Whether you are a teacher planning a high school leadership course, a youth group leader promoting teen leadership, or a parent wanting to help your own teen to become a leader, one of the essential skills they must practice is public speaking. The problem is that public speaking is the number one fear that most people have – including teens. But, without the ability to give a speech that inspires and persuades, your aspiring leaders will have difficulty getting people to follow.
The good news is that public speaking skills can easily be learned. Practicing them in a comfortable setting will not only prepare teens to lead, but it will also build their confidence.
There are many different aspects that go into creating an effective speech. Therefore, it is important to teach your teens about following the speaker’s checklist. This way they will not forget to practice any of these important leadership skills.
The Speaker’s Checklist
This important checklist includes skills such as eye contact, movement, gestures, vocal variety, use of pauses, use of props, use of other visual aids, and interacting with the audience. Here is a brief description of each one.
During a speech, it is important to maintain good eye contact with your audience. While it may be necessary to have some notes, it is important to only glance at them occasionally instead of reading straight from them. Generally, you should make eye contact with each person for about five seconds, and then look over to someone else.
When making a presentation, it is essential to use body language as well, since nonverbal communication is key in reaching your audience. Use hand and arm gestures to illustrate your point and make demonstrations.
During a speech, you need to not just make hand and arm gestures, but also to move around, and even walk near or around the audience.
While nonverbal communication is important, you also need to use variety in your voice, using different pitches and stressing different words.
Use of pauses
During the speech, it helps for effect if the speaker uses pauses between points, so the audience can think about what he or she is saying. The pause before something you want to emphasize captures the audience’s attention and is very powerful.
Props can be very effective in demonstrating parts of a story or promotion as well as holding the audience’s attention.
Other visual aids
The use of other visual aids such as whiteboards, flip charts, and signs can be very helpful in illustrating themes and points.
Interacting with the audience
A speech can be more than just making points or telling a story, it can also involve interacting with the audience. If it is appropriate, ask questions and ask participants to volunteer their answers. “What is your opinion of… ?”
Each of the above speech aspects is important for an effective presentation. Put them together and you have crafted a speech that can not only captivate and persuade your audience but can also move them to action.
Successful leaders must know how to deliver dynamic speeches.
When teaching teens the leadership skill of public speaking, have them use a speaker’s checklist so they remember to use all of the effective speaking skills.