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Teaching effective leadership and communication

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This is something I have been interested in for awhile.  I just finished watching this ted talk on authoritative speaking 


I have seen some great speakers and have occasionally seen a great leader.  I have read tons of books and still don't consider myself a great leader or a great speaker.  I worked in a job before becoming a parent where I had to give presentations from time to time and still am not comfortable with it and am not effective at it.


How is this something that can be taught from an early age?  I would like to help my daughter develop some of these things.  Is it something that mostly just gets passed down because you have a family member exhibit it all your or is it something that you can make an effort to teach and how would you do that?



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I'm not an expert at all but watching her speech it is certainly something I speak to the kids about. My son(11) started Robotics last year so it naturally came up as public speaking is required it helps that there is a goal for them to work towards, otherwise I think it may seem a bit pointless. I've drilled my Robotics kids on presenting, I'm sure sometimes they think I go on a bit about things that are inconsequential but so much of how they are judged is not in the content but in the delivery. We definitely spend a good chunk of time working on delivery- we practice shaking hands and introducing ourselves, posture, voice, how to emphasize certain words, I expect every practice to be done as if in front of judges. They are coming along very nicely and did very well in the judging last year on this aspect, we still keep working however as there is always room for improvement.


I think a chunk is practice- it also seems as well that a lot of good orators study the words and presentation of others. . I don't know if there is any material out there that works on this, surely there is, we might look into it at some point. For now I feel able to guiding them along myself. I did Drama club in school and although it terrified me it was also exhilarating. I also did speeches around campus for college for our Social Justice club on the topic of child labor. I practiced and presented so many times!!!


I think Speech and Debate clubs are an option, 4H seems to have opportunities here and there for public speaking(I noticed there was a competition at the fair this year- I'll have to have ds do this next year-he enjoys being on stage), I think drama could fill this role to an extent, besides FLL I'm sure there are other clubs and groups that require presenting as at least part of their activities, I know in Scouts there are opportunities as well in AHG our bigger girls are expected to act as leaders and Boy Scouts works on a similar model-


eta: We have a local Toastmasters here I heard them advertising their group on the radio several times, the ladies they had on just annoyed me so much I'd be hard pressed to use them. Their delivery seemed forced to me, yes they had nice clear delivery and spoke well but there was just something about it that rang hollow to me.

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Do things like speech and debate usually involve young children.  My dd is only 5.  I can see that being something that would be beneficial as she gets a little older.  


I have been to a Toastmasters meeting and that would seem long for any elementary school kid IMO.  Also the one that I went to, I would not classify the  person leading the group as a a good presenter.  In fact I was probably a better presenter than their leader was and I would not classify myself as an adequate speaker.  Maybe this isn't true with every toastmasters club, but it was my first impression experience.


Something I was discussing with my dh was that in presentations you usually put together an outline for notes and knowing how to to a good 3 or 5 paragraph essay is almost a necessity in forming a presentation.  Not that you write out essays for presenting but it is kind of the same thought process.  


Dd is very social and very confident in most things.  She has performed a couple of numbers with her ballet and gymnastics classes in a big auditorium that was full and she has done a violin recital in a small group setting.


We have also had opportunities where we go to dinner with dh's coworkers, so she is learning to have appropriate conversations and to shake hands and to be confident.  Of course she is only 5 and still acts like a 5 year old but we still work on it.



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Honestly, I think starting at 5 is best. Start and don't stop. 5yo can narrate a short story, share a memorized poem. Then as they grow they can share a write paragraph then essay. Young era can also practice reading aloud and looking up as they as they read. Friday night presentations to mom, dad and grandparents can be a start. Invite over elderly neighbors to watch so kids have an audience. Then look for and invest in other venues as the child grows.


Speech and debate in our area starts at 12. We've been able to start with our kids in other venues before (highest use of CC and then with a small homeschool group here that values public speaking).

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You may want to try a children's theatre group. They learn how to speak clearly, be comfortable in front of an audience, intentionally move their body to add to the speach/performance, and most importantly, how to receive feedback on their performance and make changes. Very often, these things are done with practiced through games and improvisation. Seems like a great way to learn and reinforce effective ways of speaking in front of an audience from an early age. If your dd is already comfortable performing in front of groups through dance, sport and music, theatre would probably be fun and easy for her.



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We're starting it with our 6 and 8 year old.  We could have started earlier, certainly.

But we're starting with recitation.  They memorize a short poem, or bible verses.  We practice those and practice, and practice.  And then they're required to do recitation--this means that they tell you the poem--but standing up, a ways away from where I sit on the couch.  They need to stand straight and keep their feet together and STILL.  Hands at the side, kept still.  Chin up, looking straight at mom.  I don't require in my eyes, because that's really, really hard for some kids, but looking generally at me, and not at my feet, either.  ;)  Then they say the poem, clearly and correctly.


So right now we're not working on vocal executive presence, exactly, but on the ability to stand in front of a room and speak clearly.  That's something that can be started very young.  As they improve, we'll increase the size of the audience.  We'll lengthen the pieces.  We'll start to address intonation.  Most poem lines don't end with that verbal uptick the speaker mentioned, so if those are creeping in, we'll start to practice intonation.  So far they haven't, in recited poetry (yay!)


And of course as we go on and the kids get older, we'll add prepared pieces that aren't memorized, necessarily.  We may add spontaneous pieces. ("Stand correctly.  Tell me three things about cats.")


So far my younger child is enjoying this.  My older is not.  He'd rather look down and fidget, and mumble.  Well, that's why we practice.  ;)  He'll improve.  But it does mean that having a concrete list of expectations and working through them, one at a time, matters.  Right now I'm letting him mumble with only a couple of reminders, but reminding him pretty consistently about feet staying still and hands staying still.  Once the feet and hands are improved, we'll address the enunciation and volume.  Etc.

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