Public speaking can be terrifying.
So much so, the great American writer Mark Twain said that there are only two types of speakers: those that are nervous and those that are liars.
But he also knew that being able to speak in public is a skill that can boost self-confidence, help career prospects, and make people feel more comfortable in social situations.
Unfortunately, educators have noticed a growing lack of confidence in many students when it comes to verbal communication.
Andrew Mackenzie, the Deputy Principal of Macleans College in Auckland, says the increased amount of time young people are spending on devices and the disruption to learning caused by Covid-19 have contributed to the problem.
“Many young people have forgotten how to talk face-to-face and prefer to use social media to communicate,” he says.
It’s why the school has brought in the iSpeak Trust to run public speaking workshops for students.
“These workshops have been a significant confidence booster for the students,” he says.
“We applaud the Trust for helping address this problem and giving students the opportunity to develop and enhance their speaking skills. They’re life skills they will use now and into the future.”
“Speaking skills are just that, skills. And skills can be learnt,” says Gaye Stratton, the Board Chair and a Trustee of iSpeak Trust.
iSpeak Trust runs free workshops to improve the public speaking skills of high school students in the Auckland and Northland regions.
“We support students to find their own voice. This gives them the power to realise who they are and who they want to be. This voice is the key to their success,” she says.