their class, giving a report on any event, to being able to give an interview for their job, or even presenting an important presentation to a critical client are all places where being able to speak to a group of people confidently will be a vital asset.
Public speaking is a critical and powerful skill that can help children build essential communication, yet many young and older children alike are often rather unsure or fearful of it. This fear of public speaking can cause children to avoid expressing their ideas to their class, in a crowd, or with their friends, et cetera.
There are many children who could be naturally outgoing and can speak confidently in front of people, while others may require guidance from teachers and parents alike to help instill the necessary confidence to be able to speak publicly without getting anxious.
At Sherwood High, we believe that public speaking skills are important in improving children’s overall communication, increasing their self-esteem and confidence, to plan, organize, and express their thoughts and ideas effectively. It is one of those rare skills that will help them not only in their educational journey but also into their adulthood and professional career as well. Unlike many academic subjects, public speaking skills have to be developed and nurtured over time, therefore, we will look at a few ways to help children develop public speaking skills in this blog.
1. Begin with listening:
It is well known that one of the best ways to acquire any skill is to learn from those who have already mastered them. Your part as parents here would be to take your children to public events where eminent speakers give their speeches or select good public speeches online and make your child listen to them. We can encourage older children to take inspiration from TED talks, which are an excellent source with N number of incredible speeches on every imaginable subject that they could call for.
Another crucial aspect of listening is how you, as parents, behave when your child is trying to communicate with you. It is when you put down what you’re working at, make eye contact with your children, you show them that what they are saying is important and is respected. By showing your children your own power of listening, you will be able to help them learn the same power, too.
2. Next is writing:
Understanding the words and language we use are only means to convey our thoughts, is an important aspect of public speaking. What is important is what you are trying to convey and how you organize those thoughts and plan your arguments. You can do this by putting down your thoughts on paper and organizing your flow of ideas, which will automatically boost your confidence and fluency.
As grammar is a key aspect of communication, you can eliminate the possibility of any possible grammatical errors by writing things down. However, you need to understand that though grammar is an essential aspect of communication, trying to be mean absolute in it may affect your ability to construct a cohesive speech effectively.
3. The art of storytelling:
Stories have a way of catching the interest of listeners and having the skills to weave little stories into their speeches is always endearing to the audience. Storytelling for children doesn’t have to be an acquired skill. It could be anything as simple as convincing you to buy them that chocolate or get your permission to go on that trip.
So encourage your children to read a lot of stories. All those bedtime stories you read to them can be very handy right now. Also, teaching them how to connect what they’ve read, what they are thinking, and their little stories with their own speeches will help their public speaking a great deal.
4. Breaking the ice:
Most of us have a fear barrier that inhibits us from speaking confidently in public. This barrier needs to be broken before our children can attempt to speak confidently and freely.
You can help them do this by having activities in which your children can come up with topics that they would like to speak about. Make sure that the topic your children choose is something that they are interested in, even if it is something as simple as wanting to eat dessert for breakfast.
Choose a topic they are interested in and make them give that speech! you can coerce them to talk about their favourite TV show, favourite movie, favorite books, about what they are feeling right now with the whole lockdown situation, anything related to global news, etc.
5. Practice speaking:
Just like everything else, the art of public speaking also gets better with practice. They could prepare a speech and practice in front of a mirror, address an imaginary audience, or practice their speech with parents or siblings.
This will not only help them improve their pronunciation and accent but also fine-tune their body language, which is also an essential aspect of public speaking.
You can also help them by recording their speech or making a video presentation, which you can watch through with them and have a feedback session on the areas that need improvement and so on.
6. Utilizing every opportunity:
Ask your children to grab every chance to get to address an audience, and the best place for this could be at school. At Sherwood high, we give ample opportunities for students to speak publicly and encourage them through communicative classrooms, by holding many oratorical competitions like speeches, debates, elocution, et cetera.
You can encourage your children to take part in these activities, which could help them hone their public speaking skills.
Apart from these above-said points, you can also engage children in games and activities that could help them develop public speaking skills such as Word spin, the road game, the imaginary game, the woot game, et cetera.
There are also many excellent movies that could help your children gain confidence in public speaking, such as “The King’s Speech”, “My Fair Lady”, “Larry Crowne”, et cetera.
It is the digital era, and it is only fair for us to speak about it here. There are plenty of apps available on the play store and Apple store, like six minutes, hive-brain public speaking app, book widgets app et cetera.
As we conclude, we would like to say that confidence is not something that can come overnight, it is something that needs to be instilled from a young age and nurtured throughout adulthood.
Hence, it is important for us as caregivers to make it a point to encourage children, not only verbally, but also by modeling confidence when we speak.