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Public Speaking

Encourage your child to develop his public speaking abilities from the outset, at home.

Every parent wants his child to grow up into a confident young person, and often parents believe that there is no greater proof of a child's self-confidence than his ability to speak fearlessly in front of an audience.

It may sound surprising, but the fact is that many successful and confident people who are excellent public speakers, get cold feet before addressing an audience. Even some very successful theater actors get cold feet and tremendous stage fright just before the play begins. Similarly, people who may make excellent public speakers, and whose feet never quake or whose voices never falter before addressing a large audience, are not necessarily the most successful people.

An ability to speak fearlessly in public is not a measurement of your child's confidence, nor is it an indicator of future success.

Being nervous before making any speech in public is completely natural. Some people get over their nervousness over a period of time, while others never get over it, and live with stage fright for a lifetime. However, this stage fright does not prevent them from performing! The main thing to remember is to teach your child not to let his nervousness come in the way of going up there and making the effort to speak in public.

If your child has never spoken in public before, it may not be a very good idea for him to address a large audience at the first go. This may backfire, and your child may be so shaken by the experience that he may not want to try the same thing again for a long time. The best way to introduce your child to public speaking would be to encourage him to start speaking in informal, relaxed circumstances.

At first, it could be just both you parents with your child. Sitting down and talking to your child is very different to making him stand up and addressing both of you. Encourage him to give a little talk everyday. He could start by reciting a poem daily. He can then graduate to speaking about what happened in school, for around five minutes. Standing up and speaking impromptu to you, even for just two minutes, will tremendously improve his public speaking abilities.

Gradually, get more people to hear him speak. Let all your children be the audience and the speakers one after another. Then, get grandparents involved. If you have people visiting, let your children address them. Don't make it into a big deal, just casually ask him about his day in school when he is standing, and then seat yourselves around him.

Generally when teachers call on children to read paragraphs aloud from the textbook, children just stand up and read aloud, facing the teacher. Instead, request the teachers to call the students to the front of the class, so they can read the extract facing the students. Alternatively, the teacher can sit somewhere in the back row of the classroom, and let the children stand and turn around in their places, and read aloud. Reading with your back to the audience and reading facing the audience, makes a world of difference, and the more accustomed your child is to facing the audience, the more comfortable he should be when addressing the public.

Public Speaking - II

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