Public Speaking: From the Still, Small Voice to a Louder, Significant One

by | Oct 27, 2022 | Children's Book | 0 comments

Photo by Beninu Andersen

Jo Ann Gramlich is well-known as an author. But beyond writing, she’s also an accomplished public speaker. Public speaking is an essential skill for children to master, and they can learn a thing or two from Gramlich’s journey.

When your child is given a task to give a speech before the class, how do they react?

More often than not, they probably get anxious about the activity. They fear they will mess up their speech, and the other kids will make fun of them. Well, their fears are valid. But dwelling too much on these without attempting to grow out of them only leads to stagnation.

Public speaking is a powerful and beneficial skill. It improves young people’s overall communication skills, increases self-esteem and confidence, helps them plan and organize their thoughts, and develops leadership skills. It’s an essential skill to learn and master. Speaking up before others can help children develop the assertiveness to stand up and protect themselves.

However, despite these benefits, most children still fear having a go at it.

What a Role Model Should Be

The author who penned the book Talk, Play, and Read with Me Mommy is more than a writer who once dreamed of publishing a book. Jo Ann Gramlich is also a speech-language pathologist whose work focuses on providing remedies for children with communication disorders in early intervention and preschool programs.

More than a professional helping children develop their communication skills and making their voices heard, she is also a speaker herself. Due to the nature of her work, she has mastered the craft that most people fear trying out. She presents and speaks at group workshops, community events, and state conferences. These events are the perfect opportunity for her to connect with her clients and help raise awareness of the importance of language development.

But as with any other person, her journey to becoming a confident and well-rounded speaker wasn’t plain sailing. Like everyone else, she probably wasn’t born with the skills and self-assurance she has today. Instead, she worked hard for them. And while her experience differs from what a child experiences, they can still learn from her.

Her profession and journey in getting there can be an excellent example for children who are still a little afraid of stepping out and speaking. Perfectly matching her advocacy, Gramlich can help children gain confidence in creating a voice for themselves. However, beyond giving them a role model to learn from, parents or adults may also encourage and help children practice their public speaking skills through these activities:

Practice with Story Time

A primary reason why children fear public speaking is that they don’t want to embarrass themselves. The best way to eliminate this anxiety is by building and solidifying their communication skills through constant practice.

One of the best ways to practice this is by encouraging them to tell stories during dinners or before bedtime. This way, they can already grasp what it takes to do an impromptu speech. When they’re asked to do one or a speech prepared beforehand, it wouldn’t already be too intimidating, even if it’s done before a crowd.

Mental Imagery

Now that children are already familiar with giving speeches, they should be confident about delivering one. Parents can start prompting positive mental imagery. Instead of them believing that their friends or classmates may end up laughing at them, parents can make them visualize the opposite. They can make their children believe that their friends can end up being amazed by their speech.

Confidence starts with one believing that one can do it. For children to be courageous in stepping up into a podium and speaking to a crowd, they first have to visualize that they can do it. They must substitute any negative imagery with a positive one.

Go Through Mistakes

Regardless of how prepared children can be, mistakes might still be possible. Parents should let children know that committing them is normal, so they don’t panic when they stumble on their words.

The parent’s reaction to mistakes during their practices also matters. Instead of reacting loudly and letting the mistake be more obvious, parents should demonstrate that the audience won’t realize when mistakes are committed. This way, mistakes won’t sound too scary, and they won’t overreact. However, parents should still teach a way or two of how children can acknowledge their mistakes and how they can overcome these obstacles.


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