How to Prepare Your Child for a Speech Competition
Participating in a speech competition could be a challenging task for your child. Here're some tips on public speaking for kids, extempore speech and elocution speeches to prepare her for the big day.
By Ananya Subramanian
“Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American essayist and lecturer
Quite true! A well-delivered speech has the power to work on the listeners' psyche and arouse their emotions. It also bestows power on the speaker; for, while preparing for a speech and delivering it, a speaker becomes skilled in various domains such as cognitive and emotional.
Public speaking helps accelerate children's growth as communicators, and teaches them the values of diligence and hard work. Also, participating in speech contests enables children to develop a competitive spirit and learn from failures.
But, delivering a good extempore speech or elocution speech in front of a sizeable audience is no easy task, especially for a child. From identifying the topic to presenting it well, your child will need to take care of several things for a successful presentation.
How to improve public speaking skills
These useful tips on public speaking can help him prepare well for a speech competition.
1. Decide the topic: Whether it is assigned or needs to be chosen by the speaker, the topic of a speech plays a very important role in any speech competition for students. The best topics are those that engage the interest of the audience. If your child has to choose the topic by himself, brainstorm with him to see what could be the most compelling and relevant topic he can speak on. Once the topic is finalised, discuss with him what he knows about it and the new points he could include in his speech.
2. Design the structure of the speech: A well-structured speech always has the most impact. So, decide on the structure and the length of the speech. Pay attention to other elements such as starting the speech with a proverb, adding a story in the middle, or ending with a famous quote. A speech embedded with messages of good values and morals would certainly earn your child some brownie points.
3. Edit, re-edit: While no one is going to expect Shakespearean language from your child, it is very important to not let her make errors. Though you should encourage her to draft the speech on her own, go over it with her to make her understand her mistakes and help her correct them.
4. Make him practise, not learn: Public speaking does not come naturally to everyone. To ensure that fear of public speaking does not impair your child from giving a good speech, make him practise his speech again and again, instead of just learning the speech by rote. He can start rehearsing in front of a mirror to correct his body language and expressions, and by looking at points jotted down on palm cards or a notepad. Once he is comfortable enough, he can practise without the notes before you and other family members. While he does so, do not forget to clap, appreciate and encourage him after he finishes his speech. These rehearsals would bring clarity in his speech and certainly boost his confidence manifold.
5. Focus on voice modulation and body language: While delivering the speech, it is important to have the right facial expressions, body language, and voice modulation. To help your child understand how to do these, you can either demonstrate them yourself or show her videos of accomplished speakers. Techniques such as pausing at the right place or stressing on the right phrases are key to delivering a good performance.
6. Dress him up well: First impressions always matter, that too when one is up on a stage or in front of a crowd. Dressing your child up well and grooming him to look smart and professional is important. Help your child choose an outfit that makes him feel happy, confident and secure. It would not only make him seem presentable, but also keep him a notch above his competitors.
7. Maintain eye contact: Establishing eye contact will help your child connect with the audience better. Also, this will make him appear confident and assertive.
8. Establish a rapport with the audience: While speaking, it is also important to engage and interact with the audience. The speech becomes more interesting, when a question is thrown at the audience expecting a feedback in return, or some funny anecdote is narrated in between.
How to overcome fear of public speaking
If even after good preparation, your child appears nervous before appearing on the stage or during his speech, he may be suffering from stage fright. Also known as performance anxiety, stage fright can affect his performance as well as his self-confidence. It is important for him to learn how to control his fear with relaxation exercises, deep breathing and positive thinking.
