As our children go through life, the importance of public speaking skills becomes more apparent. As a parent, encouraging the development of public speaking skills helps your children grow in other ways- these skills are inextricably linked with leadership and career success.
A major part of our lives depends on our ability to communicate, and we know all individuals can benefit from working consistently on their ability to communicate both one on one and in public. In this day and age, parents know that a well-rounded child is not just able to understand mathematical concepts and write well, but must also be able to express themselves effectively. The importance of public speaking cannot be overemphasized.
What is public speaking?
It’s the act of effectively addressing a live audience face-to-face. It’s differentiated from casual conversation by the type of information presented, which is meaningful, purposeful and formal.
Why is public speaking important?
In the workplace, the importance of public speaking skills is highlighted by the ability to effectively present your ideas to superiors, make a persuasive case for promotion or raise, and get your coworkers to like and trust you. For artists, it is an important means to reach their audience, and for entrepreneurs, a powerful tool for motivating teams, engaging with customers and raising funds.
Even as individuals, we benefit from public speaking skills in numerous ways. On average, strong public speakers command more attention and get more recognition and have an easier time forming friendships. Kids with strong public speaking skills have the power to influence people as adults, and are often natural leaders. Looking back at history, we can observe the importance of public speaking skills through many examples of world leaders whose ability to speak persuasively played a pivotal role in helping them advance to positions of power that allowed them to make a difference.
Public speaking helps develop vital qualities in kids:
Public speaking activities such as theater, debate and student council help kids to overcome their hidden fears and develop confidence in their own abilities.
Influential public speakers tend to demonstrate leadership abilities in any field they enter. Kids with good public speaking skills are often more popular and more likely to take on positions of responsibility in school and college.
Kids that learn public speaking are often more confident in social settings, which makes them better at voicing opinions and getting teammates to like them when working in groups.
4. Critical Thinking
A good argument or a good speech often needs to be logical, precise and well crafted. When kids learn public speaking, they also learn to construct smart and convincing arguments. They learn to justify the validity of their opinions. All of these things expand their critical thinking skills.
5. Communication & Articulation
Communication and public speaking are interrelated. Public speaking can help refine both verbal and non-verbal communication, which are essential for personal relationships, work situations, and social interactions.
Public speaking teaches children the art of persuasion, which is important in order to convince people and have a positive influence on others.
How can your child work on their public speaking skills?
Remember, while we can understand the importance of public speaking, not everybody is a natural at it and that’s okay! It develops over time, through a combination of practice and commitment. Without communications skills, one’s ability to progress further in life becomes impacted. We have listed ways in which your child can work on their public speaking skills.
1. Teach them to face an audience early on
The best way to start is to encourage your child to perform in front of others at an early age. Help them gently get over their self-consciousness by providing them with a safe environment where they feel comfortable.
2. Encourage them to join public speaking activities
Given the importance of public speaking, many schools have started making it a part of the curriculum. Encourage your child to participate in debates, events like Model United Nations, and be proactive and communicate in the classroom. When started at an early age, this encourages your child to become a confident public speaker!
3. Prepare key points & rehearse
Don’t show up unprepared! Make sure you have content to talk about as you interact with the crowd, so that you are not required to pause and think too much during the speech. When your child practices their speech prior to addressing an audience, they receive a confidence boost and improve the flow of how they speak. Consistent practice helps reduce hesitation and address faults noticed in the oration.
4. Get to know the audience & engage with them
It’s important to help your child concentrate on understanding the audience they’ll be addressing- it helps ensure familiarity with topics that would catch their focus, and would also help your kid speak in a manner that they would enjoy listening to. Work with your kid to make sure the audience remains engaged in the content they are relaying. Part of the importance of public speaking skills lies in the ability to ensure that the audience has an interest in the opinions and views being put forth. Increase audience engagement by asking questions or running short exercises with the crowd to keep them captivated!
5. Review & focus on improvement
At the end of each session, sit with your child and reflect on how it went. While rehearsing and even while giving the speech, ensure it is being recorded so that you can go back and together observe the areas which require refinement. Help your child be mindful of where they feel they can improve and focus on those areas when practicing!
6. Make sure they believe in themselves!
Make sure your child believes in their ability to perform well. Having faith in yourself helps show the audience you are genuine and confident, and has a great impact on how they respond to a speaker!
7. Consider a communication course for kids
The importance of public speaking is clear, and research has even shown that kids who speak confidently and communicate effectively perform better academically. Enroll your child in a course that will help refine their skills and prepare them for success!
The Bottom Line
Kids who learn public speaking benefit in many aspects of life. As a parent, do what you can to ensure that public speaking activities are a core part of your child’s education, and give them plenty of opportunities to practice their public speaking skills outside of school!