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5 Ways Gifted Students Can Improve Public Speaking Skills

Posted by Categories: Gifted Students

5 Ways Gifted Students Can Improve Public Speaking Skills | National Society for the Gifted and TalentedLeadership is attached to many goals that we have for gifted and talented students. We want these students to have the confidence and skills necessary to influence others toward the goal of the greater good, to lead intellectual developments within their fields of study, and/or to lead themselves into self –fulfilling roles and endeavors. We often find leadership courses in gifted programs where students study the characteristics of leadership, research past and present examples of effective leaders, and problem solve real and authentic scenarios where good leadership is required. These are all fantastic activities for gifted students to experience.

In the summer, if students are not participating in any organized leadership program, it might be a good time to practice the skills of public speaking. If one is to be a transformational leader, it is critical that the communication that is transmitted through public speaking is effective. Summertime can provide an opportunity to practice public speaking skills through flexible and individualized schedules. Young children through teens should be encouraged to seek opportunities to speak in front of groups of people to gain practice, skill, and, subsequently, confidence in this major aspect of being a good leader. Here are some suggestions for public speaking development:

  1. Seek opportunity to speak either extemporaneously or prepared speech to groups that are available to you. Such groups might be play groups, family gatherings, recreational teams, religious groups of which you are a member, volunteer organizations, or social clubs. You might want to propose a new project, share an experience, or lead a problem solving session within the group. Being the central speaker for that goal can provide good practice.
  2. Set up individual goals with a timeline through the period of time you allot for these goals. Your goals might be broken down into such components as projection, diction, eye contact, adding humor, or any other aspect you feel you need to develop. Focus on these individual pieces of being a great speaker during your set time and evaluate your progression at the end of your timeline. What else do you need to focus on next go round?
  3. Establish a group of peers that meets regularly to practice the skills of public speaking, in the fashion of something like a Toastmasters group. Set up a regular time and place to meet up and support each other in your goals of being better speakers. Each time you meet, one person can be singled out to give a prepared or extemporaneous speech while your peers give encouragement and feedback.
  4. Find a book or use the Internet to research great speeches of the past. Practice saying those speeches out loud to see how they feel to you. Why are they considered great speeches? Look for recordings of great speakers and analyze why they are considered to be effective public speakers.
  5. Make a video of yourself making a speech or selling a real or imagined product. View the video and make note of what you do well and what you could do better. Get the opinions of others too. Then record again and see if you can do even better than the first time.

These are just a few suggestions to get students started on developing as a naturally confident and experienced public speaker—a necessary skill for their future roles of leadership in whatever area they choose.

All the best,

Barbara Swicord, Ed.D.
CEO, National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT)
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG)

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