Recipe for Success – What Goes Into a Public Speaking Training Programme for Kids?
If this is your first time considering a public speaking training programme for your kid, you may find it daunting to research and learn more about what such courses entail. For the most part, e-mail brochures or marketing pages tend to set out the broad benefits. However, we understand that as parents, you want to know what your child will be exploring in any such programme. The investment in time (and money!) to develop your child’s soft skills should not be a blind process!
In today’s article, we thought of sharing the inner workings of a public speaking programme, especially one that is tailored for young communicators. Beyond the fluff and administrative details, the programme pedagogy can help you decide between the various training programmes on offer. Whether it is a public speaking programme like ours or another enrichment programme elsewhere, you can be better equipped in choosing the most appropriate course for your child.
Here are three things we emphasise in crafting our public speaking training programmes for our young learners!
Build Rapport as Bridges
Even before the learning or exploration process begins, our training team find it important to create bridges with our young learners. This is achieved through a bridge-building process – creating rapport with our students to create a safe, open, and constructive learning environment. While some may hold the view that a child is unlikely to appreciate rapport-building, we believe that it is part of a communicator skillset to understand the importance of conversation and relationship-building – especially at a young age!
Our training team, for example, utilises a variety of pedagogical approaches to building the rapport bridge with our young communicators. From the moment they step in, we begin an inquiry process – by unpacking their interests or even passion. A brief exchange can offer information that can be used to encourage the learners during the subsequent activity. Another approach (e.g., in our 2-Day masterclass, S’Peak Performance Programme) is to use storytelling based on the trainer’s personal and intimate experiences. This open and honest approach helps to reassure the learners that the programme is interactive and engaging.
As young communicators, the learning curve may be steep and scary, especially if you are not used to public speaking. Some believe that learning is achieved by throwing the students into the deep end (e.g., having them dive on stage to present); others prefer having the students work on and master that one speech. We believe that the best approach is an incremental learning process, with guidance from the trainers.
For our programmes across Public Speaking Academy, we take a step-up approach in encouraging our young communicators. We believe that each child should be allowed to develop at their own pace. So, for example, participants in our S’Peak Performance Programme do not jump directly into a full speech presentation in front of the entire cohort. Instead, they apply specific techniques/components in break-out sessions (e.g., smaller group, bite-sized objective). This will culminate in a showcase presentation on the last day to apply what they have explored throughout the programme!
Challenge Yourself to Find Your Voice
All that said, a challenging environment is also required to ensure that a young communicator pushes and expands their comfort zone. This is the balance between following the learner’s pace but imbuing the motivation to improve their communication skills. We find that objective-setting no longer becomes a fearful topic for our young learners as they see it as part of their growth as communicators (and how they can apply the skills beyond the classroom!).
Toeing the line between challenge and comfort can be achieved in three ways. First, young communicators can set out bite-sized objectives or goals to accomplish. For example, instead of giving a laundry list of improvement points, we focus on sharing two key areas of improvement for each exercise/activity. Second, have a dedicated mentor for the learning process. For example, our S’Peak Performance School Holiday Programme is anchored by Public Speaking World Champion Darren Tay and his team of experienced Trainers who have already built rapport with the students. Third, continue acknowledging the building on the learners’ interests. As unique individuals, our young communicators are likely to be more open speaking about areas they are passionate about.
*** Our trainers’ view: “Seek for Progress instead of Perfection” ***
Your Child’s Public Speaking Journey …
Choosing the right enrichment program/ school holiday programme for your child can be a difficult process, especially if you are unsure about how the programme runs. Our sharing today aims to shed light on the main principles that guide our training programmes (e.g., our S’Peak Performance School Holiday Programme). We hope the points above have helped to shed some light on how our programmes are conducted!