Children usually find public speaking scary at first. However, with the right focus and support they can learn to structure great speeches and deliver them with confidence. One of the most common fears is public speaking, which is why experts recommend kids get experience early on. Being comfortable talking to others – whether one-on-one or in front of a group – will allow kids to better convey information, appear more well-mannered, and make stronger scoail connections. These skills will last a lifetime! Here are 7 public speaking tips for kids to help them deliver great speeches more confidently.
Tip #1 - GET YOUR AUDIENCES ATTENTION
This is our first tip for an important reason. Many studies show that a speaker has approximately 10 seconds to grab your audiences attention. Otherwise many will switch off. This can be even shorter if you have an audience made up of children! Be sure you hook your audience from your very first sentence so they engage in the rest of your speech. To grab your audiences attention consider using rhetorical questions or interesting facts that relate to their topic.
Tip #2 - TALK TO YOUR PASSION
No matter what style of speech a child delivers, they can find a way to include a topic they are passionate about. You may be able to make a passion subject the main topic of your speech. Even if you can’t, you may use it for supporting anecdotes or facts. There are many ways to incorporate passion topics. By choosing a topic your child loves – whether it be fishing, chess, climate change or rainbows – they will be more excited about their speech. Usually this translates into less nerves and a more convincing and engaging delivery.
Tip #3 - REPEAT THE KEY MESSAGE
What is the one key message you want your audience to remember? Your audience usually only retains a few key pieces of information. So keep your message simple & repeat it regularly throughout your speech. Keep your message simple & repeat it regularly throughout your speech. See what we did there? Whilst the structure of your speech & your key message are usually the areas many children spend most of their time, other areas need even more time. If you want to ensure your child’s speech is delivered most effectively allocate plenty of time to the next tips…
Tip #4 - EXPRESS YOUR BEST
Research shows that over 80% of your message is delivered not through what you say (your words) but through how you say it. After your child has written their speech, make sure plenty of time is spent practising your delivery. Focus on your facial expressions, body language and vocal variety & expression. This is where the magic will REALLY happen!
Tip #5 - HAVE PERFECT POSTURE
Looking confident can actually help you feel confident. Be sure to stand with your feet shoulder width apart (not swaying), shoulders back, head up and eyes looking at the audience, or slightly above their eyes. The simple act of striking a confident posture will help make the audience be more engaged in your child’s speech!
Tip #6 - USE VISUALS
Visual aids support a child's spoken words with pictures and illustrations. Visual aids can take a variety of forms, and if used weerl it is expected that they are neat, visable, readable, large and easy to see, and prepared for the audience's benefit. Visuals are permenant so help to make your speech memorable. A visual aid can be used to support an exemporaneous style of speakin where the child can connect more directly and naturally with their chosen audience. Incidentally, that same visual aid will assist the speaker to share ideas naturally without feeling the need to memorise a specific wording, they can speak to the ideas in their own words in a fluent logically developed manner.
Tip #7 - THE POWER OF PRACTICE
Practice is very important when preparing to deliver a great speech. There is no getting around it. So allow plenty of time for this. Practice in front of a mirror and in front of your family to receive feedback. Consider video recording your speech to self-assess areas of potential development as well. The more you practice, the more confident you will find yourself becoming.
Practicing with a qualified teacher is even better! If you consider this option, be sure to find a qualified and experienced teacher who is skilled at teaching children. Just like being a good sport person requires regular & consistent practice over time with an experience teacher, so too does being a great speaker or communicator. A great teacher will provide opportunities to speaking in front of others to build your child’s confidence over time.