Becoming A Powerful Communicator: Public Speaking Skills For Kids

Public speaking kids powerful communicator

You can never start too early on the journey of becoming a powerful communicator through practising public speaking skills.  Luckily, kids are like little sponges when it comes to learning new skills.

And, yes, even public speaking can be fun and create life-long, useful habits for kids when it comes to great communication.

Extra pressure?

It might seem like extra pressure for kids to practice public speaking at the age of 8 or 9 years old. But, if approached with a sense of play and adventure, practising these skills while becoming a powerful communicator can be invaluable for kids later in life.

Becoming a powerful communicator will hone skills that will stay with your kids for the long run and prepare them for communicating with others. Here are four reasons why public speaking skills are great for children to learn.

 

 

 

#1  Facing Their Fears

So many of us as kids learned that speaking in front of a group of people is scary. Becoming a powerful communicator includes facing our fears in a safe space. If children learn that feeling anxious about speaking in front a group is normal, they won’t feel as isolated or judged.

 

Instill A Sense Of Play

When public speaking skills are approached as a game or as a part of playing, it takes the sting out of it. This is why we go to see ‘plays’ in the theatre. The actors are playing with the text and putting their own personal stamp on the words. They’re owning their words.

Children learn to own their story on the journey of becoming a powerful communicator through public speaking skills.  Practising speaking their words in a playful and colourful way can help them create more engaging stories later on in work situations.

 

 

 

 

Tackle Fear In Becoming A Powerful Communicator

When children are given a safe space to explore the learning process they’re half way to becoming a powerful communicator. The more they do something and repeat it, the less scary that activity becomes.

Each time they get up in front of their peers or a group of people, it’s important to put the emphasis on learning something new as opposed to either ‘winning’ or ‘failing’.

Repetition also creates structure and children are more apt to thrive in an atmosphere of structure than just ‘winging it’.

 

 

#2  Becoming a Confident Communicator Takes Preparation and Practice

Among the benefits of learning public speaking skills is that children learn how to prepare. Becoming a powerful communicator means thinking about what you’re going to say before you get up in front of an audience.

Public speaking skills include practice and preparation. Teaching our children these skills means arming them with techniques to help them go into communication situations ready and prepared.

 

 

Becoming A Powerful Communicator Thrives With Structure

Structured skills for practising will discourage ‘winging it’. This avoids setting kids up for a disappointing experience where they may feel like they didn’t do their best.

Putting the emphasis on ‘good work, well done’ instead of ‘you’re talented’ also sets up a structure where children are rewarded for putting the work it. If they think they’re just ‘talented’ then they may not think they have to implement a structure beforehand.

 

 

#3  Eye Contact Is Key In Becoming a Powerful Communicator

 

No eye contact

The downcast eyes, arms folded across your chest, or caving in on yourself…. These are all physical indicators that hinder becoming a powerful communicator.

They are all very normal responses when children feel uncomfortable getting up in front of a group of peers. We’re a herd species so we would rather be part of the herd than out in front of the herd.  But kids can learn to manage their fears or self-consciousness.

 

Good eye contact!

Practicing strong, clear eye contact with your audience and having an open body posture helps children become a powerful communicator. Eye contact is a key skill when it comes to public speaking and helps kids feel what it’s like to directly engage their audience.

Even though it may feel awkward the first few times they try it, practicing eye contact on a regular basis will help with their confidence.

Eye contact helps your kids get used to not hiding and stand in their confidence. They can take this confidence with them when it comes to presentations or job interviews later on in college or at work.

 

 

 

 

#4  A Powerful Communicator BREATHES

Children are amazing. They begin as perfectly balanced, grounded, deeply breathing little beings. Little kids breathe perfectly. They stand perfectly. Then… life happens.

We all pick up habits in our teen years that can set the tone for our confidence or lack thereof later on in our lives. Good breathing technique helps children to calm down, ground themselves, and support their voices when they speak.

 

Breathing Is For Life

Good, centred breathing is key in becoming a powerful communicator and giving our kids a connection with their bodies and their voices. Good connected breathing is a skill that you can take with you through your whole life.

It will serve to help empower your kids and their voices as well as help settle them when they get anxious or scared.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Never Too Early To Practice Becoming A Powerful Communicator

 

We all want to give our kids the best start we can. Giving them a few basic public speaking skills early on can help them succeed later on in their personal and professional life.

Breathing, eye contact, good posture, and practising facing your fears make for strong personal communication in all our relationships.

Becoming a powerful communicator can be fun, non-threatening, and an adventure if you approach it in the right way.  It encourages our kids to shine and speak up in a safe, structured atmosphere.

