Any time you are speaking to young people, you must keep in mind that they enjoy humor. One thing we know about teens is that they enjoy a good time and they love to have fun. Students look to make any assignment fun and interesting. So getting a serious point across to them is no different.
I have been speaking to youth at school assemblies for awhile now and I know that before I speak to them about serious issues I look for ways to connect and what better way to connect than through laughter.
Once I have students laughing and having a good time I know that I have their trust. Once I have their trust I transition my speech into the topic the school or conference hired me to speak on. I speak about school bullying, I give my personal stories on how I dealt with bullies in middle school. I also speak about drug and alcohol awareness, a lot of schools are required to have some kind of program every year and most districts celebrate drug-free during Red Ribbon Week every October.
Another topic that is becoming alarming is dropout prevention. So many students are dropping out every year that some states don’t know what to do about it, it’s becoming an epidemic. There are now warning signs to look out for when a student starts high school that tells administrators who the at-risk students are in the school. Part of what I do is show them what it looks like when a person graduates high school and college. I even talk to teens about how I finished grad school as well.
The idea is to tell them that the more they learn the more they will earn so I try to encourage students to make graduation something that is mandatory in their life. I tell youth to finish what you started in relation to school.