Speaking in front of others is something that your child will undoubtedly encounter throughout their life. Whether it's doing a presentation in class, reading aloud or being interviewed for college or University places - being able to speak to the public or a group of people confidently is a vital skill that will really help them thrive in life. Even though some children are naturally outgoing, others can be much more reserved when it comes to public speaking. Here’s some ways you can help your child build up the confidence they need to be able to speak to others without anxiety or fear.
Why Is Public Speaking An Important Skill For Kids?
Public speaking helps improve overall communication skills, increases self-esteem, confidence and leadership skills, as well as helps with being able to plan and organise thoughts and the ability to express ideas in front of the class.
Use Fantasy Play Scenarios
Even though most young children may not want to play ‘public speaking’ as an activity, using fantasy play scenarios is an excellent way for them to get used to having attention on them while they are speaking, and teach them how to speak more naturally when addressing others. We recommend creating fun role play situations for them to act out such as a king delivering a speech to their citizens or make them prime minister of the family and get them to deliver an acceptance speech. Not only will your child find the activities fun, they’ll also be extremely beneficial for helping them build up their confidence.
Use Storytelling Cards
Using storytelling cards in a really fun way for children to develop the skills to speak in public using only a small 'prompt'. The aim of the game is for kids to build up their ability to connect two or three random ideas into one, clear and concise story, which is a necessary skill for public speaking. Start by writing out the names of people, objects, places and things onto individual cards - one word on each card - then place these cards into a box. Ask your child to pick out 2 cards, and encourage them to tell a story aloud that connects the two words on their cards. This is also a great game for the whole family to get involved in- you can even take it in turns to pick cards and tell stories. Aim for 1-2 minutes speaking, and as your child gets better at telling stories using these words, you can make the game more advanced by having them pick 3 or 4-word cards, or speaking for a longer period of time.
Speak To Family On The Phone
An easy and enjoyable way for your kids to become better at speaking publicly is for them to chat to family members on the phone on a regular basis - this can be grandparents or aunts and uncles. They can share their news, what they’ve been doing at school or what they’ve got coming up in the next few weeks. This really helps children learn to communicate more clearly, as well as encourages their confidence, focus and storytelling when talking to others.
Get Inspired With TED Talks
Older children and teens may need more encouragement when it comes to public speaking - especially when asked to do a presentation at school. TED Talks are a fantastic resource, with thousands of excellent speeches on almost any topic your son or daughter can think of. We recommend getting your teen search the TED website for topics that they find most interesting and watch some of the videos on these areas, taking notes about what they liked about the speech, and what they didn't. This research can be a huge help when it comes to writing and presenting their own work, as well as inspire them to be more confident in their abilities. TED have even put together a collection of 9 talks by impressive kids, which can be watched here.