Did you find your child getting completely tongue-tied and hiding within you when you asked him to recite a poem in front of a group of people? Most parents can find themselves in a situation when their supposedly brilliant child appears completely foolish. So, How to Help Your Child Overcome Fear of Public Speaking
It is nothing but the fear of speaking in front of a group of people. We recognize this as stage-fright or Glossophobia. This fear is rampant among adults but it is equally so amongst children even though they are expected to speak in public almost every time.
Here, we would understand what exactly it is, what causes it, and how to help your child overcome fear of public speaking and emerge as a shining and confident personality. Read on!
What is Public Speaking and Its Importance?
In simple terms, public speaking is the art of making a presentation, reciting a poem, saying a speech, or any other narrative in front of a group of people or a live audience. The speech intends to entertain, educate, or influence the listeners. For kids, it is to groom them and help them showcase their knowledge.
Communication is an inherent quality in human beings but it has several colors like forming connections, putting your ideas and thoughts across, etc. Public speaking is perhaps its most dreaded form.
Public speaking is important at all ages. It should be paid special attention to children as they would be growing into adults. The fear of public speaking should be addressed right in childhood because of its deep importance.
Communication is the backbone of any society and mankind at large. Even though we live in a digital world and most communications have taken a digital face; we cannot escape public speaking. It is a must for any individual in both professional and personal space to form connections, convey thoughts, influence decisions, and bring about a change. It offers several benefits that help any individual to lead a successful and peaceful life on both emotional and physical levels, not to mention monetarily.
The significance and importance of English public speaking can neither be undermined nor ignored regardless of how reliant we are to the digital world. It helps in bringing an all-round development of an individual and especially, a kid. Few of them are as follows:
Improved communication-both verbal and non-verbal
The foundation of any individual’s success is the ability to articulate and put across the thoughts clearly. Effective English public speaking facilitates just that. Public speaking helps them to formulate their thoughts, articulate their ideas into words, and put them across in their unique ways for easy assimilation.
Enhanced self-esteem and confidence
Standing up to speak to a crowd of people is a challenging job for most adults, let alone kids. But once a kid does that, a significant improvement is seen in his self-esteem and self-confidence. A hard job, public speaking coaches the child to overcome fear, stand up with confidence before the crowd, and deliver the speech or prose with confidence.
As a show of our love; we parents barely give children a chance to do anything. We tend to do all their menial jobs like packing, cooking, arranging, etc. for them. Consequently, they barely start honing their planning skills until they have entered the adolescence age.
But public speaking for kids allows them to plan and prepare. They learn the art of thinking ahead, a skill that proves invaluable for the rest of their lives.
A major goal of public speaking, especially speeches is to convince the audience to their point of view. It is the best way to develop and fine-tune the persuasive skills. Children present their speech and presentation in such a way that the crowd gets convinced about it. This ability not only takes the ability of your child miles ahead but opens the skies of possibilities for the adult who has grown with this skill.
Preparation for the future
We all aspire for our kids to grow into adults with all the right skills for a successful life. Public speaking for children ensures that they get arsenate with it. Be it critical thinking, putting their ideas across, refined social skills, mingling with both familiar and strangers, and conducting themselves in a way that is charismatic in both verbal and non-verbal ways.
Improved academic performance
Regardless of any skills or achievement; academic performance is one of the most important goals for any kid. The good news is that public speaking is an excellent medium to further this goal. Most academics require some kind of presentation that is easily tackled by the child exposed to public speaking. Moreover, public speaking teaches your child critical and analytical thinking that goes a long way in improving the child’s academics.
Better listening skills
English public speaking not only hones the kid’s communication skills but also improves his listening skills. The child is not speaking but also listening to various other speakers. He is not only getting exposed to several other ideas and opinions but is also able to accept and respect differences of viewpoints, ideologies, etc. It helps any child tremendously in forming relationships with all kinds of people that he is bound to come across in his life.
Ability to voice opinions and influence others
Public speaking is all about voicing an opinion and convincing and influencing others to it with solid evidence. Any kid cannot help but reap this benefit if attending any public speaking class. Children groomed under the right guidance like our professional trainers provide a solid sounding board to students to help them make crucial decisions ahead in their life.
The wealth of benefits gained from English public speaking is so immense that its importance for every child can simply not be overstated.
What Causes Stage Fright?
Stage fright or glossophobia is a disease that plagues both adults and kids equally. Having several pairs of eyes on you is a feeling that intimidates the strongest of hearts. We all think of fearless persons as those born with talent. But the truth is that stage confidence for public speaking is an art and skill that can be acquired and perfected.
Here, we first try to understand the reasons that trigger this fear of stage in all, especially kids.
This is perhaps the leading cause of stage fright in all. The mere sight of them makes the self-conscious and nervous and consequently, the child loses all confidence. It also raises that awareness that they might be looking ‘nervous’ and that people would start judging you. Each of these emotions is interlinked and anyone can pave the way to the other.
The anxiety and fear invoked by public speaking for children is often a learned behavior. Some past failures have taken their confidence and self–esteem and left self-doubt instead. Because of it, the child already prepares for failures that stop them from performing.
