As an adult, public speaking can be a scary thing, and for kids—without the benefit of years of built-up social coping mechanisms—it can be even scarier! Luckily, the same techniques that help adults improve their presentation skills can be a big help to kids in the classroom, too. And even better, teaching them how to present effectively at a young age can help instill confidence that will last a lifetime.
Check out these simple tips for helping your kids nail presentations in the classroom.
1. Repeat your first sentence for emphasis
When you begin your presentation, say your first sentence very clearly. Then, pause for a 1-2-3-count while you look at the audience. Say that sentence one more time, and then start your presentation. This makes for a strong beginning for the right presentation.
2. Look at a friend in the audience
If you’re feeling nervous, start by looking at and pretending you’re talking to one of your friends in the audience. Friends make you feel more comfortable! Once you feel better, look around more often.
3. Maintain good posture
Pretend you’re a marionette (one of those puppets held up by strings) and that you can feel the string going all the way up your back and through the top of your head. That will help you remember to stand up straight. Also, make sure you keep your shoulders back and relaxed as this will help you project your voice and keep you from running out of air while you speak.
4. Keep your feet still
For most of your presentation, keep your feet still, like you stepped on two big pieces of bubble gum and can’t move them. Then, when it’s time to change to a different topic or the ending of your presentation, you can walk to a new spot on the stage and stand still again.
5. Talk to the person farthest away from you
…all the way in the back. This will ensure you’re using the appropriate projection and volume. If your audience has to work too hard to hear you, they’ll tune you out.
6. Memorize your final sentence
Have the final sentence of your presentation memorized—word-for-word. Once you’ve said it, pause, say thank you—and you’re done!