How to improve public speaking for students of all ages

by | Jan 14, 2024 | Children's Communication Skills, Public Speaking

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, fostering confident and articulate individuals is more vital than ever. Beyond academic excellence, students need to develop essential life skills that empower them to express themselves with confidence and clarity. Public speaking, often considered a daunting endeavour, is a crucial skill that can significantly impact personal and professional growth.

Many students face challenges in this area, from shyness to the fear of public speaking, often seeking ways to avoid speaking in front of others. In fact, the research says that 3 out of 4 people fear public speaking and recent public speaking for students research shows that this may be as high as 4 out of 5 in university settings.

The Journey to Effective Communication Through Public Speaking for Students

So what can we do about this to help our future generations face the fear, help their careers and support their mental health? Read on as I explore the potential of incorporating public speaking training in educational settings, focusing on nurturing confident, effective, and empowered communicators at any age. We will also explore some valuable insights on what works well to support students in building their confidence and for them to master effective communication, whilst highlighting the role of public speaking training for students in this process.

Create a Supportive Environment

An important starting point is to establish a classroom environment that is supportive and inclusive. Encourage open dialogue, active listening, and mutual respect. Students should feel safe to express themselves without fear of judgment. As they experience this environment, their confidence in speaking will naturally grow.

Foster Self-Expression

Effective communication begins with self-expression. This can be through written or oral processes. Give each child a Journal to complete through the year, helping them understand what their triggers are and how to manage their emotions whilst they learn the art of structured storytelling.

You can also encourage students to share their thoughts, opinions, and ideas freely. In-class discussions, group activities, and debates are also excellent tools for nurturing this skill. It is also important to provide constructive feedback to help them refine their communication style but do this in a private setting where they can also speak freely.

Develop Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is closely tied to effective communication. Encourage students to learn the art of analysing information, considering various perspectives, and then how to form well-founded arguments. This not only enhances their communication skills but also their overall intellectual growth. There are always some students who are extroverts and will raise their hands and speak out but it is important that you find a way to guide and support the students who are extroverts.

Public Speaking as a Skillset

Introduce public speaking as a valuable life skill, not just a classroom requirement. Share real-world examples of how effective public speaking can lead to success in various careers. This can inspire students to view public speaking as a tool for personal and professional growth.

Offer Workshops and Courses

Consider integrating public speaking workshops or courses into your curriculum. These specialized programs provide students with the opportunity to develop their speaking skills in a structured and supportive setting. An experienced public speaking trainer can guide them through exercises, helping them build confidence and proficiency. These can also be online with courses and workbooks that can be completed in the home setting and in an educational setting.

Consider the 3 P’s

Plan, Prepare and Practice. If this can be taught as their mantra for public speaking then they are on the right track to success.

Plan – they should spend some time planning what they want to speak about or are being asked to speak about.
Prepare – think about the introduction, the main body of content and the summary at the end for the key message.
Practice – As the saying goes: Practice makes perfect. Encourage students to practice speaking regularly. This can include class presentations, informal discussions, or even participating in extracurricular activities like debate clubs or drama. The more they practice, the more comfortable they’ll become.

Provide Constructive Feedback

Constructive feedback is essential for improvement in public speaking for students. Offer constructive feedback on both content and delivery. Highlight their strengths and gently point out areas for improvement. Encourage them to use feedback as a tool for growth, not as criticism. Do this in a private setting so you can share your feedback and they can freely speak and ask questions.

Celebrate Successes

Celebrate students’ achievements in public speaking. Whether it’s a well-delivered presentation, a successful debate, or simply speaking up in class, acknowledge their efforts. This positive reinforcement boosts their confidence and motivates them to continue improving. This can be done through certificates, a letter to parents or any other form that represents a well done.

Incorporating Public Speaking Training for Students in Primary, Secondary, Further, or Higher Education

As part of my approach to nurturing confident and effective communicators, you can enlist my expertise as a public speaking expert. With a specialisation in public speaking and confidence courses, I can complement your efforts by providing specialised training and guidance, helping students overcome specific challenges they may face.

By integrating public speaking training into your educational setting, you empower students not only to conquer their fears but also to thrive in various aspects of life. These skills go beyond the classroom, preparing them for successful future careers and leadership roles.

Moreover, my tailored courses can be adapted to suit your setting’s unique needs, ensuring that students receive the support and guidance required to reach their full potential as articulate, self-assured, and impactful communicators.

My support can be through online courses, workbooks, and journals. To find out more, please do get in touch and let’s discuss a package that is right for your educational setting.

© Sonal Dave all rights reserved 2023. No reproduction of this content in part or in full is permitted without prior permission.

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Public Speaking Expert & Trainer: SONAL DAVE

Communication and public speaking expert, Sonal, helps both children and adults communicate more effectively so that they have the tools and skills they need for better relationships and, indeed, for life.

Through her extensive experience working within the youth work, entertainment and business sectors, Sonal is uniquely placed to help bridge the communication gap between kids and adults.

Sonal’s exciting and engaging workshops and courses help people the world over reconnect and communicate so that they can overcome the barriers to success that have been holding them back.

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