Speak Up: Boosting Your Child’s Public Speaking Skills

Fear of public speaking is something that affects people of all ages. For adults, it might be giving a presentation to the board or leading a meeting at work. For students, it can be presenting a report or talking in front of their class. Though it may not seem like a big deal to you, to your child it can be nerve-wracking and keep them from doing their best.

Fortunately, there are ways you can support your child in building their confidence and improving their public speaking skills:

Start small. Have your child practice speaking in front of just a few people, whether family, friends, or peers. Let them talk about something they’re interested in and know about so they’re not worried about recalling new information, and the topic is familiar. Encourage listeners to ask questions so they can feel more comfortable responding and interacting.

Record them. If your child has to give a presentation, work with them on reviewing the information each day so they know it well. Then, record them on your phone or computer so they can see and hear themselves. They may feel awkward watching themselves, but they can get a better idea of how their speech sounds and what areas they need to work on. They can also see the importance of their posture, enunciation, and volume.

Watch others. There are a lot of great public speakers out there. Pull up videos of famous speeches or people your child looks up to. Attend various presentations where you live. Talk about what each person does really well and what they could improve upon. What makes the person a good public speaker?

Practice in real life. No, you don’t have to sign your child up for the local talent show (unless of course they want to participate!), but you can give them opportunities to build their public speaking skills. Encourage them to order their own meal at a restaurant or ask a store employee for help. Get them involved in a club or group where they’re sharing their ideas or showing something they have built or created. You want them to feel more comfortable speaking up around others.

Give positive feedback. Praise the things they’re doing well, and offer constructive criticism for things they could improve upon. For example, saying, “I love how you spoke clearly and slowly so everyone could understand what you were saying. Why don’t you try looking around at different people while you speak next time?” Avoid phrases such as, “Don’t do this or that.”

Identify calming strategies. Figure out what works best to help your child feel calmer and more relaxed. Maybe it’s taking some deep breaths or reciting a positive affirmation. Maybe it’s meditating for a few minutes or jumping around to shake out their jitters. Equip them with tools that they can use to boost their confidence before speaking in front of others.

Public speaking is a skill that takes time and practice. Remind your child that everyone feels nervous sometimes, but that their audience wants to see them succeed and wants to hear what they have to say. If your child is struggling with presenting because they don’t understand the topic, working with a tutor can develop their academic skills in conjunction with their presentation and public speaking skills. Contact Crafting Scholars today to learn more about our wide range of tutoring services and how you can help your child be more successful.