Training a Child for Pageant Interview

Training a child for a pageant interview requires a delicate balance. The goal should be to capture their spontaneity in order to showcase their authentic personality. We want to avoid having them memorize answers, but rather, help them get to know themselves. This will help keep them fresh and in the moment so as not to sound over-rehearsed. Talk to them about their likes and dislikes, discover what memories they've developed, explore what they are currently involved in, and encourage their individuality.

Here are some tips!

1. Make it fun: You can make flash cards for quizzing or make it a family game where everyone in the family gets to make up questions and answer them. Help your pageant star to feel she is supported and never judged. Confidence is queen!

2. Create visual reminders: I recommend journaling for those who are old enough to read and write. This helps develop vocabulary, create opinions, and reflect on likes, dislikes and memories. Picture collages are a great tool for those who are younger. They can find pictures of their favorite things and reflect on memories from family outings, friendships and school activities. We want specifics. The more the child knows about who they are, where they come from and what they like, the more information they have to share.

3. Foster a safe environment for growth: Developing interview skills takes a certain element of experimentation and the safer a child feels, the more open they will be to sharing their stories. Avoid, telling them they've given a wrong answer. If you think they need to elaborate, ask them follow up questions that allow them to give more information. Then you can start to show them how they could have given a more detailed answer with all the information you helped them collect.

4. NO FEAR! Ultimately, we want to nurture this very delicate skill. We never want the child to fear talking to an interviewer or fear giving a wrong answer. Positive reinforcement is always a winner.

Sample Questions:

1. Who is your favorite teacher and what is she like?
2. Who is your favorite friend?
3. What is your favorite thing to do with your family?
4. If you invited me over for lunch, what would you make me?
5. What would be the best birthday present ever?
6. What do you like to do when you get a snow day and school is cancelled?
7. What is one toy you can't live without?
8. What are you studying in school this week?
9.Tell me something special about your hometown.
10. Tell me something I would NEVER guess about you!

Pageant interviews are a great vehicle for young people to develop communication skills, poise, and confidence speaking in public. Have a great time together as you prepare and know that this work is extremely worthwhile. Even if your child moves on to other activities, this should be a positive preparation process you can both look back on with fond memories! Enjoy!

*Miss Ohio 2004, Amanda Beagle, is a New York City based pageant and talent coach maintaining studios in New York City and Youngstown, Ohio and serving students nationwide. For more information pleaseEMAIL!

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