We all know that the chances of drowning increases if you do not know the right techniques of swimming. Likewise, the success of public speaking for kids increases if they learn the right techniques and tricks. You might think, “Can Public Speaking be Taught?”.
Well, yes, public speaking is an art that can be taught and kids trained on until they perfect it. There are several institutes and courses that help children and even adults master the art.
How Can I Improve My Child’s Public Speaking?
Now that we know all about what causes fear of public speaking, you just might be wondering about how to help your child overcome fear of public speaking? The good news is that it is indeed possible. We share some useful tips and tricks that would certainly set your child on the road to success.
Acknowledge the fear
As parents, most of us try to brush over the child’s fears and try to infuse confidence instead. However, this aggravates the fear further. Acknowledging the fear as legitimate and empathizing with it soothes the child’s fear and takes away the feeling of isolation. It also instills faith and confidence in the child. Moreover, just talking about it takes the sting of the fear out and gets the child in a calmer state which increases the probability of success.
Help the child strategize
Voicing out the fears goes a long way in putting a child in the right frame of mind. Like adults, children also fear how they would be perceived, judged, and what impression they will make. After fear has been brought in the open, you can strategize with the receptive child to help in the best way.
Although you need not discuss all strategies with the child; a few can be discussed with the child. It helps build both confidence and reassurance within the child. Few strategies that you can plan is
- Arranging public speaking and recitation sessions within the family. It also means you are doing it as well. A kid is most comfortable within the home and it’s the best place for him to forget any fear and anxiety. Children coming from extrovert families find it easy to mingle and carry themselves around.
- Speak about your fears of public speaking and how you overcame them. Your kid can easily connect with you and your method gives him both way and hope.
- You can even ask the kid and make a few suggestions based on the innate behavior of the child.
- Train the mind of the child to develop the mindset of giving and expressing instead of trying to impress the audience. This little tweak if managed can help your kid by miles and yards.
- Help the child understand that it’s perfectly ok to have those butterflies in their stomachs. Fighting them will make it terrible and public speaking hateful. But accepting them will put them in a positive mode and energize them to give the best performance they can.
- Help the child train themselves to forget the crowd and imagine as if they are speaking to a friend or even to themselves. It will improve the kid’s entire demeanor and mindset.
Develop the habit of practice
Wondering how can I improve my child’s public speaking? Practicing is the best tool that you can utilize. Help your child practice his tone, body language, and way of speaking. Here, you must let the child speak out and always praise and appreciate him first. Then gently and indirectly suggest a few modifications and tweaks improve upon.
Another point you must keep in mind that you need not rectify all the mistakes. Too much rectification would ebb away the confidence. The focus should be more on the child enjoying and relaxing to overcome the fear of public speaking. Fine-tuning can always come later.
Even though it is often not required but in severe cases, you might need professional help. Sometimes a child is not able to overcome his fear and anxiety. That is the time you might need some counseling and other help.
Steps to Excel in Public Speaking
The first step was to get your kid to overcome his stage fright and stand for public speaking. But once the hurdle has been crossed, it’s all about making your kid as good in it as possible. We have to do everything that can be done to help him develop and perfect himself. Few steps that can be taken to drive the child towards excellence are:
Practice, practice, and practice
Nothing betters a child’s performance than practice. The more practice a child does, the more confidence would come in the entire demeanor of the child. Calmness and poise will define his entire presence and presentation. It can only turn out to be the child’s best piece and nothing else.
Teaching the art of mindfulness
One of the greatest fears of English public speaking is the audience reaction. Be it an adult or a human, the eyes are bound to stray and a reactionary facial expression can destroy the entire presentation of the child.
The best way to deal with it to practice mindfulness. It is the art of being aware of your audience but still remaining isolated with them. It’s as if the child is speaking just to himself or an imaginary figure. This way, the child does not get unruffled and completes his public speaking at his own pace and style.
Expressing power and warmth
A common mistake made while practicing mindfulness is the loss of power and warmth. Without these, the kid would likely not be able to connect with his audiences and lose the impact. It is given to the audience via the child’s pose and other body movements, behavior, and what is the child overall projecting.
It is all about fine nuances. Many English public speaking courses grooms the child on these finer points. They are often taken for granted but in reality, require focused training.
Develop your personal style
The best style is that which comes naturally to you. Most kids and even adults make the mistake of imitating their role model speakers or any of their favorite speakers. Hence, the child must always be encouraged to showcase his natural style and finetune it with each performance. It will always leave an impact on the audience and get the best out of your kid.
Smiling is an essential component of effective public speaking. Unfortunately, most parents and children forget about it while concentrating on other matters. A smile makes you appear more courteous, likable, and competent. It is also contagious and the most potent arsenal to grab public attention. Hence, while taking care of all other aspects, a child must never stop smiling.
Perfecting the art of public speaking is something that comes over time. Hence, it is important that the kids are given enough opportunities and they stick to it. The kid must always strive to perfect all seven elements of public speaking.
What Are the Seven Elements of Public Speaking?
