Leaning back on the wall, avoiding eye contact, not speaking loudly and clearly – this a common behavior that children exhibit while presenting or speaking in public. This could be due to fear or lack of confidence. But you can fix this and help your child become naturally confident while speaking to a group. Public speaking skills in kids can be imbibed at a young age with some proven tips and tactics below to raise a confident public speaker!
• Work on Your Kids’ Anxiety
Most people experience anxiety before appearing and speaking in front of a crowd. Public speaking for kids especially can involve a lot of self-doubt irrespective of the hours of practice. So, bring your child to ease by showing them that you believe in them. Encouraging words are very important for building confidence in kids. Appreciate them for the efforts they put in and reward them every time they show improvement. You can also help them with simple breathing exercises before starting to speak.
• Try Show and Tell Activity with Them
Children tend to face stage fright if presentation skills in kids are not imbibed at a young age. So, try to eliminate the fear of public speaking even before it develops. One great activity for that is ‘Show and Tell’. For example, you can ask your child to show their favorite toy to everybody at dinner time or at family gatherings. Since children are comfortable around family, they will most likely do great, which, in turn, would boost their confidence to speak in front of a group of peers and teachers.
• Teach Them How to Speak in the Spotlight
Once your kid masters ‘show and tell’, you can help them slowly progress to presentation with fun-filled activities. A great example can be talking about a holiday trip in front of friends and family. Most schools focus on such activities, but you can prepare your child even before they get to do something like this at school. Encourage them to create a short video to introduce their vacation experience. You can also help them create a PowerPoint presentation of holiday pictures and explain each picture in a few lines. If you practice this at home beforehand, they will do better at school and it will significantly increase their confidence. This is one of the best tips to raise a confident public speaker.
• Invest Time in Teaching Presentation Skills
Begin by helping them understand the importance of presentation skills. You can show them videos of public speakers and encourage them to pick their role model. Once they are drawn to the idea of presentation, improve presentation skills in kids with these tips:
1. Help your child create a fun presentation so that they enjoy the process rather than taking it as a task.
2. Help them create a plan of what to say with each slide.
3. Make placards for each slide that you can hold up for cues if they are stuck somewhere. Knowing that you have their back can reduce fear in kids.
4. Remind them to maintain proper posture and make eye contact.
5. Help them speak loudly and clearly; help with pronunciation and intonation wherever required.
6. Clap and smile to make sure their confidence doesn’t dip.
• Help Them With Time Management
It’s not uncommon to get cut off during a public speech or presentation because the time got over. Most of us have experienced that. So, teach your child to work within strict timelines at a young age. Help them summarize their speech without losing the essence of it. To make it interesting for them, encourage them to beat their own record time.
• Imbibe the sense of self-expression in your kids.
• Tell them exactly the words to say when presenting in public or carrying an audience. And then, ask them to suggest alternatives.
• Create enthusiasm for public speaking in kids and don’t make it look like work.
Don’t be too hard on your child. Help them learn at their pace and keep expressing that you’re there for them. These were the tips to raise a confident public speaker.