School is no longer about rote learning. How can you help to prepare your kids for projects and challenges of growing up in this globalised world? Being confident speakers is an important aspect of a child’s development. How well are you preparing your child in this aspect?
Some children might be totally active and loud around the house but they might shrink and shiver when asked to present in front of their class/extended family/strangers. Some parents only realise that being a confident speaker is important when their child reaches their teenage years. By then, it might be much harder to develop their public speaking skills. Therefore, you should take every opportunity for your child to present seriously even if it is just a five-minute presentation in class. Now we are going to offer some tips which your child can use to become a confident speaker.
Public speaking for kids
1. Understand the audience
Help your child understand the concerns of the audience. Ask them: Who is listening to you? Are they your classmates, your teachers or just family members? What level of knowledge do they have in the subject you are going to speak about? Ensure that they tailor the content to their audience. Ask your child if they find their own speech boring. This can be an important gauge on whether the audience will doze off.
2. Have a good look at the audience at the start
After your child gets to the stage or in front of the crowd/family/class, he/she should not start talking immediately. A lot of people start talking right away, and that is out of nerves. He/She should pause a couple of seconds taking a good strong look with a strong smile (great leaders always do that before they start their speech). That brief 2-3 seconds can be very crucial because it conveys trust. It helps focus the attention on your child and gives immense confidence to him/her.
3. Disarm the audience with mild self-deprecation
Your child can tell a joke about himself/herself. You can help your child to learn to laugh at himself/herself. Children who can laugh at their own mistakes or use themselves as part of a joke are more resilient and optimistic. Some speakers use their body size/accent/name to make fun of themselves or some hilarious mistakes they made this week. This often turns the speakers’ weaknesses into advantages.
More tips on the next page!
4. Master your body language
There are two main aspects – eye contact and body movement. Make eye contact with audience members one by one. Randomly scanning the room is very distracting. Your child should focus only on his/her supporters — the uncle/best friend who is visibly engaged and enjoying the speech — because they give your child confidence. Coming forward conveys trust. So, when your child is conveying his/her idea, he/she should move a few inches forward subtly. Going back can send messages of dishonestly. Avoid showing the back of the hand or the back of the body – those all create distrust.
5. Vary your tone
Varying tones help to keep the audience engaged. Help to hear where you child is fumbling for the right word or where the language sounds awkward or flat. If this is going to be a formal presentation, repeat until he/she can make it sound smooth. For reference, here are some examples of good speeches, this speech by Bill Clinton (if you don’t like Clinton then here’s one by Steve Jobs).
Last word of this article: Say thanks! People spend their time to listen to your child and he/she should say thanks! That is basic courtesy.
We hope that the tips make your kids tell their stories or convey their messages more effectively. If you would like more tips on specific Powerpoint-related formal presentations, leave your comments and let us know! Feel free to share your tips which you use to help your child to be a confident speaker!