The journey of becoming a powerful communicator through public speaking skills can be an adventure.  It just might help our children to feel more confident and empowered later on down the line.

Secrets For Fighting Imposter Syndrome In Public Speaking

We’ve all been there when it comes to public speaking:

You’re on stage in front of an audience and suddenly imposter syndrome rears its ugly head and you hear your inner critic say, ‘You don’t deserve to be here.’

Public speaking is the perfect breeding ground for imposter syndrome to strike and strike hard. Whether it happens in front of one person or an entire audience, the feelings are the same.

You feel an exposed inadequacy, undeserving of where you are, and that you have no credibility.

I’m here to tell you that you are not alone.

And when I say ‘public speaking’, that includes business meetings, job interviews, and or even sales calls.

Yet imposter syndrome need not cripple you or lead to miss out on opportunities to move up the ladder in your career.  You can gain awareness, make a plan of action, and do something about it.

 

 

The Energy Of Public Speaking is Real And Powerful

 

One of the triggers of imposter syndrome is the feeling that you are being judged.  It’s also one of the reasons that nerves can get the better of you.

Similarly, there is another trigger in public speaking that kicks off imposter syndrome – the energy of being the center of attention.

This ‘performance energy’ is hugely real.  No one is immune to it and it can strike when you’re talking to one person or speaking to an audience of a thousand.

Suddenly, everybody is there to hear YOU and they all assume you know what you’re talking about.  After all, you’re on stage and they’re not.

So the question is:  What are you going to do about it?

 

 

 

Be Prepared And Don’t Fall Into The ‘Wing It’ Trap

 

First off, we all know that ‘winging it’ is never a good idea.  It sets you up for panic and failure and no speaker worth their salt would rely on improvising completely on the night.

Second, public speaking is the perfect petri dish for imposter syndrome, namely fear of failure, perfectionism, and self-doubt.  Preparation is your secret weapon against all of the above.

Preparation and rehearsal create physical memories in your body and get you out of your head and into a more grounded, centered place.  When you take action in the face of fear, you’re half-way to finding a solution.

The more you practice being in a place of vulnerability and panic, the less power it will have over you.  Rehearse in front of people you trust, film yourself and watch it back, practice in different venues.

Then, if imposter syndrome kicks in, your body will remember feeling uncomfortable, dealing with it, and getting on with the job at hand.

 

Trust Your Body, Not Your Brain

 

We know from scientific fact that physical memory is much stronger than thought memory.

When you physicalize your public speaking practice, the information sticks in your muscle memory more indelibly than if you just think about it.  Don’t rely on thinking a good game in your head.  There’s too much going on in there anyway!

When imposter syndrome kicks in and all that rehearsal and practice seems to go out the window, don’t panic.  All the information your body learned through purposeful practice and rehearsal is still there.

Take a breath, ground yourself, and give your body a second to remember.  Trust that you’ve done the work and therefore you have what you need in the moment.

 

Take The Focus Off Yourself And Put It On The Audience

 

 

There’s a dichotomy that exists in public speaking.  The spotlight is most definitely on you as the speaker and yet the most important person in the room is the audience.

Impostor syndrome stems from feeling inadequate and judged by others.  To combat these fears, take the focus off yourself and think instead about what you can give to your audience.

When you come from a place of what you can give rather than what you can get, your thoughts will be placed on a much higher level.  Make generosity the foremost thought in your mind and take the pressure off yourself to be perfect.

 

Create Public Speaking Habits That Will Last A Lifetime

 

Whether you’re giving an update, presenting at a conference, or on the phone with a prospective customer, creating good public speaking habits and practicing them consistently will stand to you in the long run.

Imposter syndrome cannot compete with muscle memory.  Once you learn a skill, be it the power of pause, using your hands naturally, or grounding your energy with breathing techniques, that skill is in your body forever.

Remember that your body will rescue you in a moment of panic, if you let it.  Practice deliberate breathing, create a clear regime of practice with skills that resonate with you, gain awareness around what you can change, and create a plan of action.

Hone a few specific, applicable public speaking skills and imposter syndrome will have a harder time taking hold.  If you change your behaviour, you can change the way you feel.  Do the work and the work will work for you.

engage & influence

Learn How To Own Your Vocal Stage Even In A Virtual Setting : Register Here

engage & influence

Image courtesy of Rawpixal

Have you always wanted vocal presence and the ability to really engage and influence your audience?

Well, where ever you are in the world and from the comfort of you own home you can learn how now!

Join a small online community of 6 to 8 people in a series of intensive sessions designed to instantly improve your face to face and virtual communications. 

