Ms. Waterworth’s book and City Day are a natural combination, as we are both unique in our focus on developing confident and capable public speakers from a young age. Chris Dow City Day Head of School
When award-winning voice actor Lizzie Waterworth worked with school children, she noticed that confidence, or the lack of it, came up repeatedly in their conversations.
“I looked for books about this topic to share, and I could find nothing out there,” said Ms. Waterworth, who has performed in beloved animated shows like Bob the Builder and Horrid Henry. “I realized this was something that could be really useful to children and their parents.’
So Ms. Waterworth wrote a book on the subject, drawing from her own experiences as a performer. Her book, titled How to Speak So People Will Listen (And Sound Confident, Even When You’re Not), provides tips and strategies for overcoming anxiety and fear when speaking in front of an audience.
Ms. Waterworth recently visited Chicago City Day School to talk about her book and work with students on public-speaking skills. It was her second visit to the school, which emphasizes effective public speaking throughout its curriculum.
City Day’s work in the area of public speaking impressed Ms. Waterworth so much when she first visited that she mentioned the school in her book.
"I'm excited to have teamed up with Chicago City Day School," Ms. Waterworth writes. "Public speaking is a core part of their curriculum, and you can tell. The students are super-confident, as they start practicing public speaking from the year they start school."
While on campus, Ms. Waterworth offered students quick tips for reducing public-speaking nerves, such as the “mini massage” technique, which involves lifting your shoulders and holding them for a beat to calm your body. She also led workshop activities; for example, she challenged older students to create a pitch for a new cartoon or video game and then present it to their peers.
In the evening, Ms. Waterworth spoke to City Day parents about the book and her work in the area of confident public speaking.
One City Day eighth-grader said that he enjoyed working on a video game pitch with Ms. Waterworth.
“It was fun working with friends to design a game, and it was interesting to try to describe and ‘sell’ it in a really short amount of time,” the student said.
City Day leaders said that the school being included in Ms. Waterworth’s book underscores the importance of working on public-speaking skills early in a child's development.
“Ms. Waterworth’s book and City Day are a natural combination, as we are both unique in our focus on developing confident and capable public speakers from a young age,” Head of School Chris Dow said.
How to Speak So People Will Listen (And Sound Confident, Even When You’re Not) is available at bookstores and online retailers now.