Young audiences need to see relevance and immediate application.
This is part of how their brains are hard wired. This is part of how they look at what they are learning. This application needs to demonstrate both the assessment requirement outcome and the vocational outcomes.
The Need to Know...
Youth have limited opportunity to use knowledge due to limited learned skills. Unlike an adult learner, failure to learn only means failure of a course of study. The youth has less need to learn as learning is usually prescribed. They do it because they have to.
The youth learners are still in the process of developing their own self concept and self-responsibility.
Youth are limited in experience outside formal learning.
Readiness to Learn in youth is less a matter of choice and more likely to be viewed as a requirement.
Orientation Toward Learning
Youth learners are oriented toward grades and assessment.
Youth tended to place more value on self-directed learning, critical and reflective thinking in the learning process. Even though it is a preference, they still require moderation or direction. Self directed learning cannot be accomplished independently for the majority of youth learners.
A key to reaching a young audience is in skillful use of questions.
Youth are generally extrinsically motivated, the motivation being entry into the work force and ultimately what they perceive as independence. For a young audience, this is a key motivation to tap into when speaking.
Youth Learning Characteristics
For middle childhood, ages 8-11 years... Just as it is important to know the learning styles of youth, it is also important to know something about the characteristics common to the ages of youth you work with.
Please remember that all children develop at their own pace, and not all characteristics will be seen in all children at the same age or grade. Here are some common characteristics of the 8 - 11 middle childhood years:
Are quite active with boundless energy. Activities should encourage physical involvement.
This can be accomplished during public speaking to young audiences by asking for a show of hands. This gets the young ones involved physically which keeps the mind interested too.
Interests may change often, jumping from one thing to another. Encourage multiple brief learning experiences.
This group usually do best work when activity or task is presented in small pieces. They need simple and short directions.
Also needed is guidance from adults to stay at a task to achieve their best performance. Adults should provide lots of encouragement and recognize even small successes.
They are moving from concrete to more abstract thinking. Before 10-11 years of age, many in this group will not understand the abstraction of sarcasm. With the move into abstract thinking, ready-made solutions from adults are often rejected in favor of finding their own solutions.
As a speaker it is possible to use speech to direct the thinking. The logical solution then becomes that of the listener and not the ready made solution of you, the adult speaker.
They Need Recognition
Young audiences also need recognition and praise for doing good work. Present recognition in front of peers and parents. Do you know the most effective way to praise a young person? To further understand this go to...
Praise the Process and Not the Ability in order to use your words to motivate.
This group does not like comparisons with others. Instead of comparing youth to each other, compare present to past performances of each child.
They are very curious and will be found always asking "why." Don't provide all the answers. Encourage a few to find answers and report to the group.
Youth learner’s main occupation is not learning. It is not their highest priority either. Middle childhood youth are more likely to remain interested and involved when you offer a variety of learning experiences, with a variation in the pace and range of learning experiences.
If you include this in your public speaking you can increase your effectiveness.
Now that you know how to effectively speak to a young audience, consider the needs of speaking to an adult audience.
Do you know the unique needs to be met when speaking to an adult audience?
The Adult Audience and their unique needs to meet as a speaker.