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    5 Ways Parenting Helps Public Speaking

    It doesn’t take much time to see the parallels between parenting and public speaking. Here’s what I’ve discovered in the last few years since I became a parent.

    Audience Engagement

    Before I had children I didn't know how to act around them. I remember thinking more than once, "What do I say to this kid?" Then when I had a couple of my own it became, "How do I shut this kid up?" Politely…of course. There is a lot of wiggle room between those two extremes. Luckily, as a parent, you have had experience with your own children, as well as with other parent's kids. You discover different ways to engage each child based on their interests, experiences, and location. This is very similar to engaging with an audience. Every audience is different. They have their own interests, experiences, and venues. Being able to engage different people in different ways is important for being a successful speaker.

    Managing Expectations

    Children want everything. Doesn't matter if they just got a new toy or some candy. If their sibling got something else, they want it too. Trying to facilitate a healthy level of expectation for you as a parent and for your child takes some practice. You should have different expectations for each of your children. My wife has different expectations than me, as well. Giving a presentation requires an ability to manage expectations, too. As a presenter, you often feel a need to pass along all the information you've learned. This is a mistake. You only need to pass along the right amount of material for your respective audience. It's about knowing what they expect from you and what you can offer them.

    Building Confidence

    Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. Last time I checked it is still ranked as the #1 fear of most Americans. Luckily, there are shades of fear. You may experience absolute terror at the idea of speaking or you may have minor anxiety. Overcoming fear is difficult. Raising kids showcases just how hard it can be. My daughters are afraid of lots of things, some rational and some not so much. It's okay to be afraid. It's best not to let this fear control you, though. So as you build confidence in your children and help them overcome fear of the dark or large animals or monsters under the bed; remember, that you can apply the same rationale to yourself as you coach your way through your own glossophobia.

    Simplifying Explanations

    Kids are knowledge sponges. They love to learn and they ask lots of questions. But, let's be honest. They are really not that bright. Their vocabulary is limited and they don't have a plethora of life experiences. Trying to talk to them takes a bit of foresight with how you explain things to them. The same holds true for your audience. You can't walk into a venue and expect everyone to know what you know. That means, in addition to presenting your material, you also need to consider what aspects of your material should be better explained. Then make sure you explain it in an appropriate manner for your respective audience.

    Having Fun

    Lastly, I wanted to talk about fun. It is a rush to give a presentation…to be popular and the focal point of a crowd. It should be fun. If it's not fun, you probably aren't doing it right. Kids like to have fun. It's their driving force. It's their most important life goal. Playing with you children should be fun. When you are home playing with your kids you don't worry about what other people think. You just do it. You go for it. Silly voices. Funny mannerisms. Lame jokes. Whatever it takes. When you're on stage, you should feel the same. Just go for it. Don't be timid. Build some chemistry with your audience. Try to have fun. The more you enjoy yourself on stage the more the audience will like you and enjoy your talk.

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