Monday, March 18, 2019


Are You a Public Speaker? Here are 5 Ways You Can Inspire Students to Learn the Right Way.

January 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Education, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Most of us remember being bored at assemblies and speeches as children. This probably didn’t foster our own desire to become great public speakers. However, now that we have found our voices, we can employ a number of tricks to help engage kids, and change their minds about listening to adults present important information. Here are five of the best.

  1. Choose one or two key points. Before you outline a single word, choose what the key takeaways are going to be. We know that kids can only cover so much in one session, so we want to make sure the real point of a speech has maximum impact. This way, there’s a better chance they’ll walk away having actually learned something, or have something new to think about.

This is an excellent tip for teaching kids to speak up as well. Public speaking can understandably make us nervous, which can lead to rambling. When we keep our eye on the prize (our main points) it’s much easier going.

  1. Be a storyteller. If we can share a personal story or two, or even structure our speech as a story, our audience gets two huge benefits. First, it’s just more engaging. We want to know what happens next, or learn a new way to frame the key points we’re taking in. The team at American Snippets knows this tip well.

Second, it helps information make sense. Stories have beginnings, middles, and ends. There may be twists along the way, but a story can logically lead us straight through what we’re learning.

  1. Express yourself. We should all learn early on that body language can disarm an audience. Stay relaxed in posture, even if you’re a little tense internally. Gesticulate with your hands, but not too much. Change the tone of your voice to reflect different emotions.

It helps to give your speech on video first, and play it back for your own personal critique. Do you seem open enough? Do your expressions seem genuine?

  1. Invite participation. We want to be careful when calling out kids. Some are so shy that pointing them out in a crowd can be borderline traumatic. That’s why we should encourage kids to try out some of their own public speaking skills.

Invite questions, or let them participate by having them share an experience that relates to your talk. This can increase their public speaking confidence, while helping their peers relate more closely to your message.

  1. Evoke feelings of positivity. After you review your video runthrough, how do you feel? If it all feels rather gloomy, as it can when we tackle topics that affect us, go back to the drawing board. Ultimately, we want kids to feel good about what they just heard.

For example, talking to kids about drugs and peer pressure can be heavy. But if kids leave feeling like they’re in control, and that good things will come from knowing the risks, that’s a very positive outcome.

In the end, we all want to be heard. If kids can glean something from what we’re saying, it’s even more rewarding. And who knows? If you make it interesting, bring the audience closer to you, and make them feel good about what they’ve heard, you might change their lives.

Staff Writer; Jason Moore


Comments

2 Responses to “Are You a Public Speaker? Here are 5 Ways You Can Inspire Students to Learn the Right Way.”
  1. Bill Patti says:

    As a teacher of public speaking, I applaud your efforts to give rise to original thoughts about communicating with students. Too often we read of speaking tips that merely repeat the same refrain. Yours are creative and refreshing. I especially like #4…Invite Participation. Children who are frightened by the prospect of speaking out can find their voice with proper teacher coaching. Here’s a link to a blog which offers news on how important communication can be in making a success of your life, future job opportunities and career. Enjoy.
    https://yourvoiceprofessor.com/communication-news/

  2. Arthur says:

    Good points. Whenever I have been asked to speak to students from elementary to high school, I always arrange to speak to no more than a classroom. Assemblies are, for me, too large a group to make a real connection. Rather than speak to a gym full of students it is better to instead visit a series of classrooms one after the other, in my opinion.

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