“Mummy & Daddy, I’m too Young”
Why Public Speaking Training Should Start Early For Your Child
“Why start young?”
A common question we get at our time here at the Public Speaking Academy concerns whether it is important to send their children for public speaking courses at such a young age. There is a temptation to focus on the perceived “hard” skills such as mathematics or sports and relegate “soft skills” such as public speaking as a low priority. Public speaking skills, however, is fast becoming the discerning skill in the modern, automated workplace. Beyond just being able to present a speech or speak confidently, effective communication skills in the realm of interpersonal communication or conflict resolution are crucial elements of powerful leadership. These skills especially rely on foundational public speaking techniques for success, such as body language or vocal control.
When I was younger, I did not get an opportunity to start correcting my negative communication habits early. While I was comfortable with speaking before an audience in Secondary School and Junior College, no one ever highlighted to me that my speaking speed was extremely fast and at times, incoherent. Even as I progress in my career as a lawyer, I continued viewing the habit of speaking fast as a desirable trait. I discovered late on that this was a habit I had cultivated and encouraged. With early intervention, I learn that my speaking speed was associated with my nerves before a presentation. I then started working on better vocal control and pacing.
This story was an example of how early intervention could have prevented me from persisting with bad communication habits and instead focus on developing positive ones. In this article, let me share three simple reasons why starting your child early with public speaking training for kids will be beneficial.
#1. Get Ahead with a Head Start
We believe in creating unfair advantages for your child as he/she embarks into the real world by equipping them with the necessary communication skills for kids, from young. Starting young allows your child to start picking up the public speaking or communication skills that will set them apart at an early age. The advent of young, confident speakers, such as the recent speeches by young activist Greta Thunberg, shows how effective communication skills can turn even a child to an influencing force before adults.
That said, a head start is not an overnight transformation. A constructive public speaking course will help your child discover both effective and relevant communication skills which they can apply comfortably at their own pace. Beyond mere exposure to new techniques, providing children with a safe space from young to hone their public speaking skills and grow early. This head start gives them a chance to move ahead of their peers or even future competition as they leave school and enter the working world. Starting early gives your child that early chance to race ahead of the pack!
Check Out Our Winners From PSA’s National Public Speaking Competition (Primary) 2019; Do You Think They Have A Head Start? You Decide 😀
#2. Early Bird Catches the Worm – Start Habit-Building Early!
My experience above shows how negative habits if left unaddressed, can persist in your child. If not pointed out early, negative habits may take root and become more stubborn. Beyond rooting out negative habits, starting your child young means introducing him/her to effective communication skills and techniques at an early age. Your child will get a longer runway to practise these skills. With a safe and constructive training space, exposing your child to specific public speaking techniques allows them to internalise them as habits early.
It is important to remember that habit-building is neither an instantaneous process nor a monumental one. Rote learning or persistent drilling alone may be inadequate in our experience. In Atomic Habits by James Clear, the author expounds on how habit-building may involve stacking small habits instead of looking for massive changes (at page 15): “Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action”. In the same manner, starting with simple techniques may be effective in ensuring your child’s habit-building process sets off on an explosive start.
#3. Let Your Child Explore and Develop His/Her Style
Finally, allowing your child the safe space to grow as an individual and a young communicator also means they get to explore and pursue various speaking styles from young. For most of us, developing a speaking style at a later stage may be a laborious or unnatural process, especially when you have to reconcile with your personality. For example, a shy or introverted individual may find it difficult at the outset to develop an energetic or intoxicating speaking style immediately. This may involve an intensive habit-building and personality development process which one may not have the time or resources to achieve.
In contrast, starting early with your child allows him/her to start exploring various speaking styles and figure out which is the most appropriate for them. In our experience with our young students, as your child get comfortable with the idea of speaking before an audience, he/she will start to emulate or practise their preferred speaking styles. This is a significant step in confidence-building – the more comfortable they are with exploring the various styles, the more likely they can develop as a confident speaker from young.
Give Your Child Space and Time to Grow
While we share the need to give your child a head start in public speaking for kids, we also emphasise the equally important consideration that every child should be allowed the space and time to grow at their individual pace. Not every child will develop at the same rate, and the learning objectives should be able to meet these various aspects as well.
With that, start igniting your child’s growth to give him/her a head start, develop habits and find their style early by looking out for public speaking courses for children!