You just might be wondering what are the seven elements of public speaking. These are the tried and tested elements that make your kids’ public speaking most effective. They are:
We all have the perception that you need to be perfect to grab attention. But the truth is that you only hold the audience’s attention if you are interesting, relaxed, and comfortable. You must help the child practice public speaking as if he is holding a conversation between him and the audience. No kid should be given any kind of pressure to become the best speaker.
The other element is perfection. As humans, we are all vulnerable to mistakes. It makes us self-conscious and we immediately lose our cool. This can be highly stressful on a stage and it’s very easy for any kid to go completely haywire.
All kids need to be trained for the fact that only he would be aware of the mistakes unless it is truly earth-shattering. They need to keep continuing without faltering even if they make a mistake. Contrary to belief, the audience looks for a feeling of reality and not perfection.
It is one of the cornerstones of public speaking. Kids are trained to visualize what they are supposed to speak. It gives a natural and animated tone to their speech which is highly infectious and contagious. It cannot leave any member unaffected. Visualization also lessens the anxiety in children and helps them to deliver at their best.
All kids must be made to realize that their aim was not to be a perfect speaker but an effective speaker. This can only be achieved with regular practice and discipline. One of the best ways to achieve this discipline is to enroll in a public speaking class like given by us. It grooms any kid to the highest level of perfection.
Via public speaking, you are painting a visual in the minds of the audience. The painting can be made vivid with a precise description that happens best when the speaker can personalize the message. The audience connects naturally and best when someone is narrating their personal experience.
Speeches narrated like a story with elements of personal triumphs, tragedies, and humorous anecdotes find an immediate connection with the audience. Hence, kids should always try to make a speech in a narrative and personalized way.
Initially, we tend to be self-focused to eliminate stage-fright. But later, one should think of the audience and prepare and narrate in such a manner that the audience gets mesmerized. Keeping the audience as the ultimate inspiration adds an edge to the entire public speaking performance.
The effectiveness of your public speaking can be gauged by the anticipation level of the audience. Regarding public speaking, less is always more. As a tested trick, you must always speak a little less than the span the audience expects you to. It will surprise them and leave them wanting more.
If your kid includes all these seven elements, he is bound to shine at public speaking.
Frequently Asked Questions
We hope to have answered most of your queries. However, some pending queries might still ring through the mind of most parents. We try to address them here.
How can I improve my child’s public speaking?
We have already spoken about this. But in a nutshell, you can
- Let him practice with family and peers
- Schedule regular group meetings
- Appreciate and reward his hard work
- Increase the kid’s confidence
- Give constructive criticism
- Let technology help him build his presentations and practice them
- Hear as many speakers as possible
- Keep learning and growing
How can I help my child overcome performance anxiety?
Be it a child or an adult, nerves are a fact of life. We have already discussed some tips to help your kid overcome performance anxiety. It could again be summed up as following actionable:
- Provide adequate space to practice speaking
- Encourage social and personal interactions at every opportunity. It can be as simple as ordering meals at the restaurant or sharing stories with friends and families.
- Train the child in all stage techniques
- Help the child practice self-awareness and self-reflection. The children must be able to understand their feelings and express them openly for open empathy and compassion and finally a solution.
- Kids learn best through role models. Hence, the best way kids would learn is by the example of you as a good public speaker. It is also an opportunity for you to hone your skills.
How do I teach my child to be bold?
The boldness of a child manifests only when a child is full of confidence. To build confidence and bolster their self-confidence, you must
- Foremost, love your child openly. Despite looking obvious, most parents fail to do it properly. Children must always be confident of your unconditional love.
- Next, you must always remember to praise your child. Here judicious discretion is required. You must always praise your child when it is just and not at every nook and corner. It will not help them realize his drawbacks and improve. But judicious praise will take his confidence notches higher.
- No matter what work we do, we always have goals set to achieve. But often the goals we set are unrealistic and that becomes detrimental for us. Thus, if you want to help your child to build confidence; you must always nudge him in the direction to always set up realistic goals.
- Next, you must go all out to build resilience in the child. Rarely do we succeed at the first go. Setbacks, failures, criticism, and pain are part of the package. It should be treated as learning milestones instead of failures or disappointments.
- Self-confidence can only come through self-love. The best way to teach the child is to model it yourself. Celebrate each of your successes and share all your failures and difficulties that you faced in the way. Also talk about all the efforts, hard work, and hardships it required. It is bound to put your child on the right path.
- Other rules might be teaching the child to be passionate about the work, persistent, consistent, and be completely committed to it.
These would gradually set any child on the path of success.
How do you get rid of competition anxiety?
Anxiety is a ubiquitous feeling. It should always be present in a moderate amount as it pushes you to give your best performance. But it should always be within limits and all the steps discussed above would help you achieve the same.
We hope that by now you know all about how to help your child overcome fear of public speaking . The key to success is realizing that it is not an overnight affair but a continuous one. For those parents who might not have all the skills to help or might need some extra assistance, can always seek the help of a professional training course like ours to cement the child’s success. Chime us to know more about them!