Northern Beaches Mums Group
Northern Beaches Mums Group

Stand Up and Speak Up

The ability to stand up and speak about what you have come to understand, believe or feel is a skill that doesn’t come easily to many.

To feel and observe life through your senses and come to know its meaning is one thing, but to cognise it and share it verbally is a while other thing.

At school, our children are encouraged to express themselves both verbally and in written form, and give feedback on what they have learned to show their comprehension and understanding of the topic. This is quite a challenge for many, as their little brains aren’t adept at translating feelings, experiences and observations into words.

Whilst many people point the finger at public speaking as the “problem”, it is the process before this that stumps most. That is, identifying the detail of an observation or experience so that words can be formed.

Whether it’s a book that has been read, a television show or news report, the ability to translate what has been learned into written and then spoken words is a skill that requires development. Here is how you can help your child prepare a speech based on what they have observed, read or studied.

1. Use the Magnifying technique

A scientist uses a magnifying glass to focus on the detail of one specific thing at a time. Have your child do this so as to minimise distractions and prevent overwhelm. Once they have found a focal point, use the LOOK – FEEL – SMELL – TOUCH – TASTE prompts to explore their observations and jot them down.

Once that is done, move to another focal point. The idea is to gradually pull the focus outwards, like a camera lens, so that each part of the picture is gradually revealed until the whole picture can be viewed as one. At each step, use the LOOK – FEEL – SMELL – TOUCH – TASTE prompts to extract the detail.

Once the detail has been extracted, a great idea is to ask your child what the whole picture/experience/observation reminds them of? What does it prompt them to think about or feel? This is the 10,000 ft view that becomes the broad picture which can be the essence of a speech or presentation.

Here is the fun part. Putting the information together into a speech! I love to use the sandwich technique, and I use it with both children and adults.

2.?The Sandwich technique.

The sandwich technique is essentially a technique used to order our thoughts and ideas so as we can build a logical talk or presentation.

The top layer of bread is the opening where you introduce the 10,000ft view of the subject. You found this after you pulled back the magnifying glass!?

The filling is the focal points you identified and the details that were found under the microscope. Remember, It is important not to overfill a sandwich as everything falls out, so stick to about 3 main points here and give all of the detail on those points.

The bottom layer of bread is the conclusion. Create a concise conclusion based on the whole picture and the key learnings.

The final part of preparing a speech or presentation, is the delivery. The content is organised, so you can tick that off as complete. The other part is how you speak. Clarity is important. That means, clear enunciation, a pace that isn’t rushed and to speak at a volume to ensure you can be easily heard. Managing your energy is also important, as kids often struggle with nervous energy that plays out as rocking, twitching, fiddling hands etc. It can also play out, especially for girls, as dumbing down or adopting what is known as ‘group speak’ – a style of speaking that is considered acceptable to their peers, and individuality is squished. It may also play out through modelling a style of speaking that throws their message away, such as using repetitive upward inflections or petering out at the end of sentences. These all negatively impact a presentation. Public Speaking is an art and a science. The skills are learned skills that will equip your child for high school and beyond.

Sam Buckingham is a TV Presenter and public speaking coach. She works with adults and children to build their confidence around speaking.

Sam is currently running a 7-week School Term Program ?Confident Speaking & Journaling for Girls?, to learn more