Consciously using your voice & body as effective communication tools will help you to achieve vocal presence. It is a skill and like all skills it can be taught, learned and practised to become so much better!

By simply controlling your voice and physical presence deliberately you can have greater influence over your audience and engage them more effectively

If you could achieve vocal presence and engage and influence people more effectively, what would that mean for you personally? What would it mean for your career?

The course is divided into 3 short intensive virtual group sessions followed by 2 individual and bespoke 121’s 

Group Session Dates

June 26 – 10.00 – 11.30 

June 29 – 10.00 – 11.30

July  1   – 10.00 – 11.30

You will learn how to be an engaging, authentic and influential speaker and what you need to change in your own style in order to achieve this.

Learn stage performance techniques, used by the world’s most respected performers (honed for the business executive). We can help transform your credibility and confidence.

Register here

confident speaker

Boost Your Business: Become A Confident Speaker

confident speaker

A Confident Speaker Prepares

Everyone in business uses verbal communication on a regular basis for meetings, negotiations, and presentations.

Yet not every business person is a confident speaker.

Knowledge is power and there are a few tips and tricks you can use to feel more confident, credible, and engaged in your business communications.

 

Craft A Clear Story

If you want to feel and look like a confident speaker, you’ve got to prepare and do your homework.

This means crafting a clear story that will engage people.

We are hard-wired to love hearing and telling stories so make sure your story is something your audience can relate to.

People who are perceived as being confident speakers are the best storytellers because they gain the trust of their audience.

This doesn’t mean you’re perfect.

It means that you are connected with your story in an emotional way.

And if you are emotionally connected to your story – there’s a better chance that your audience will be too.

 

Know your audience

You must know who you’re talking to before you craft your story.  Take into account who your audience is and what their challenges might be.

If you don’t, you may as well be writing a love letter to ‘To Whom It May Concern’.

You will come across as a more confident speaker if you do your homework and know as much about your audience as possible.

If you’re a key note speaker, your basic story content may stay the same each time you deliver it.

But customize it for each audience by beginning it with something specific to that group of people.  It will help you come across as a more empathetic, prepared, and confident speaker.

 

Breathe!

Breathing Is Key

Breath is the cornerstone for all great communication.

A confident speaker knows that not all breath is created equal.  Shallow breathing is far less useful to you than a deep, centered breath.

When you center your breath in your lower belly you also bring your focus and attention there.  This is a place of power, strength, and balance.

When you breathe from the lower belly, you are more inclined to connect with calm, grounded feelings.

When you breathe into the upper chest and shoulder area, you are more likely to feel anxiety or panic.

How you breathe effects your physiology.

 

Breath Is Fuel For A Confident Speaker

Your body breathes without your help to keep all your necessary functions ticking over.

But you can choose what kind of breath will fuel your communications.  Speaking with a strong, supported voice will help you look and feel like a confident speaker.

The quality of the breath and fuel you give your thoughts, voice, and choices will depend on where and how you breathe.

 

 

 

Rehearse That Story!

Practice Out Loud

Performers have a saying:  ‘Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.  And then rehearse some more.’  The words you write on the page are always going to be slightly different to the words you end up speaking out loud.  It’s the nature of transferring written word to spoken word.

Once you’ve mapped out your story, stand it up and start speaking it out loud.  Every confident speaker knows that speaking your words aloud help you get the feel of the structure of your story and memorize the words.  As Bob Dylan says, “I’ll know my song well before I start singing.”.

Film Yourself

In order to become a more confident speaker, you have to get feedback on how you look and how you sound.

Your phone, tablet, or laptop are readily available sources of non-judgmental feedback.  Film yourself for 2-3 minutes, watch it back, tweak, and go again.

A good tip is to be specific about what it is you’re practicing each time you film yourself.

Am I focusing on my vocal delivery?  My physical presence?  Am I looking at the rhythm of my language?  The structure of the story?

The more specific you are, the more value you’ll get out of your practice time.

 

Take It Live

Find one or two people you trust and get in front of them.  To become a more confident speaker, treat this practice run as you would the real thing.

Begin your story as you would in front of the real audience and invest the same amount of passion and urgency into your performance as you would for a live audience.

Make the stakes high.  The more real you make the trial run, the better prepared you’ll be for the real thing.

Becoming a more confident speaker means preparing yourself as much as possible for real-time stress.

 

Hard Work + Action = A Confident Speaker

Becoming a more confident speaker is a process.  Confidence is a combination of hard work, repetition, and having a clear plan of action.

As with any other endeavour, change happens step by step, a little at a time.

The trick is to create good habits and consistently make new choices that support your story, your voice, and your physical presence.

