Public Speaking Tips For Elementary School Children

Break into groups

Younger children fare better in smaller groups, where the attention is limited, rather than getting up in front of an entire class. By breaking into groups, you could have them present to only one person at a time. Gradually increase the size of their audience, to create an atmosphere that is less threatening and scary.

Make use of props

As practice, allow your younger child to make use of props to help support their presentation and set them at ease. An impromptu speech is helped along when the child has a familiar object to refer to (in a “show and tell” manner) if they run out of things to say. You could use this time to teach your child that speeches should have a beginning, a middle and an end. This basic concept is very important, according to Amy Lightfoot of Teaching English. By familiarizing them with the proper structure of a speech, you naturally help to boost their confidence and focus, and eventually they will be bold enough to experiment with different styles.

Pay attention

When practicing for a speech, always give your child your full attention – even if you’ve heard it before! Make eye contact and encourage them by showing positive body language (nodding, smiling etc). Try to avoid doing other things at the same time. This will encourage your child to maintain eye contact with you during the rendering of the speech.

Practice makes perfect

Penshurst West principal, Merrilyn Jenkins, suggests that you equip your child to talk in public simply by creating a lot of opportunities for them to practice doing so. Studying technique is important and there are many wonderful articles and pieces of information that can help an astute learner further develop their talking skills. But for your young child to succeed, encourage them to watch some of the greatest speeches ever recorded and then, create an opportunity for them to deliver some of their own!

Choosing the right topics

When your child is old enough, encourage them to choose their own topics to speak about during practice sessions. Topics that are of personal interest, narrating a memory of a special event or even sharing about their favourite toy or activity, can be a great way to get the ball rolling. Use this opportunity to work on developing captivating beginnings and endings and to work on the pitch and pace of their delivery.

Research and structure

Once your child is ready to pen his own speech, work out a template that will make it easier for him to work out exactly what he wants to say. The template can include things like the topic and the duration of the speech, the purpose of the speech and the type of audience he will be addressing. When determining the purpose of the speech, take into consideration the final desired outcome. Encourage your child to do proper research into the topic, by making use of newspapers, magazines and the internet.

Give good feedback

Regardless of how well they are doing, always encourage your children to keep going! Criticism can be offered in the form of positive feedback, rather than reproach or scolding. Since public speaking is something that can be learned over time, keep encouraging your child with words of affirmation, to create a positive experience that will hopefully inspire them to do better.

Confidence, discernment and public speaking ability are key elements when working towards a successful career. Mastering these important life skills will not only boost your child’s self-esteem and confidence, but it will give them relationship building skills that they are able to use in every sphere of their lives.

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