Some kids shine on the stage from an early age. Others have an intense fear of public speaking from day one. Regardless of where your child fits in, it’s important to encourage, nurture and provide plenty of practice in the fine art of public speaking. Why? Because it is a critical aspect in everyday life.
From pre-kindy show ‘n share to oral presentations, from job interviews to press conferences, public speaking is not something you can avoid forever (trust me, I’ve tried). It is, however, something that countless people are terrified of doing.
Public speaking – or the ability to engage an audience through oral speech – is something that does take practice. However, a compelling public speaker is one that is confident and self-assured. It’s not something that every child will be born with but it is something that can be taught both at school through show ‘n share, oral presentations, debate classes, spelling bees and drama performances as well as at home.
Easy Ways to Encourage Public Speaking at Home
How can you nurture public speaking at home? Here are a few dos and donts:
- Do keep up to date with what presentations your kids have and practice with them during the week.
- Do incorporate speaking-related family game night into your routine (such as charades and Pictionary). Your kids may only be communicating through body language and pictures but this is still a fun confidence building activity. You might also want to consider hosting family spelling bees or karaoke nights.
- Do encourage communication at the dinner table. This is an informal way to practice basic speaking etiquette. If your kids prefer to chow down, you can eat first and then spend fifteen minutes after the meal and before clean-up having a discussion.
- Do consider a weekly show ‘n share where everyone takes turn sharing a story or an object that means something to them.
- Do look into confidence building hobbies. If your little one has a love or interest in public speaking, consider looking into drama courses, debate classes, spelling bee competitions and other courses that foster this love of speech.
- Don’t just buy your kid’s raffle tickets! Make them go door to door, reciting their little spiel over and over again. It may mean more work for you (and them) but it gives them practice in public speaking.
Keep in mind that even if your children can talk a million miles an hour in a comfortable setting, they may have trouble communicating their thoughts in front of an audience. Bringing public speaking into their world in a personal, positive and safe situation, such as at home, is a great way to nurture this skill and let them grow into great public speakers.