Help children master public speaking

What you need to know:

  • Gone are the days when such skills were not important. Today with a lot of exposure, social media engagements, and virtual conferences, a generation where schools no longer select leaders but children campaign even to be class monitors, schools and churches have a lot of activities that involve them, among others, your child needs to be on top of the game.

Public speaking is a vital skill that everyone should master.

In this digital generation, you can’t afford to raise a child who can’t ably express themselves.

Gone are the days when such skills were not important. Today with a lot of exposure, social media engagements, and virtual conferences, a generation where schools no longer select leaders but children campaign even to be class monitors, schools and churches have a lot of activities that involve them, among others, your child needs to be on top of the game.

Public speaking is not only a challenge for children but adults too. Public speaking promotes skills like communication, presentation, self-confidence, leadership, self-esteem, negotiation, networking and reduces the chances of your child being bullied.

It has now become a career for some. We now hire MCs and moderators on our functions. Children who are good at self-expression are also very good at organising events, coordinating activities, and making life better for others.

You can intentionally guide the child to master the art of public speaking right from childhood. Whatever you do with your child in preparing them to be great speakers will  help them stand out amongst others or through challenges.

Here are a few tips you can implement to enable your child to improve this skill.

Storytelling: Develop a habit of storytelling in your family. Let your children always share something. You can  tell them stories you know and ask them to do the same. This will help them to always speak out, including the introverts. They will also become innovative because they have to think of a story to tell the next time. You can also encourage them to read books so that they have a story to tell.

Family prayer altars. Children who have grown up in strong Christian homes where they have daily devotions and prayers can easily speak without fear. Let your children coordinate the devotion/family prayer time, read the Bible, lead praise and worship.

Family fun moments. You can also organise some activities that bring the fun home. These can be debates, movie nights, public speaking night competitions, family comedy shows, or music and dance competitions.

Think about any activity you feel can help your children have fun at any time of the day. You must be part of these activities. After every activity, sit down and ask them to evaluate themselves. This will help them know how to receive any feedback, they will learn the value of teamwork and the essence of evaluation.

Media shows. There are TV programmes on where people talk about various topics. There are also children’s shows like America has got a talent. You can also download public speaking videos and show them to your children if you want them to develop this skill. As they watch certain programmes, you must ask them questions about what they think they have and what others don’t have, what they need to improve, or the new things they have learnt.

Consider public speaking classes: There are people who train others in public speaking and you can engage them. If you don’t have money or time, you can still use YouTube classes to train your children.

Practice public speaking: We all know that practice makes perfect. Your children must be intentional in practicing public speaking. Let them get involved in school debates where they develop the ability to be persuasive and logical with arguments without fear, take part in leadership competitions and in church Sunday school.

Teach them to master their audience: Knowing the audience you are going to address helps you know the language to use. For example, the way you talk at a wedding may differ from when you are preaching or addressing your peers. Help them know when to use storytelling or crack jokes. Let them learn how to address different people by their titles. Let them also know that public appearance matters a lot and attracts the attention of your audience.

Being knowledgeable: A good public speaker should also be well informed about what is trending in society. They should be knowledgeable in certain areas of their interest. This will help them keep up-to-date with current information, read hard, be creative and innovative, and think of how to make their audience attentive and happy.

Dickson Tumuramye

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