Becoming a confidence speaker starts with awareness about how you look and sound, whether or not this is serving your communications, and then making changes. 

Know your story, breathe, and practice, practice, practice.

Your hard work will pay off and who knows… you may even start to enjoy it!  Imagine that.

 

International Women's Day

To Celebrate International Women’s Day – Great Female Public Speakers from TED Share Their Stories

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2020, we thought it would be interesting to share a bunch of great public speakers from TED with you.

These talks are entertaining, educational, inspirational and we love them!

So, put the kettle on, put your feet up,  and have a listen to some really cool women  with something great to share.

 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger Of A Single Story

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and she warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we, therefore, risk a critical misunderstanding.

 

Paula Johnson: His And Hers… Healthcare

Every cell in the human body has a sex, which therefore means that men and women are different right down to the cellular level. Yet too often, research and medicine ignore this insight — and the often startlingly different ways in which the two sexes respond to disease or treatment. As pioneering doctor Paula Johnson describes in this thought-provoking talk, lumping everyone in together means we essentially leave women’s health to chance. In conclusion, it’s time to rethink.

 

 

 

Anne-Marie Slaughter: Can We Have It All?

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Public policy expert, made waves with her 2012 article, “Why women still can’t have it all.” But really, is this only a question for women? Here Slaughter expands her ideas and explains why shifts in work culture, public policy and social mores can lead to more equality –Above all,  for men, women and, all of us.

 

 

 

Tan Le: A Headset That Reads Your Brainwaves

Tan Le’s astonishing new computer interface reads its user’s brainwaves, therefore making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). In addition, she demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.

 

 

 

Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating

To say her book, Eat, Pray, Love was a smashing success is an understatement. Even she knew she couldn’t rival that success immediately, but she stayed true to who she is and always “returns home” as she puts it. For Elizabeth it is the art and process of writing that gives her the greatest joy. As long as she stays focused on that she can ride the waves of up and down book sales because regardless of how a book sells, she will write another one.

 

 

Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why Do Ambitious Women Have Flat Heads?

Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why Do Ambitious Women Have Flat Heads?  “Who would have guessed the programming of the black box flight recorders for the supersonic Concorde would have been done by a bunch of women working in their own homes, would pioneer the remote workplace?”  Dame Shirley who escaped the Holocaust by being sent to London to live with strangers at age five is my fourth-best Ted Talk. Then she “got on with it” and became a successful tech entrepreneur in the 1960’s founding one of the most progressive all-women businesses based on work-from-home, job sharing, flex-time and employee ownership.

 

 

 

Ever Been Told That You Speak Too Fast?

Speak Too Fast

Have you ever worried that you speak too fast?

Check out this guy, John Moschitta Jr. He is an American actor who is famous for his ability to speak fast and has appeared in countless American commercials as well as movies and Tv shows.

Moschitta has appeared in The Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Fastest Talker and has the ability to articulate 586 words per minute!

John’s ability to speak at a very fast pace but annunciate at the same time, is a gift. Something very difficult to do but not something you need in to be able to do in your every day life.

We come across a lot of people who feel they speak too fast and unless you have John’s gift, this can risk the clarity of your words. You also risk the audience “tuning out” as they simply cannot keep up with you.

•Pace is the speed at which we speak. It can be expressed in Words Per Minute

•Conversational speech can take place as quickly as 180 – 200 wpm

 •200 wpm is too fast for presenting information

•You should aim to speak at 120 – 150 wpm

•To avoid monotony is it important to vary your pace (this is known as rate)

Focus on the clarity of your words to stop speaking too fast. Allow yourself, to take the time you need to breathe you will automatically slowdown. So it is vital to slow down and allow yourself to pause and breathe!

You also need to be mindful that you need to vary pace – a good rule to consider is to slow down for the important information and speed up for background information – classic tension/release at work.

Here’s are some useful tips on pace

A good speech is one that is memorable. A good speech is usually not too long. One of the greatest virtues a speaker can possess is brevity. This begs the question, how does one go about constructing and delivering an address to an audience?

There are some basic principles that should be observed.

  1. Never speak on a subject about which you know nothing or are in anyway unsure.
  2. Do not be tempted to give an impromptu speech until you are very experienced.
  3. Try not to make too many points.
  4. Remember rehearsal is also extremely important.

Many top speakers spend hours practicing their delivery and this is time well spent. Paying particular attention to the voice is good advice because if you are not used to speaking in public, then you will need to establish how to project and produce your voice effectively.

Here’s another example of John at his, err… “Prime”, excuse the pun 🙂

For more useful tips and ideas check out our other blogs here or contact us to see how we can help you to transform your voice and your communications.

