Teaching kids public speaking

By Rennu Dhillon 

Speaking confidently and having the confidence to speak in public is a
critical life skill to survive in today’s competitive society. To be able to
verbally communicate clearly and effectively to other individuals and groups
is essential in schools, business and your own personal life.

As a successful recruiter for many years, one of the things I ran into as I sent
my clients out for interviews was that many people lacked clear
communication and the confidence to interview. Just having a great resume
or a collection of degrees from ivy colleges is not suffice to advance in your
career or improve your business. It is now as important for people to be able
to make effective presentations and the knowledge and skills to speak to
others.
Most adults have these fears since childhood. Learning to speak in front of
others is a skill that is developed over time and not overnight. It is important
to train our children from a young age to conquer this fear as they grow.
Most schools do not teach public speaking and it becomes even more
important in high school and college. Good public speakers are generally
good writers as well since they have had practice to write effective speeches
and presentations.

Here are some simple exercises and tips of how to work with your child to
develop the art of effective communication.

    1. Invest in a simple microphone. It is important to be able to listen to
your voice and hear how you are being heard.
    2. Most of us own recorders – record or tape your child and have them
watch themselves so that they can critique themselves and see what
they are doing.
    3. Spend a few minutes every day with your child. Have a “My Daily
Report” 1-1 time with them. Ask them to speak on the microphone as
you sit in front of them and ask them to tell you one interesting thing
they have learned during the day. This will also develop an open
relationship with your child and help you keep in touch with what
they are doing at school.
    4. Every week give them a simple topic to write about or even a song or
poem to learn and have them present it to the family. Encourage them
not to use their notes or if they wish to use their notes, to practice not
reading but speaking what they have to say.

Record their presentation and give them positive feedback about the areas
they need to improve on. Many kids will keep pacing up and down as they
speak, look down at the floor and avoid eye contact, and repeat filler words
such as “Um”, “Uh”, “like” . Make the constructive feedback a fun exercise
e.g. count how many times they repeat filler words. They work on each point
to correct it over time.

I believe the best way to teach a child is to do by example. Have your child
record you and critique you the same way. They will feel a lot better if they
see you making the same mistakes as them.

Learning the skill of public speaking is a great tool for children no master
regardless of how young they are. Developing this art with a strong clear
voice and body language will help them all through their journey in school
and life.

Rennu Dhillon is the founder of Genius Kids Inc, “Never 2 Little 2 Learn”. Public
speaking is an essential part of her preschool curriculum. Dhillon is a professional emcee,
public speaker and TV/Radio Host. She has hosted events locally, nationwide and
worldwide and is invited to speak/host events for many organizations.

3 thoughts on “Teaching kids public speaking

  1. Miriam

    Thank You for the tips. I’m anxious to try them with my own children as well as my 1st grade students.

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