The Impact of Your First Public Speech

Imagine you are a 10-year-old boy and your teacher asks you to emcee a Remembrance Day (Canada) ceremony in honor of veterans.  The entire school will be there along with parents and you have never spoken in front of a large audience before.

first public speech at 10 years old

This was the exact situation that my grandson, Jayden, found himself in just a week or so ago. Essentially, he was going to be giving his first public speech.

When we were first told that Jayden would be doing this, I got nervous for him. Why? As a speaker coach, I knew this could be a pivotal moment in his life. I’ve seen it many times before with clients. If the speech went well, it could define him in a very positive way. If it went poorly, however, it could haunt him for years to come.

When we arrived at the school gymnasium, Jayden was already standing behind the lectern. Like any great speaker, he practiced all week; learning his lines and knowing the order of songs and sketches. So, he didn’t look that nervous, which allowed me to relax a little.

jayden's first public speech

Despite a small microphone glitch at the beginning (which could throw off even the most seasoned speakers) he handled his role like a true professional, even managing last-minute changes to the script with ease. When he noticed that the person opening and closing the curtains had gone missing he even jumped on stage and saved the day!

When his enthusiastic fan base crowded around him after the event (3 sets of grandparents plus mom and dad), he came straight over to me and said, “G-Ma, I was only nervous a little bit at the beginning.”

My heart overflowed at that moment and I could not have been more proud as we all showered him with glowing praise. Someone even commented that maybe Jayden is more cut out for leadership than for taking direction. I think they’re right! Future CEO perhaps?

Do you remember your first public speech? How did it impact or shape your life? I hope you will share in the blog comments below and let us know.

See you soon Wealthy Speakers!

Jane Atkinson

  • What a GREAT story Jane!!!!
    I remember my 11 year old’s first talk for his 6th grade graduation class. I think I was more nervous then he was as the first “draft” of his talk was a little rough around the edges (like any good speaker right?). Like your grandson after practicing for about a week, the big night came. He gave his talk – at the end, he invited his fellow 6th graders to stand up and give a thanks to their teachers for the 7 years of great mentorship and teaching – some of the teachers started to cry. Afterwards he told me that he loved public speaking. SUPER fun to watch him become empowered to realize his words could have a great impact on others.

    • speakerlauncher

      Beautiful Jen, but I’m not surprised coming from your household. Kindness multiplies!!! Well done!!!

  • Shelly Moreau

    Great job, Jayden. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing, Jane.

    My public speaking experience (when I was 13) was memorable. I practiced and memorized my speech about Advertising. Funny…I’m now a copywriter. But I digress…I only faltered once or twice. Overall, it went well. In fact I achieved a 2nd Place finish. Who knew? I was so thrilled. I still have my little trophy.

    But who knew I would grow up to fear being put in front of people to speak? How did that happen?

    I now find myself in a position where I have to deliver a half-hour presentation next week in fact (in front of a group of business owners who are members of referral group I belong to). It’s on the subject of Strategic Planning for Small Business Owners (a very sexy topic, I know).

    So I’m panicking somewhat over having to do this. And this speaking thing is going to be a new focus for my business offerings in the next year so I have to get over it (as they say).

    So after reading your post, I’m going to take inspiration from Jayden’s bravery at such a young age. I’ve got no excuse, really. Bravo Jayden! You’re a true inspiration, young man.

    • speakerlauncher

      And I hope you’ll tap into that 13 year old self who nailed it Shelley! Well done and my advice to you when you get nervous is just to breathe. Let that oxygen get to your brain and all of the things that you truly know will be right there for the sharing. Thanks for posting!!!

      • Shelly Moreau

        Thanks for your response, and for your encouragement and support, Jane. I will certainly keep the breathing in mind.
        Have a lovely evening.

  • Diane Allen

    5th grade book report. Apparently I had never seen a classroom from the teacher’s vantage point before. I turned sideways and curled up into a little ball behind my teacher’s desk. Fetal position to be exact. Matte gray finish, shiny silver handles, the smell of dust like the far back shelves of an old library. The rest of the details are lost to emotional amnesia.

    • speakerlauncher

      And look how far you have come Diane!!!! Thanks for sharing.