The other day I watched my daughter present her ‘Trickster Tales’ (stories about animals who trick others) in front of parents and her second grade class. I sat quietly watching her entire class present their stories in front of an audience of approximately 30 people. I was so impressed with the children’s ability to get up in front of an audience and present, and thought about what an important skill this is for the future and how it relates to my profession working with executives on their presentations skills.
I noticed how some children were naturally shy or outspoken, and others were just getting the hang of reading out loud. As a public relations professional, I really wanted to help them with their public speaking skills. As a mom, I just sat there in the moment, soaking it all up.
I found myself listening and watching, evaluating but enjoying, and taking in the art of storytelling. What is it that really draws us into the story? Is it the story, or is it the delivery of the story? Is it the way it was written, or is it the way it is communicated? I must admit, the child that really captured my attention was the one that read his story with a great deal of passion and emphasis. He looked up at the audience occasionally, connected with 1-2 people, and then looked back down to read his story. His voice projected, “listen to me – I’m going to tell you a great story!” His enthusiasm was consistent throughout the presentation. His eyes got wider during certain parts and expression grim during others. I couldn’t help but look up from my many messages on my phone and pay attention to what he was saying. Take a look at how wonderful he has presented his story here:
Kids really are the best teachers, aren’t they?