In the fifth grade, I won the class spelling bee but didn’t want to represent my grade in the school spelling bee because I was afraid of public-speaking. Then in high school, I slowly and painfully made it through a speech on astrology (we had to choose a topic on the supernatural). Although I had always received good grades for my writing, I knew that my speaking was subpar. It was a surprise that later in life I became a corporate trainer, speaking in front of hundreds of people in a variety of companies.
However, the road was rocky and I wished I’d learned public speaking earlier. And I’ve heard many people say the same thing. It’s one of the most important skills, but many people will reach adulthood without having had much practice with it. Just as kids can learn foreign languages easier when they’re younger, it may also benefit them to learn presentation skills at a younger age.
There are many benefits to learning and improving speaking skills when you’re young.
1) Builds confidence and helps you stand up for yourself
2) Makes it more likely that you’ll be able to explain an idea in a way that will get people to listen
3) Be able to create good arguments for your views when someone disagrees with you
4) Builds empathy. In order to connect with people in your audience, you have to consider their needs and what interests them
5) Allows you to use your creativity to come up with the best way to get your point across
6) Provides practice researching the details of a topic
7) Helps you be prepared for interviews with potential employers in the future
8) In the age of technology and social media, it can help you connect with people and get more comfortable communicating in-person instead of from behind a computer or phone screen
9) Gives you the confidence to ask questions
Although more schools are requiring kids to start giving presentations at a younger age, it’s rare that a kid will want to work on these skills for fun. I know that I wasn’t up for it at that age. It was always more fun for me to learn by reading a story rather than getting information from a textbook, so I created an entertaining fiction story that also provides kids with a guide to the basic principles of being a successful speaker using the 5 P’s of Presentations.
5 P's of Presentations
About Super Speaker
Gia Dorsey is an outspoken, funny, and clumsy sixth-grader, otherwise known as Super She, a TV show superhero alias she gave herself to feel more confident – confidence she needs to save kids from bullies, give a speech, and do the scariest thing of all – start middle school.
It’s not me, it’s Super She, Gia thinks to herself after doing outlandish things such as speaking at a school assembly, pulling a prank in History class, and doing an impromptu cheer at a soccer game. After all, she’s willing to do anything to stop perfectly perfect Cora Dressler from stealing her best friend, Lance Garrett.
But Lance thinks that Cora can do no wrong and is even sure she’ll win the Speech Masters Contest. When Gia’s new friend, Annabelle Hale, enters this public-speaking contest, Gia is determined to help her win. She volunteers to coach Annabelle on the 5 P’s of Presentations and also starts a “little rumor” about Cora.
However, when the rumor spreads like wildfire and risks burning her friendships, Gia can’t rely on Super She’s superpowers. Instead, plain old Gia Dorsey must use her own powers.
This story captures middle school angst in a humorous way and shows that a superhero lives inside each person, but can only be discovered if she’s able to overcome fears and be her true self.