To know more about overcoming the fear of public speaking, read:
Public speaking classes for kids near you
Professional trainers in public speaking classes can play a huge role in developing your child’s skills as a speaker. They would equip your child with the much-needed confidence to take part in speech competitions, especially in English speech competitions. Here's a list of some of the top institutes in major cities that offer public speaking classes:
Public speaking classes for kids in Chennai:
1. First Step Institute
No. 4, Rajkamal 1st Cross Street, New Perungalathur, Chennai - 600063
9th Floor, Olympia Technology Park, Guindy Industrial Estate, Chennai - 600032
3. Einstro Academy
No. 4/636 A, Srinivasa Housing, PTC Quarters, OMR, Thoraipakkam, Chennai - 600097
4. Shalom English Academy
Plot No. 23, Door No. 5/178, I Cross Street, Vivekanantha Nagar Extn., Sithalapakkam,
Chennai - 600126
Phone: 099406 20339
Public speaking classes for kids in Mumbai
1. TSM Language Classes
Sahil Building ,Flat No. 402, Plot No. 516/B, S.V Road, Bandra West, Mumbai - 400050
2. English Nation Language Academy
No. 306, 3rd Floor, V Star Plaza, Chandrawarkar Road, Borivali West, Mumbai - 400092
3. The British Institutes
Office no 10, Ground floor, Shah Heritage CHS Ltd, Plot No. 9, Sector - 42/A, Seawoods,
Mumbai - 400706
4. Ezy English Academy
308, 3rd Floor, Mehta Chambers, Opp. Railway Station, Above Shabri Hotel, Nalasopara East, Palghar, Mumbai - 401209
Public speaking classes for kids in Bangalore
1. Indian Academy of Public Speaking
Galaxy, Brigade Gateway, Rajaji Nagar, Bengaluru - 560055
Phone: 073377 78691
2. Bangalore School of Speech And Drama
529, 16th A Cross, 3rd Main Rd, Sector 6, HSR Layout, Bengaluru - 560102
Phone: 074061 29314
3. Bishal Sarkar's
13th Main, 9th Cross Rd, 1st Block, Koramangala, Bengaluru - 560034
Phone: 088803 61526
4. Shobha Misra Communication And Personality Development
Nandanam Apartments, 6, 492, Chinmaya Mission Hospital Rd, Indiranagar, Bengaluru - 560038
Public speaking classes for kids in Pune
1. Tiny Monkey Stage
Inside Cream Stone, 9-B, Bibwewadi Kondhwa Rd, Market Yard, Gultekdi, Pune - 411037
Phone: 095117 10835
2. Inspiring English Speaking Classes
Rahul complex, E wing, 4th floor, Office No 21, Sr.No.135, Near Krishna Hospital,
Above Telephone Shoppee, Paud Rd, Kothrud, Pune - 411038
Phone: 099755 09129
3. WM Best English Speaking Classes
Flat 703, F Wing Park Express Society, Balewadi High St, Near Cummins India Office,
Baner, Pune - 411045
Phone: 088260 83900
4. Helen O'Grady International Speech & Drama Classes
Freewings Pre School, 22, Manamandir Housing Society,, Behind Hotel Shivar Garden,
Pimple Saudagar, Pune - 411027
Phone: 020 6500 3980
Public speaking classes for kids in Hyderabad
1. Express Easily English Academy
1-1, 2nd Floor, BKR Complex, Mumbai Highway, Near Limgampalli bus-stop, Chanda Nagar, Hyderabad - 500050
Phone: 098481 71212
2. Saurabh Chharia - Public Speaking Trainer
Landmark: Beside Global Eye Hospital, MIG -198, K P H B Colony Rd Number 1, First Floor,
Above Eyeris Opticals, Hyderabad - 500072
Phone: 085275 32553
3. Life Leader Spoken English and Personality Development Institute
3-6-102/A/A, Shaheed Yar Jung Lane, Basheerbhag Near Vijaya Diagnostic, Street Number 30, Himayatnagar, Hyderabad - 500029
Phone: 093910 88804
4. Panache The Finishing School
Karpamla House, 8-2-577/2/k/1, 2nd Floor, Above Cotton World, Opposite Iranian Consulate,
Road No. 7, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad- 500034.
Public speaking classes for kids in Delhi
1. Wabs Talk
No.9, 1st floor, Main Market, Moti Nagar, Near Metro Station, New Delhi, Delhi - 110015
Phone: 099999 47824
No.30/3A, 3rd Floor, Opp. Tilak Nagar Metro Station Gate No.3, New Delhi, Delhi - 110018
Phone: 093118 11011
3. Anurag Aggarwal Institute Of Public Speaking
AMDA Seminar Halls, Srifort Institutional Area, Khel Gaon, New Delhi, Delhi - 110049
Phone: 088605 13631
4. Pep Talk India
Ground Floor, A-8, Rajouri Garden, New Delhi, Delhi - 110027
Phone: 099715 02715
Taking part in speech competitions has numerous benefits. It will help your child become more confident, develop his communication skills and leadership qualities, and advance his career in the future. So, encourage your child to participate in such competitions and follow all the above-mentioned steps to help him prepare. With time, you will be the proud parent of a child who can deliver a great speech!
About the author:
Written by Ananya Subramanian on 8 August 2017; updated on 25 November 2019
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