By Deepshikha Kumar
Today, the most critical skill is to be able to communicate clearly. In a world full of noise and information overdose, technology has taken the onus of storing information for the next generation. The load on human minds is more to interpret and process that information rather than to store it. Similarly, expression of that interpretation will be key as to how effective children can be as men and women of tomorrow.
Coming back to public speaking as far as children is concerned, I have witnessed many children go pale especially when it comes to getting up on a platform and speaking in public. I wonder what goes on in their little minds that literally causes a mind and body freeze. If children practice public speaking from a young age, it will grow their confidence levels and make them good public speakers eventually and perhaps help them career-wise too as they progress from teenagers to adults.
Here are some useful tips on how we can teach public speaking to children
Kids just want have fun
Make it a fun activity for kids which will immediately dispel any fear they may have of being mocked or ridiculed by their siblings or friends. Formalising it is a sureshot disaster and will trigger the fear monster.
Make your kids practice their speech
This habit is a great starting foundation in the long run. In my experience, practice is very important in focusing on key messages and overcoming stage fright.
Read, read, read
It is hugely important for children to be exposed to reading to bring variety in speech. Reading aloud and reading varied texts are also a great way of clearing your child’s vocal chords and making them more flexible.
Clarity of speech and articulation
While many parents emphasise the need to build multi-lingual skills and the fetish with English for an average Indian parent is well-known, it is the clarity of speech and articulation as a skill which is least stressed upon.
Know your mother tongue real well
I strongly advocate that children be allowed to master their language (mother tongue) and use of vocabulary. Building vocabulary and retention are two allied areas which help in speech excellence and so are tongue twisters.
Teach your kids the importance of listening too. The best speakers today are some of the best listeners since they take time to absorb new thought processes from others.
If you teach your kids to just speak without being self-conscious, it would help them control the situation in case they falter.
Instead, giving them encouraging positive feedback with lots of love does wonders for their confidence levels.
Let’s just make public speaking fun for kids and watch them shine.
(The writer is Founder and Managing Partner, SpeakIn.)