Growing as a Young Public Speaker – How to Help Your Child
For most of us, public speaking was not a skill we learnt from young. Aside from the traditional subjects in school like mathematics or science, public speaking or communication skills were seldom taught as a stand-alone subject or a dedicated class. The opportunities for your child now is boundless! With the variety of public speaking or communication skills available on offer, it may be tedious and difficult to find the best fit for your child.
For us, the best method may take effort to uncover. Still, it starts best with understanding your child’s learning needs (at least insofar as skills learning is concerned!). At a young age, it is important to ensure that the habit-building process is relevant, efficient, and effective. This is easier said than done. What are the criteria you can use? What kind of communication skills should your child have? Should it have a formal qualification? These are some of the questions our students’ parents have asked us, and we thought of sharing some of the insights to help you develop your young speaker!
FAQ #1: Speech & Drama? Eloquence? Charisma?
Off the bat, you may have seen several options available for you. Some offer a drama-centric syllabus, others focus on formal qualifications. We believe each option out there has their advantage and the key consideration is not to attack or compare the options but to understand what each offer. By doing so, you can match the learning experience to your child’s unique needs.
For us at Public Speaking Academy, we believe that the continuous stage-time and habit-building process is important. This involves a focus on exposure to modern and relevant techniques and opportunities for your child to practise these skills in common communication settings (and not just on stage!). For example, some of our students join us with a pre-existing love and bravery for the stage. These students tend to benefit from an acute and precise focus that target specific habits (for example, shifting of weight from the feet to feet). When picking out the best option for your child, remember to unpack the specific methodology and the benefits of the various efforts to narrow the most suitable option for your child.
FAQ #2: Possible to bounce back from a bad performance?
Moving away from the buffet of options, the desserts in your child’s communication learning journey is his/her ability to deal with setbacks, challenges, or even defeats. For a young speaker, there are various opportunities to put their communication skills to the test – from story-telling to general public speaking competitions. These settings offer a chance for your child to challenge themselves, and how to pick themselves up from this fight and prepare themselves for the next.
We believe that this process is important. A speaking setback or disaster (e.g. stage fright, panicking on the spot) may often result in a long-term fear of the stage. This fear may require weeks, months, or even years of coaxing to rebuild confidence again. From a young age, your child can nurture that mature mentality to face adversity with strength and focus on the growth process. For example, in our classes, where mini contests are conducted, both the winners and the winning points of all speakers are acknowledged and celebrated. Those who did not make it for that round look up to the rest as role models – this is the positive, strong mindset we hope to continue to develop!
Need a real-life example? She participated in our competition in 2018:
Didn’t clinch the top prize…throw in the towel? She came back in 2019:
With perseverance and improvement of her speaking skills, it is just a matter of time…don’t you think so?
FAQ #3: General Confidence & Stage Confidence…how?
Finally, another question that we often receive concerns the interplay between a shy child and his/her public speaking abilities. We often draw a distinction between general confidence (that may accompany various aspects such as leadership, sports) and public speaking confidence. The latter builds on a strong basis in technique and a positive learning environment. In that sense, remember to ensure a welcoming and encouraging environment for your child’s learning growth.
One aspect of this environment is the openness to fail – yes, you read that right! Public speaking or communication skills, in general, is more than just following a template or a rubric. The same speech, when delivered by two different speakers, is likely to lead to different effects. Instead, give your young speaker that space to experiment with the different techniques he/she has picked up!
Help Your Child Become a Powerful Communicator!
It is an exciting time for your child. In the current education world, more talent types are being recognised beyond just the academic perspective. Public speaking, for example, has already started to feature as a Direct School Admission (“DSA”) category. All these bode well for your child as they enter an exciting time to develop their skills. In this journey, you too play a significant role. We hope that with our sharing today, you will have a guide to help you pave the best path for your child!
By The Way…
If you’re keen to take your child’s public speaking & presentation skills (either kids in-class presentation or adult business/corporate presentation) to the next level so that he/ she may public speak and present with flair and charisma, feel free to check out our offerings below!
For more about our Public Speaking Course for Kids / Children:
For more about our Public Speaking Course for Adults :