Public Speaking: A Means of Growth

Dec 07, 2018 | Posted by Nick


As a customer service representative, I get lots of questions from homeschool moms who want their kids to get the most out of their high school years. I am often stopped during my list of recommendations and questioned, “Should my child really do Speech Boot Camp?” The simple answer is, “Yes!” But really, why should your child practice or participate in public speaking?

I get it. When I first started public speaking, I didn’t see the point, and I was horribly nervous. Even now, with years of experience under my belt, I feel the nervousness clawing to the surface, but I shove it down with thoughts of my previous success. Nervousness and anxiety aside, your child should participate in public speaking because the benefits are innumerable. Throughout my high school career and now in my college years, I have used the skills I learned through public speaking in everyday-life interactions and in my classes. Here are just a few benefits:

  1. You develop communication skills and prepare for life.

It may be easy to overlook the importance of speech in your child’s curriculum. Will they ever need to give a speech again? Yes, they will. Oftentimes, jobs will require you to give presentations to your coworkers, or you may need pitch ideas to your boss or clients. If your student attends college, there will at least be one class where he is required to present something to the class or instructor. I have even had to give speeches en Español; fueron un poco difíciles.(1)

However, communication skills are more valuable than just having the ability to deliver a nice speech. Communication skills carry over into your day-to-day conversations. People often judge you based on how you address them. If you walk into an interview and expect that a greeting of “Sup, bro?” will go over well, you are dreadfully mistaken. Public speaking helps you to sound professional and feel confident in an interview.

In one of my communication classes, the professor talked about how important conscientiousness is to communication. The idea of self-monitoring and being careful with what you say and how you say it can go a long way in personal and professional relationships. Public speaking helps you develop conscientiousness.

  1. You gain perspective.

Two of the most common causes of arguments arise either because people have a hard time viewing things from someone else’s perspective, or they are hearing, but not listening. Through speech and debate, where I have been compelled to debate for a policy I didn’t agree with, I gained perspective and learned how to listen. I now make more of an effort to see where people are coming from with their arguments. It has helped me to see flaws in their logic and to better convey my understanding. Additionally, this perspective has often helped me to refine my own positions and, in some cases, change my belief.

  1. You overcome public speaking apprehension.

In one of my communications classes, we discussed how people generally loathe public speaking. During one period, the students completed a short survey, which revealed only a handful of us did not have a problem with speaking publicly. To follow up, our professor talked about the two main ways to decrease public speaking apprehension. First, you must practice. My dad is well-known in our household for his emphasis on this. When I asked him how he got to be so good at something, he’d reply, “Practice, practice, practice.” Similarly with public speaking, the more you practice, the more prepared you will feel and the less apprehension you will experience.

The second way to overcome public speaking apprehension, and in my experience, the most beneficial, is by just doing it! The idea is that of desensitization. The more you do something, the less impact it has on your emotions. For example, if I found my boss terrifying and intimidating, and I decided to talk to her every day for the next three weeks, I would very likely not find her as intimidating after the first week. (Disclaimer: my boss is actually not that scary…) With public speaking, the more you do it, the less anxiety you will feel.

To clarify, I am not saying that public speaking is for everyone or that anxiety will just fade away. Recently, a co-worker shared an article on Facebook that described how public speaking isn’t for everyone and that it is unfair for those with anxiety to be required to speak. It’s true. Public speaking is not for everyone. But just because I have a hard time with math doesn’t mean I shouldn’t learn it. Likewise, public speaking may not be for everyone, but everyone should still try it out. One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that you can do Speech Boot Camp or do public speaking at home, utilizing the first technique: practice. Later, if you find you enjoy the experience (it’s entirely possible!), you may want to consider broadening your horizons a bit by joining the National Christian Forensic and Communication Association. Doing that will provide you ample opportunities to refine your public speaking skills even more, this time in front of a wider audience.

When the time comes for your student to give a speech, knowing the structure of a speech and having practiced it multiple times beforehand will ultimately be a great aid. Public speaking is a beneficial skill to have, helping you to be prepared for the demands of the job or class environment. So when considering if you should do something like Speech Boot Camp at home, consider how it may benefit your child and help them develop and grow into confident and competent communicators.


(1) In Spanish; they were a bit difficult.


Nick Buscemi has been associated with IEW since childhood when his father began working for the company. This has given him extensive experience with IEW's methods of speaking and writing, having taken many years of classes from Andrew Pudewa. Enjoying communicative interaction, Nick is majoring in Public Relations at the University of Oklahoma.

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