Speaking Tips for Children

Ten-year-old Sophie walks up to the microphone, takes a deep breath and confidently speaks.

“I’m here to talk about what being a leader means to me. First of all, a leader always includes everybody and never leaves anyone out. Second of all, they listen to everybody’s ideas. Last but not least, a leader is somebody you can trust. A leader should be a good role model and somebody you can look up to. That’s what leadership means to me and that’s the kind of leader I want to be this year.”

Even though she’s practising in an empty gymnasium on this Thursday morning, there are a few things evident about Sophie’s speech: she’s not nervous, her delivery is well-paced and thoughtful, and the authenticity of her words comes through clearly.

Sophie’s skill isn’t an anomaly. She is one of 44 Grade 5 students practising their speech, all of whom have the same confidence and poise. The leadership speeches are an important moment in the Grade 5 leadership program.

“We want students to be intentional about their leadership and be able to name what that looks like for them,” says Kathleen Cook, Assistant Director of the Junior School. “We believe in children being authentic and going deep in their thinking. Having them go through a process where they can articulate their ideas means it’s going to be authentic. We want their words to be real and truthful and honest.”

Kathleen and the teachers run brainstorming workshops with all Grade 5 students to help each one thoughtfully think about and uncover what is most important for them to share with an audience.

“It’s not about what their teacher thinks, it’s what matters most to them so when they get up in front of the school they’re speaking from the heart,” she says. ” Part of honouring children and believing in what they can do is giving everyone the opportunity to speak, to personalize and think about where their gifts lie.”

On Friday, Grade 5 students read their speeches in front of their schoolmates, teachers and parents. By the time students are in Grade 5, many already have experience speaking to an audience. Students get introduced to public speaking as early as Kindergarten and gradually work up to the formal leadership speeches in Grade 5. This process is intended to make their public speaking experiences as positive as possible.

“Public speaking and good communication matters in leadership and leadership roles. We want them to have the confidence, skills and tools in their toolbox to be able to speak comfortably to an audience,” Kathleen says. “Many children have never had the opportunity to give a formal speech, so it’s important they have a first successful experience so they feel good about it.”

From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership  to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer.  Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.

Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.

Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit


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