Creative Child

Why Public Speaking is Critical to Your Child’s Future and How Theatre Can Help Develop this Skill

by Deborah Song

Public speaking is important if you want to land an influential or high-paying job. According to a recent study, the alumni of British private schools continue to helm many top professions in various industries like politics. What is it about these private schools and what exactly do they offer? As highlighted by the Washington Post, one of the main benefits, besides networking, is the experience students gain from debate and more frequent discussions in groups, as well as with teachers that these private schools offer.

 

While not every child has the luxury of attending a private school, or even a speech or debate class (such organizations aren’t always ubiquitous), there is another, perhaps more fun, option for young kids to help hone their public speaking skills from an early age: theatre.

 

As one acting coach put it, “I have discovered that the acting techniques I have been employing for more than 20 years to help my acting students master and deliver beautifully-honed, well-controlled theatrical speeches can also be used to help executives and other presenters master and deliver any kind of speech.”

 

Public speaking, like theatrical acting, is about engaging your audience, being comfortable under the spotlight and delivering a performance. Here are some ways theatre can help your child hone her public speaking skills and become tomorrow’s leader.

1. Theatre can teach your child to channel anxiety. Being a fearless public speaker isn’t about expelling fear. Many frequent public speakers admit to being nervous each and every time before going on stage. Public speaking isn’t about suppressing fear but channeling it into excitement. It’s about learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. It’s about looking fear in the face, and pushing through it because the pros outweigh the cons.

2. Your child will become familiar with all the characters before stepping onto a stage. Actors are in the habit of knowing all of the characters in a play or script, even ones he doesn’t have to interact with. This can be an invaluable practice for any public speaker. Who asked you to speak? Who is your audience? Why did they ask you to speak? What do they hope to get out of your presentation? What do they hope to do with it? Knowing these questions are essential because they help you predict audience reaction. Which brings us to our next point.

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