Whilst you are here you might enjoy some of these:

Women in Sales Summit London 2019 – “Own Your Space” – Engage with Presence

Public Speaking Tips from Elon Musk

What We Can Learn About Public Speaking From Watching an Elon Musk Presentation

There’s a lot to be learned from studying the presentations and public speaking techniques of some of the world’s great leaders. Here we take a look at an Elon Musk presentation, and ask: Despite a number of obvious flaws in his technique, what makes his presentations so popular?

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Public Speaking Tips from Elon Musk

So, a few things about Elon Musk straight off the bat.

Musk is rich, he’s passionate about his projects and he’s most probably a genius!

And yet when he gets in front of an audience he can turn into a public speaking car crash.

He gave a presentation earlier this year outlining his very ambitious plans for rocket company SpaceX.

SpaceX plans to land an unmanned spaceship on Mars in 2022. (It will then start preparing for human visitors to arrive two years later!)

That presentation garnered him a lot of social media attention, but for the wrong reasons: there was his stammering, and his style of delivery, which was clunky and awkward.

And yet that long speech was watched over 400,000 times online less than 24 hours after it was posted.

So the question is.

Why are we still interested in watching an Elon Musk presentation when so much of his delivery is soooooo bad?

Well, here are a few insights that might make sense of this bizarre dichotomy of brilliance and bumbling.

1. He Gives You The Why Before the What

Elon Musk does big plans big style – humans on Mars in just a few years!

He tells you WHY his projects are important right off the bat.

When he outlined the SpaceX plan to go to Mars, he tells you ‘why’ it’s important before he tells you the ‘what’.

In this case, that SpaceX will ensure the survival of humans as a species and to inspire the belief that the future will be better than the past.  He always gives his audience a reason to listen and engage with him.

TAKEAWAY: Public Speaking is not rocket science. Next time you are preparing for a presentation, think about this. Do not tell your audience WHAT you did, until you have told them WHY.  It’s a classic mistake we’ve seen time and time again here at ConfidentSpeak in working with business leaders to improve their communication, speaking and presentation skills.

2. Master the Art of Imperfection to Master the Art of Authentic Presenting

Musk is very good at making his audience feel like he’s just like them, that we’re all in it together, so his stammering and stumbling actually doesn’t bother us so much.

Many great speakers, like Steve Jobs, were great at Public Speaking.  They talked as if they’re on a higher plane and that they’ve got everything perfectly down pat and present you with a finished product.  That’s great and we buy into it.

But Musk does the opposite. He tells you that he and his employees have been figuring things out. He shares with you how a product crashed and burned and landed in the ocean. Musk lets us know that he has failed more than he’s succeeded.

That shows us Elon Musk’s humanity, and we love people who are human.  Perfection is overrated, this is authentic presenting.

Musk and other imperfect speakers may not have the best delivery on the planet but they can make up for it with vulnerability,honesty, and passion for their subject.  You can teach techniques for great delivery, but it’s mighty hard to manufacture real, honest feeling.

TAKEAWAY: Next time you present, be sincere and your audience will follow you anywhere, regardless of how much you stumble or stammer.

3. Elon Musk is the Definition of an Authentic Presenter: What You See is What You Get

Many people describe Musk as ‘authentic’.

The word ‘authenticity’ has been bandied about a lot in corporate circles of late so let’s just remind ourselves what it actually means.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines authenticity as:

True to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.  Not false or imitation.

Musk gets down to brass tacks, lets the audience know that he’s down-to-earth and vulnerable, and lets his feelings show about what inspires him.  

The idea of living out amongst the stars excites him and he tells the audience exactly that. He is telling us his dream—and audiences love people who follow their dreams.

Especially when it led them to become billionaire entrepreneurs.

There’s a lot to be said for credibility when presenting. Sometimes we gain credibility because of our position or from the amount of money we have or how many accolades we’ve collected.  All these factors do carry a certain weight and give the speaker gravitas, ensuring they have a better chance to get the audience on-side before they’ve even stepped on stage.

Yet when it comes down to it, two things will always sway an audience.

Great delivery, and humanity.

TAKEAWAY: Next time you get up in front of an audience, give them a clear, confident, credible delivery and you’re on your way to a winner. Give them humanity, vulnerability, and passion in addition to that and you’re on your way to home-run World Series victory.

Here’s the full Elon Musk presentation from SpaceX. Watch for yourself

 

Read More

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Brene Brown on Becoming an Authentic and Confident Presenter

Be a Master Communicator Like Conor McGregor, in Six Easy Steps

(Main picture credit: Steve Jurvetson / Flickr Creative Commons)

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com