Public speaking is an essential life skill that children need to learn at an early age because when they grow up, their ability to effectively communicate information to an audience, be it at work or school, is a crucial factor to their overall success.
The problem is, however, that not every kid is born a natural and confident public speaker, so we need to help them in any way we can if we want them to get over their trouble with communicating. There’s no issue with that, because having difficulty speaking in front of many people is a fairly common problem amongst kids, teenagers, and even adults.
Does your child have trouble communicating their ideas through speech to a group of people? If so, you can help develop their public skills at home by following these simple yet effective tricks. (Or if you’re looking for a more professional approach, you can enrol your child into a speaking school that offers courses in public speaking for kids.)
Make it More Fun and Interesting
Kids can get easily intimidated by topics they find to be too serious or difficult, which then hinders their capability to absorb everything they’re being taught. Since you’re the one who’s going to teach your own child, try to make the topic of public speaking a lot more fun and interesting by turning it into a game that has no consequences for any blunder they might make. Doing this puts less pressure on your child that they need to do well, and makes learning the craft of public speaking an enjoyable activity that they won’t be afraid of. Additionally, some public speaking experts suggest to not use the term “public speaking”, and instead give it a less intimidating name, like “playing speeches” or “giving a monologue”.
2. Put an Emphasis on Practice
One of the most effective ways to become proficient at a particular skill is to keep on practising until you’re good at it. Although studying speaking techniques is helpful in the beginning, putting an emphasis on practice helps your child develop their public speaking skills much better. You can start by letting your kid watch some of the greatest speeches in history and analysing the technique of the speaker. After that, open up opportunities for them to deliver their own speech in front of a small audience, which can include you, your spouse, their sibling, a cousin, or the household pet. Practising delivering speeches at home helps develop their overall public speaking skills and helps build their confidence, both of which are progressions that can be very helpful once they have to deliver a speech in front of the class.
3. Let Your Child Select a Topic
No matter the age of your child, letting them choose a topic they want to turn into a speech is an effective way to get them going. I mean, they chose it in the first place because they are personally interested in it so you can expect that the entire process, from start to finish, will be smoother than if you had chosen the topic. Make the most out of this opportunity by working on your child’s delivery and polishing parts of the speech.
4. Provide Tons of Feedback
As adults, we know all too well about the importance of feedback from our superiors and how we can use it to improve our performance in the workplace. The same concept applies when you’re developing your child’s public speaking skills, but the focus should be on giving positive feedback instead of constructive criticism. While you’re working with your child, saying a lot of positive stuff like “You’re doing great!” or “That speech was amazing!” encourages them to keep learning and practising, which then becomes a natural thing for them to do. But if you really need to give constructive criticism to correct an error, insert it between positive comments so that your child won’t be discouraged.