Speaking in public is a vital skill

Published 11:16 pm Monday, September 4, 2017

Ask 1,000 people to share their greatest fears and you will assuredly get a wide range of answers.

Snakes, heights, bugs, flying and others are always among them, but another that inevitably makes the cut is also perhaps the most unavoidable: public speaking.

This is something which, to varying degrees, causes millions of Americans to shudder at the thought. It is also an integral part of life, especially as we move into adulthood.

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That makes the accomplishment of Hannah Runyon, a seventh-grade student at Calvary Christian School, even more impressive.

Hannah recently won first place in the state’s 4-H speech competition with a program on Pocahontas. The public speaking competition is required of Calvary’s middle school students, but she wasn’t aiming just to complete an assignment.

Hannah won the competition at the school. Then she went on to win at the county, region and, eventually, state level, beating out dozens of other students.

Congratulations to Hannah for her hard work. Although the victory itself is certainly sweet, the experience gained in the process will serve her well as she moves into high school.

This is an area we would like to see all our schools emphasize more because it will develop skill sets and self-confidence that will pay dividends for years to come and lay a foundation for the rest of their lives.

Being able to stand up in front of other people and speak comfortably and effectively is critical for success in life at virtually every level. Overcoming this phobia at a young age is much easier than getting adults to break decades of fear that ultimately becomes paralyzing.

So, whether it is for a 4-H speech contest or others hosted by a myriad of organizations, we encourage schools, parents and youth themselves to embrace the need for public speaking.

It is truly an area where practice makes perfect, and that level of perfection can be the difference in life.