- What is public speaking and why is it important?
- What is the importance of speaking well in school?
- How will public speaking help my child get a job?
- How can I help my child improve their public speaking?
- Three famous speeches to listen to with your child
For thousands of years, people who are good at public speaking have risen to the top. They can draw attention from employers, they can charm investors and they can inspire countless groups of people to bring about global change. That is why it is important for us to teach our children public speaking skills from a young age. Read our top tips on how to help your child develop their public speaking skills…
What is public speaking and why is it important?
People fear public speaking more than death. ☠️ But what exactly is public speaking?
Public speaking refers to the ability to be in front of any number of people (in person, digitally or any other way) and speak well.
When people say they are more afraid of public speaking than death they probably mean speaking in front of an audience in a formal setting; however, public speaking is more diverse than formal presentations.
No matter who you are, what profession you are in, or who you work for, people will judge you based on the way you communicate verbally. If you go to a job interview you will be judged on your ability to answer questions. If you give a presentation to investors, both you and your company will be judged based on how well you delivered that presentation. If you are serving a customer at a café, the customer will, probably subconsciously, associate their experience visiting that café with how they felt after you spoke to them. The importance of speaking well transcends both profession and age – we all benefit from knowing how to say the right things in the right ways.
Now someone might be asking themselves but what about people who work in coding? 🧑💻 We would argue that even people in coding – or any other profession which is seen as isolated, solitary and computer-based – will require an initial interview to secure that work or profession. Public speaking matters!
The importance of speech communication is something which hasn’t faded over the centuries – it is ingrained in our culture. Even in 2022, after a global pandemic locked up the entire human population, people have been giving presentations over Zoom, conducting interviews over Skype and even had professional networking events over Teams! The importance of speaking well doesn’t seem to have been affected in the slightest by the huge societal changes which the pandemic has created by pushing things online. So it doesn’t matter what side of the digital divide someone is on, public speaking can affect your future prospects.
The importance of speech communication cannot be emphasised enough. We all need to be good at it, so why not start teaching our children from a young age? That is exactly what schools have started doing by introducing oracy projects.
What is oracy?
Oracy is a word which is often thrown around associated with public speaking, but many people don’t know what it means. Oracy refers to the ability to speak in a fluent and correct manner. As such, it has major overlaps with public speaking skills.
In recent years, schools have been placing a strong emphasis on teaching oracy. Oracy is often seen to put an emphasis on listening skills to develop communication as being reactionary (rather than just one person broadcasting a message). Oracy attempts to bridge elements of public speaking and rhetoric to create an accessible group of skill sets to teach children. The growing importance of oracy in schools is a testament to the overall importance of speech communication.
What is rhetoric?
Rhetoric is the ability to know how to use language to be more persuasive. Whilst rhetoric is not exclusively linked to public speaking (it can be persuasive written language too), it is an incredibly important part of helping children learn how to communicate spoken messages in a confident, persuasive and powerful way.
Teaching your child rhetoric will not only help them develop their ability to string together a strong sentence, but it will also help them find the confidence to know that they are doing it right – after all, if you are using tricks and tropes which have been tried and tested over thousands of years you can at least have confidence that you are doing them right!
What is the importance of speaking well in school?
Does your child need public speaking skills for school? The short answer is yes. Your child needs to pass a Spoken Language Assessment for their English Language GCSE which requires them to demonstrate some public speaking skills. The assessment is marked and will be given a classification of either a fail, pass, merit or distinction; however, the final result doesn’t alter the overall GCSE mark – that means that all a candidate needs to do is pass.
The importance of speech communication in school is not just for passing the English Language GCSE – it is useful to develop public speaking skills for other subjects as well as building relationships with fellow students and teachers. No harm can come from being eloquent in front of others!
How will public speaking help my child get a job?
We’ve already covered some of the ways that public speaking can help your child get a job. Here is a breakdown of some of the ways that public speaking skills can help your child become a more successful professional…
Passing a job interview
Public speaking is an important part of passing an interview. Many interviews ask questions to see how a candidate communicates under pressure. Strong public speaking skills will tend to result in more eloquent, confident and developed answers.
Career advancement is probably the most important way that public speaking can help your child in their future career. Once they have a job, public speaking skills will help them progress to higher levels by impressing colleagues, clients and stakeholders.
Public speaking develops your child’s self-confidence which allows them to set higher goals in life. When you are confident and know your own worth you are more likely to seek better employment. 💪
Greater personal satisfaction
Developing self-confidence through public speaking also leads to greater personal satisfaction and enjoyment of life. People are happy when they feel that they are good at something important.
Developing social skills
Confidence in public speaking can help your child develop stronger social skills which can be applied in both a professional and social setting. If you know how to have a friendly conversation with your colleagues or add a joke to a presentation you are more likely to be liked at work.
Advancing critical thinking skills
Thinking about what you say publicly improves your critical thinking skills. We have to think about how a message is going to be received as well as what is the best way to say it.
Networking is an incredibly important skill for most professions and knowing how to speak properly in a social setting in front of people – even if it is a group of four huddled together at a drinks reception – can open doors to new opportunities.
Developing transferable communication skills
A lot of the skills that your child will develop when practicing their public speaking will be transferable to other areas of communications such as writing emails and reports with a strong and coherent tone.
How can I help my child improve their public speaking?
Confidence confidence confidence!
The most important thing for public speaking is confidence. If you can help a child develop their confidence, then you can help them become better public speakers.
There are things that you can do to help your child develop their confidence from a young age. There are also books about confidence as well as
Acting classes are a great way of getting children used to performance. 🎭 To stand up in front of an audience and perform is a difficult skill and the confidence needed for acting is similar to the confidence needed for public speaking.
Listen to speeches!
It sounds obvious, but through listening to powerful and engaging speeches with your child you will help them understand the importance of speaking well. As well as this, immersing your child in good public speaking practice will help them pick up stylistic techniques as they will inevitably start to copy what they see and hear. 👀👂
We have already compiled a list of 11 TEDx Talks that every parent should watch. Watching TEDx Talks is a great way of exposing your child to public speaking in a healthy and constructive way. TEDX Talks are almost always educational, many are inspirational, and the speeches are usually of a very high calibre. 🎤
Three famous speeches to listen to with your child
There are countless brilliant speeches which you can listen to with your child to help inspire them to take an active interest in public speaking. Here are three famous speeches you might want to consider.
Obama’s 2016 National Democratic Convention Speech 🗣
In 2016, at the National Democrat Convention, Michelle Obama gave a powerfully stirring speech in which she spoke about her experiences living in a house built by slaves. It is a masterfully written and beautifully delivered speech from which we can all learn.
Virginia Woolf’s 1931 speech to the National Society for Women’s Service 🗣
Virginia Woolf’s speech is as complicated as it is beautiful. Whilst it might be harder for younger children to engage with, it will resonate with older children and young adults who, even today, still need to hear Woolf’s powerful message.
Martin Luther King’s 1963 I Have a Dream speech 🗣
One of the most famous speeches of all time is Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech which he delivered on August 1963. Listening to this speech is also a great way to teach your child about the importance of movements which fight oppression and promote civil rights.
We hope that this article has helped you understand what public speaking is, why it is important and ways in which you can support your child to develop their public speaking skills.
If you liked what you have read and would like to read more of our articles, you can check out our blog site where we talk about matters ranging from supporting a child with learning difficulties to the job prospects of an art degree!