4 Tips for Becoming a Student Leader
12 May 2022
One of the big goals that many students aspire to in both primary and high school is to become a part of the student leadership team. The opportunity to represent one’s peers in roles such as School Captain, Prefect or on the SRC is really exciting for young people who are interested in making a difference at their school.
Being involved in student leadership is a very worthwhile endeavour, not only for the students who are selected but also for the students who put themselves forward for the positions. The process can encourage kids to get involved with their peers, think deeply about what they want to see happen at their school and work on their public speaking skills.
Often, when students are interested in being a part of their student leadership team, they come to us to learn about how to be a more effective public speaker. Preparing for the speech you give to the rest of your school to get chosen as a leader can be a wonderful way to improve your chances of making a difference at school.
What is student leadership?
Many schools around Australia have student leadership programs which involve a variety of positions including:
- School Captain
- SRC Representative
- Sports House Captain
While the roles are selected differently at every school, one thing that many of these positions have in common is that they are elected by the student body. This process relies on students communicating effectively to their peers about what they would like to do if they were chosen for the role.
How do I get elected as a student leader?
There are a number of ways to improve your chances of being elected for student council. These include being actively involved at school and talking to your friends about what they would like to see changed at school.
The most important thing, however, is to work on your communication skills so that you can get elected. Public speaking is a key responsibility of student leaders, especially school captains, who are required to speak at school assemblies and on special occasions such as presentation day or Anzac Day. Public speaking is also essential for getting chosen in the first place, as the candidates are usually required to present a speech to the school about why they want the role!
How can we help you to become a better public speaker?
We have seen time and time again that any student, no matter how shy they are when starting out, can become a great public speaker with practice. There are lots of ways you can be ready to impress your school when the time comes to give a student leadership speech:
1. Practice your public speaking beforehand
Get into the habit of public speaking, working on your eye contact and ‘speaking manner’. A great way to do this is to get feedback from someone like a coach or parent who can teach you tricks to improve your speaking skills. A big part of our ‘Presentation Skills’ programs is focusing on the purpose of public speaking and strategies for building a persuasive speaking matter. We also build in lots and lots of individualised feedback to help with your specific speaking habits.
2. Prepare a well-written speech
Make sure to follow a clear structure of introduction, body, and conclusion. Our public speaking courses also teach structures to apply to the introduction, the conclusion, and how to use PEEL and other techniques for amazing body paragraphs!
3. Remember to capture the audience’s attention
Even a well-structured speech can be boring! It’s important to learn some of the ways that we can draw an audience into our speech, such as using personal examples, interesting facts or weaving in a narrative to your speech.
4. Bring lots of energy!
Stand out by being nice and loud, energetic and full of fun hand gestures & facial expressions. Your classmates will love to watch an engaging speech!
The journey toward student leadership is hugely beneficial for students, even if they never get selected for the role. We love hearing back from our students about how they used what they learned at SSA to get chosen for school captain or prefect, but we also love hearing from students who had a fun time giving a speech in front of their school and having a go.
Good luck to all the future student leaders working hard to become tomorrow’s well-rounded humans!