For many children, the thought of speaking in front of an audience may make them extremely uncomfortable. Clammy palms, a fluttery heart and a jittery stomach are all common signs of fear in kids during public speaking. However, in this day and age, public speaking is required in almost all stages of a child’s life, including school presentations, scholarship and job interviews. Indeed, effective communication skills are essential in a child’s development and will continue to serve them well in adulthood.
As poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.” Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of honing public speaking skills for kids:
1. Boosts Self-Esteem
Having good public speaking skills is not just helpful for school presentations and performances. Children who can express themselves clearly and put across their thoughts effectively will find that they can connect better with the people around them. They may also feel valued for the opinions and ideas they bring to the table. In turn, it helps to boost their confidence and self-esteem.
2. Builds Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking refers to analysing and evaluating information objectively to form a judgement or solve a problem. When your child writes a speech for public speaking, a lot of work goes into researching the topic and structuring the findings to make them concise and logical for the audience. Questions are often directed at speakers at the end of a public speaking session, which trains your kid to think on their feet.
3. Shapes Opinions
Public speaking allows kids to formulate opinions about issues and be assertive about what they think is right and wrong. Providing the necessary platform and tools for a child to explore their views during their formative years is crucial to decision-making and helps to establish a unique sense of self.
4. Better Academic Performance
Kids who are adept at public speaking may also do better at school. Presentations are part and parcel of student life, so having these skills will definitely be advantageous. Being unafraid to speak up in class also means that your child will more likely clarify doubts and gain new knowledge.
5. Prepares Your Child for Life Beyond School
Whether it’s a job interview or a networking event, having excellent public speaking skills will come in handy in your child’s later stages of life. Moreover, exceptional speakers often go on to become successful leaders. After all, good leadership is all about effective communication. Equipping your child with public speaking skills will benefit them greatly when they step out into society in future.
How to Support Your Child in Developing Public Speaking Skills
Nobody is born knowing how to speak perfectly. Fortunately, it is a skill that can be learnt and mastered with practice. Here are some quick tips on how you can help your child hone their public speaking skills:
- Engage in healthy debate with your child. Encourage them to read up on news and current affairs, then ask them to share their opinion on a particular topic. This helps them articulate their thoughts and structure their arguments in a logical manner.
- Expose them to different speakers. Watch videos of speakers talking about various topics with your kid and discuss the techniques used by each speaker.
- Give them opportunities to communicate. Whether it is ordering food at a restaurant or greeting a relative, encourage your child to speak with different people (in a safe space, of course!).
- Enrol your child in public speaking courses. One of the most effective ways to improve your child’s public speaking skills is to get professional coaching. Champion Communication is one such programme offered by MindChamps Académie of Stars, a premier performing arts school in Singapore. The programme is for kids aged 4 to 12 and equips them with essential speech techniques and content development skills. Give your child a head start in public speaking today!