Your normally cool-as-a-cucumber teen is feeling nervous. There’s a big oral presentation coming up in English class, and your son or daughter is starting to stress about it. This is understandable, of course. As the often-quoted statistic tells us, public speaking is the number one fear for many. Fortunately, there are plenty of things your teen can do to prepare for a classroom presentation, and you can help along the way. Encourage and help your nervous teen by trying the following tips:
Know the Assignment
To give an effective classroom presentation, students must thoroughly understand the assignment. Sit down with your teen and have him or her go over the project with you. Read through the handouts if need be. You'll want to make sure your child not only understands the instructor’s expectations, but also knows how long the speech needs to be and what style — informative or persuasive — it needs to be.
Go Above and Beyond Expectations
A great way for teens to impress their teachers during oral presentations is to give a bit more than is expected. For example, adding professional imagery may be appropriate, especially in today’s classroom where teens are primarily visual learners. Encourage your kiddo to visit a website like Shutterstock that offers a huge selection of images that add life to any classroom presentation and help illustrate the points your teen is making.
Learn the Material
Even if your teen is not required to memorize the presentation, he or she should be very familiar with the material. The more informed a student is on a topic, the better the presentation will be. It also helps your child get through a Q&A session from the class. Encourage your teen to learn all that he or she can about the topic. In addition to the school-provided textbook, help your kiddo look up more info online or, depending on the subject, watch a movie about it.
Practice, Practice, Practice
One of the best ways to prepare for a classroom presentation is to practice giving it a few times before the big day. Volunteer to be in the audience at home, and ask brothers and sisters to listen in as well—reminding them to be encouraging. Doing a dry run or two will help with timing and knowing if your teen needs to add to the speech to make it long enough. Encourage your teen to maintain eye contact with you and the rest of the family audience during the talk; this will prevent your teen from staring down at the notes the whole time. Since nervous presenters usually speak quickly, remind your teen to slow down. Tell your son or daughter that the audience is not familiar with the information, so speaking slowly and with confidence will help them understand the topic.
Dress for the Occasion
While a suit and tie or fancy dress may not be necessary on presentation day, encourage your teen to look his or her best. It’s amazing how a fresh haircut or new shirt can give a nervous teen extra confidence to get through the talk. Encourage your teen to dress a bit more formally than usual and leave baseball caps and T-shirts at home.