Public speaking is a powerful skills, yet young students (and even older ones) are often rather fearful of it. In fact, it remains a common fear well into adulthood for many people.
Some kids are naturally good speakers and take to public speaking, while others fear standing in front of an audience and talking to them. Public speaking improves young people’s overall communication skills, increases self-esteem and confidence, plans and organize their thoughts, expresses their ideas in front of the class and develops leadership skills. It is an essential skill to learn and master. It is one of those skills that will help them in their educational journey and professional career.
Here are a few ways for kids to learn and practice their public speaking.
1. Games and Activities
There are a lot of engaging games and activities for kids to develop their public speaking skills.
- Story Time with Cards: Write names of people, places, and objects on separate cards. Place all the cards in a bowl, invite your kids to pick out any two cards, and tell a story connecting the two words in the cards. This will help children with the practice of speaking with prompts and preparing speeches.
- Word Spin: Write random words on an individual piece of paper. Some example words – birthday, cheesecake, chair, slide, fairy, unicorn, good morning, etc. Once you have many cards, place them in a box and invite your child to pick a card and share the word or object’s history. This game aims to enhance their imagination and encourage them to speak fluently impromptu.
- Q&A With the Expert: Write as many fun and inspiring topics on separate pieces of paper and then let them conduct an interview session.
- Let’s Debate:Older children will enjoy this game as they develop an ability to think on their feet and learn to argue from both sides. Prepare a list of controversial topics and challenge your children to speak confidently for 30 seconds for the motion and 30 seconds against the motion.
- The Road Game: Ask your children to describe what they see in one minute in terms of shapes, colors and what is happening around them. This game can be played while driving, walking in the park, or using public transport. This game encourages kids to hone their observation skills which are vital to speaking well.
- The Woot Game: Choose a common connecting word used in everyday speech such as; like, it, or be. Give a topic to your child to speak on for thirty seconds. Every time the chosen words appear in the speech, they should be replaced with the word ‘woot.’ Example: Woot is a bright and sunny morning!
- The Imaginary Game: This game can be played in a group with family or neighbors. Ask each member to think of an animal or bird, or plant for one minute and talk about it. The other group members will ask questions on the size, color, where it is found,etc.
2. Use different apps available on the Play Store and Apple Store:
- HiveBrain Public Speaking App: This app has been created to simplify public speaking and is used by students in the classroom. This app also includes guided meditations and self-hypnosis to help children relax and reduce their anxiety of speaking in front of a crowd.
- Six Minutes: This app provides advice on teaching public speaking to children and PowerPoint presentation tips and speech delivery techniques.
- Powervocab.soft112.com: Students must have a good vocabulary and lexical range to speak well. PowerVocab is a game you can share with your kids to practice their vocabulary.
- BookWidgets: Create interactive games, quizzes, and exercises to teach your children public speaking. You can add images and words that every student has to use in their speech, and everyone will share a different story!
- Using Videos: Learning how to face the camera and communicate is an important skill nowadays. Encourage your children to record their speech, get comfortable with the camera and face the camera confidently. Watch the recordings later to note any improvements in body language, gestures, and eye-contact.
- The King’s Speech: A movie that addresses speech stuttering and how it affects social interaction. The film highlights that practicing speaking will not make the problem disappear. It will help you to build confidence, determine when stuttering happens and how to work with it.
- Larry Crowne: This movie highlights the importance of using humor and funny debates, the use of physical warm-up exercises to reduce the fear of facing an audience, and how to cover the entire audience with the practice of Visual Contact.
- My Fair Lady (1964): This movie highlights the public speaking is a skill learned over time, a journey that improves with practice.
- Rocket Science: This movie highlights many options to prevent and reduce stuttering, how to use an accent, whispering words and how to sing in your speech.
- Kid President: This movie brings home the importance of being natural, speaking with confidence and humor. Kids usually have these qualities, and everyone should retain them to be better speakers.
- Public Speaking Coaching Classes: If your kid needs help with public speaking or if you have a kid that shows talent in that area, getting them professional coaching can make all the difference. There are some great options of training and coaching classes available in most cities and several classes offer lessons online as well that your kid can benefit from. Leverage the expertise of these classes and their coaches to help your kid excel.
Public Speaking is a much-needed and vital skill. Kids can turn into confident and natural speakers and lose their fear and inhibitions of public speaking when they are trained at a young age.