Three Reasons Your Teen Should Do Public Speaking

Jun 08, 2023 | Posted by Michelle

Now that high school is far in my rearview mirror, I can attest that the most formative academic experience I had in my teen years was competing in a speech and debate league.

At the age of thirteen and under five feet tall, my first public speaking encounter was a debate against two sixteen-year-old boys who were well over six feet tall. I stumbled through my opening argumentation and answered their cross examinations awkwardly with “I don’t know.” Throughout the ninety-minute round, my team’s strategy to the opposing team’s best argument was simply to ignore it. We had no answer, so why try?

You can imagine which team won.

Does this sound like the scenario your teens might be terrified of? Perhaps it is a fear you harbor—you are worried your student cannot put a coherent sentence together in a public speaking setting. If this fits, here are three reasons why you should push past those fears.

Fear is temporary. Confidence lasts.

Anyone likes to do what they think they can do. Often the idea of public speaking paralyzes students because they presume they can’t do it. Of course, it makes sense to fear trying something where failure would be so openly witnessed. Public speaking does happen in public after all.

However, this fear can be conquered by equipping your students with resources and exposure to the skill. Will the first time be perfect? No, in fact, it will likely be awkward! The second time will be better than the first, and the tenth will be better than the ninth. Once your students know how to do something, they will believe they can do it. The unspoken sense of weakness is replaced with a sure capability. The feeling of ignorance is exchanged for knowledge. Fear dissipates, and confidence takes root. Once confidence takes root, it continues to grow. It takes a lot more to disrupt and destroy confidence than it does to feed the hunger of fear.

You want to raise a thinker.

Buy this! Do that. Believe this.

From fashion trends to world events, social media inundates us with preconceived conclusions. We buy the brand shoes. We eat at the restaurants. We parrot the phrases.

This may be fine for the unimportant topics, but when it comes to forming opinions on what matters, the skill of thinking is imperative.

Public speaking takes many forms: debate, persuasive, impromptu, all of which require a great deal of preparation, planning, and purpose. Your teen cannot support a topic or refute a bad idea without asking good questions and thinking through the reasonings behind each side. A persuasive speech without evidence? It would not go far.

The art of public speaking not only requires your students to communicate complete ideas, but also recognize bad ones. In a world that does not acknowledge truth, raising competent communicators and thinkers may just be the golden ticket we need.

Your teen’s thoughts and opinions are worth working for.

The most influential ideas that have changed the course of history all have one thing in common—they were communicated. It is said that Churchill defeated Hitler by “mobilizing the English language and sending it into battle.” Wars have started, and peace has been achieved by people who could communicate. However, your teens do not have to seek world change in order to justify public speaking.

Public speaking provides your students with real life experience to learn how to communicate themselves. What allows people to understand them? What tones do they need to convey their seriousness or levity? What does body language do to aid or harm listeners’ receptiveness? All of this has to be considered. Once your students learn what works, they will have the undeniable ability to effectively communicate their ideas. The benefits outweigh the fears and hard work.


At the age of eighteen and just over five feet tall, I didn’t employ the tactic of ignoring an argument anymore. My fear and ignorance had been replaced with poise and knowledge. It did not come without some expense. Believe me. I still had plenty of embarrassing public speaking moments, but the benefits far outweighed the little bumps along the way. Many years later, I do not think about the fear of public speaking. The confidence that I attribute to public speaking, however, has transformed my life in every single capacity.

So, what are you waiting for?

If you are ready to get started, begin with our brand new public speaking course, Introduction to Public Speaking. You can even get started right away with the first two weeks here. In this comprehensive course, your students will not only learn how to plan and prepare for five different kinds of speeches but will also receive tools for memorization and delivery techniques—truly everything they need to make the fear of public speaking a bit smaller. All that would be left would be to put it into practice! While not required, joining a speech and debate league such as is an incredible opportunity for your students to gain confidence. It’s what I did, and I will forever be grateful for my parents in providing me this (once scary) opportunity.

Michelle was introduced to IEW at age ten when the Pudewa family moved in down the road. After learning from Mr. Pudewa through middle school and high school, she joined the customer service team and has been greatly impacted by the people she has had the joy of serving through phones, chats, and emails. Outside of IEW she runs a photography business and is always looking for the next podcast to learn from.


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