What? Me? Speak in front of an audience? No, thank you!
Many of us would rather undergo a root canal than speak in a public forum. Even so, we can help our teens gain skills to overcome this very common fear. Toastmasters/Gavel clubs have been helping people gain public speaking skills worldwide for decades. They have strategies and an excellent format to support our teens in the attainment of public speaking ease and grace.
When we, at L & E Academy, began our Gavel Club a month ago, our high school students were naturally nervous. Some were closer to petrified. As they watched other experienced teen and adult Toastmasters, they were impressed by the poise and apparent ease of speaking demonstrated. They each took the risk of public impromptu speaking at the inaugural meeting. They have now moved on to provide the inspirational message or joke for the day, give an Icebreaker 4-6 minute speech without notes, peer evaluate speeches, and provide varied reports and impromptu speeches. The transformation in these teens’ speaking confidence is impressive… and they have only begun!
Three Toastmasters’ features that resonate particularly well for our teens:
- Leadership opportunities in revolving roles within the club
- Practice in organizing thinking for clarity in crafting a message and supporting it with interesting examples
- Tried-and-true pointers to improve stage presence and confident communication
Over a month into the club, L & E Academy has opened up the experience for all local middle and high school students. Wednesdays from 2:00-3:15 pm, teens may come and develop their public speaking skills. So far there have been students visiting from area middle schools. One cited wanting more confidence, another needs to develop speaking skills for robotic competition presentations.
Teen Gavel Clubs also exist in Bellevue and Sammamish. Why not have your teen gain leadership capacity, organizational skills, and poise in a Gavel Club? (More details at http://leacademy.org/community-gavel-toastmasters-club/)