Last updated 2 years ago
Imagine this scene:
You have an oral report due. When it's your turn, your face is burning and your heart is hammering. You start to speak. Your throat dries up, your hands are shaking, and your mind goes blank. You try to get through it, lose your place, repeat yourself, and finally stumble back to your seat. Your classmates are already smirking.
Does this sound like a bad memory from your childhood? If so, you have plenty of company. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 73% or men and 75% of women have glossophobia—strong fear of public speaking.
What can you do to help your kids when they are faced with the need to make presentations in class? Here is a process that will ease those fears and boost self-confidence:
–Start your research as soon as you get the assignment.
That gives you time to wade through all of the information you'll find and select the best.
- Write an outline.
Just like an essay, an oral report needs to be organized with a beginning, middle, and end.
- Write simplified notes on large (4 X 6) cards.
Put only enough words on each card to help you stay on track and remember one fact or idea.
- Keep the talking part of your report short.
Use your creativity to produce or find great graphics, audio or video clips, and props. Linked together with a few well-organized and rehearsed words, they can wow your audience.
- With your outline and notes, practice in front of a mirror. Take your time. At this point, you're getting to know the parts of your report. There's no pressure to get it "right."
- Imagine you're great. Visualize yourself being relaxed and at ease with your topic and your audience. Smile and take a bow.
- Watch experienced speakers to find out how the pros do it; then, try out some of their methods.
- When you're ready, ask family members or friends to be your audience. Let them know you need feedback about the clarity of your ideas, your pace, and anything else that will make your report stronger.
- If possible, ask someone to video your rehearsal so you can watch it. This is a powerful way to see yourself realistically and overcome negative self-images.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face."
By preparing well, your kids can face their fear of public speaking and grow stronger in the process.