Public Speaking skills can start young

Before we start looking at situations in which public speaking skills are important, let us look at public speaking at a young age.

Many people think speaking to groups is a skill that some people have, and some don’t.  Look at this special keynote speaker.  It was during the back-to-school convocation of the Dallas Independent School District (ISD).  20,000 people.

My eleven-year-old daughter watched this and couldn’t believe it, “It’s a kid!”  She had the same belief many adults do.  She looked at that young speaker as if he had just gotten up there and done it.

I asked her, “Don’t you remember all the times I practiced the same speech?  Don’t you remember hearing the same words over and over again… and being tired of it?”

Why do you think so many people believe that a good speaker just gets up there and “does it”?  For every great speech, there are HOURS of practice and repetition.  There are hours of re-writes.  There are years of training and learning.

We have a misperception. It is based on the fact that the first time we see a “great speaker,” we see the skill we wish we had.  We don’t get to see the first ones, the drafts, the practices, the bad ones.  Perhaps if we saw more of that, we would begin to appreciate how much work goes into a great speech.

Can you learn this skill?  ABSOLUTELY!

You can learn it at any age.  Older and wiser, young and fresh.  You can even learn it at the youngest age.  CHILDREN.  It serves us well that not everyone learns speaking skills.  But it is a shame.  Children could be taught early to stand in front of groups and speak with confidence, conviction, and emotion.

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