Communication is an essential part of any society. From building connections with peers to influencing decisions and motivating others, the ability to express ourselves in public is a crucial skill. However, for many students (as well as adults), speaking in front of a crowd is a terrifying experience. According to the National Social Anxiety Center, about 73% of the population experiences public speaking anxiety, or glossophobia.
One of the best ways to overcome this fear is through practice. Read below for three activities educators can use to develop their students’ public speaking skills!
Often, the most powerful and effective solution is the product of many different ideas. During a group brainstorming session, students take turns expressing their ideas to their team. However, in order to share their opinions, they must first have the confidence to speak up. In this format, students have control over how long they want to speak in public. Over time, this activity can help children gain confidence in expressing themselves and work toward speaking for longer periods of time in front of others.
Researchers who work in STEM fields often give public presentations to share their findings with both their colleagues and the public at large. To replicate this practice in a classroom environment, educators can instruct their students to give presentations to share and explain what they’ve learned. While addressing their peers, children can practice their public speaking abilities. In order to give each student a chance to improve their skills, make sure the members of each group are given the opportunity to speak during their allotted time.
Once inventors have protected their inventions with a patent, it’s often the case that they need to raise money in order to help produce and market their creation. Popularized on a national level by ABC’s hit show Shark Tank, “pitching” is the act of selling a group of potential investors on the viability of an idea or business. Effective STEM programs teach students how to create, protect, market and pitch their creations. When executing a pitch activity, students should have a limited amount of time to present what they’ve created and must identify the most important and appealing aspects of their creation. By speaking under these conditions, children will gain the valuable practice of expressing themselves under pressure — a skill they can use well into adulthood.
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The National Inventors Hall of Fame® prides itself on providing holistic STEM education programs that place an emphasis on teaching students how to express and apply what they’ve learned. For more information, we encourage you to visit our website.