Did you know that you can begin to teach your child how to speak in public from the moment they begin to talk? It doesn’t matter if they need it immediately or not, it will be a useful skill in the future. Excellent public speaking skills will help them stand up for themselves, boost self-confidence, and even do better in school projects. You don’t have to worry if your child is shy, the tips below can help turn him or her into an excellent public speaker.
1. Make fun videos.
In today’s world, children are exposed to devices such as phones, tablets, or laptops. Whilst the experts say it’s not a good idea to expose them to too much screen time, it’s easy to encourage children to make videos for fun. Record them saying anything they like in front of the camera and then play it back and watch it together later for a good laugh. What you might not realise is that this is actually great practice for them. If you keep it up, they will likely become more confident.
2. Read stories aloud.
Practice with their favourite books or stories and read that bedtime story with them aloud and ask them to repeat words or phrases. With that, they will get comfortable with speaking out loud. Try it in front of a relative or friend and then slowly build up to a small audience. This will also help make public speaking an easier feat for them as they become more comfortable reading and presenting in front of others.
3. Talk to them all the time.
One way to build self-confidence and make your child a better public speaker is by talking to them all the time. Ask questions, enquire about their day, take time to speak to them, and keep them talking. When they ask you questions, answer them. Children are curious, and you can leverage this curiosity to make them speak up more.
4. Don’t Baby Talk.
There’s no need to talk to your children in a gibberish, baby language when they are perfectly capable of comprehending and understanding adults. Constantly baby-talking them will make them feel like they are babies. Talking to them like an adult will make them gather a vast vocabulary and have knowledge about stuff that other children their age do not. If they are knowledgeable, it’s easier for them to raise their hands and speak up whenever necessary. This way, you will not only be raising a good public speaker but also a smart child.
5. Allow them to speak for themselves.
As parents, you should allow your children to speak for themselves and express what they need. Do not make the mistake of speaking for them in a bid to support. This does not help the child but makes them shy and they end up depending on you to speak for them all the time. Encourage them to speak up for themselves instead, to teachers, classmates, and friends. This will help build their courage and make speaking up easy, even when you’re not around.
6. Listen to them
You know how frustrating it is for you when you are trying to speak to someone, and it doesn’t seem like they are listening? It is even worse for children. If you do not listen to what they have to say, they will be discouraged to speak up. Limit the time you spend on your phone when they’re around and instead give children your full attention. It is always easier to speak when they have everyone’s attention.
If you have a shy buddy, work on being their friend and encouraging them to talk often. Your home is their first stage. If you make talking at home easy, the chances are that they will replicate this in public.
Jaimie Abbott is a mum-of-two and an award-winning media professional and public speaking coach. She has spent two decades working in the industry as a Radio and TV journalist, media adviser, RAAF Public Affairs Officer, and now owner of her own public speaking training company.
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