How to write a speech for kids is straightforward, truly! Once you've gained some experience you'll find it fun, as well as hugely rewarding.
You follow exactly the same steps as you would when preparing a speech for adults but with minor, yet crucial variations. You'll plan, make an outline, write up your notes, prepare cue cards if you need to, rehearse and finally, deliver your speech.
However because you are speaking to children you'll need to adapt some of the processes. Use the page quick links below to follow my 3 part outline, and you'll be fine!
How to write a speech for kids
Part One: Background & audience research
Part Three: Rehearsal
Whoops, that went down like the proverbial lead balloon: - traps for the unwary
Your first step is to consider your audience.
To get all the answers, ask the person or people, who invited you to speak.
Once you've got that information you're ready to begin shaping your material.
Bear in mind the following as you plan:
Use humor and personal storytelling to get your points across.
Children of all ages love stories, especially personal ones. A story told well, with humor, will grab their attention faster and hold it longer than any other technique I know. Make it relevant, add characterization (voices and appropriate body language) and you'll have every child listening.
You can find out more about incorporating stories into your speeches on these pages:
Use interactive questions to ensure they're following you throughout your speech. 'Have you got that? Nod your heads if you have.'
Where possible incorporate 'showing' as well as 'telling'. Take along
things children can see and perhaps handle. This gives your speech
another dimension. And don't be afraid to break out your silly wig, or a clown's nose ...
Check this page on using props well in speeches.
Once you have the basic outline of your speech planned you're ready for the next step.
Now you're going to trial your work.
Rehearsal will help you identify what you've done well and where you need to fine tune.
If you can, practice in front of several children of the same age and background you're going to talk to. If they're old enough to understand, ask them before you give the speech, if they can help you make it better and collect their feedback at the end.
If they're not old enough, look for cues like looking away, looking puzzled, talking through it, or wriggling. If it's too long and without relevance or connection to them they'll soon let you know! Before you go on to finalize your speech incorporate your changes.
If you'd like pointers on how to rehearse you'll find them here:
try and give your speech without a word-for-word script. It might feel
safer for you but for children, listening to you read is not as
effective as you talking to, or interacting with them, directly.
Use cue cards if you can. Rehearse until you know it fluently and the cue cards are merely a safety net should you need them.
And finally run through the checklist below.
These are the pitfalls I've either fallen into myself or watched others tumble down. Knowing will help you avoid them.
Learning the hard way - when it doesn't go like you imagined it would and a great chasm opens beneath your feet which you're rapidly disappearing down - silly wig and all.
At least part of the hole you've dug for yourself could be caused by:
There is a common sense remedy for all of them. Trial your speech in rehearsal! And if it helps get a trusted and experienced colleague in to give you feedback!