Generation Z’s confidence has waned during the pandemic, leading to fewer young adults feeling self-assured in public speaking, according to polling data shared with MailOnline. Here’s how the articlebegins:
Polling carried out by Survation suggests 35.32% of 18-24 year-olds are less confident speaking in public than they were before the global health catastrophe.
Elocution experts believe that many Gen Zers – who would have been aged between 14 and 20 when the pandemic first broke out – have been robbed of formative experiences like giving talks in front of classmates, with most of their communication skills established on video calls during lockdown.
As a result of the years-long gap in their development, experts fear they could suffer professionally or academically, coming up short against older candidates in job interviews or dropping grades in group presentations at school or university.
Experts have called for employers – already using perks like free food to try to coax Gen Z out of their bedrooms and into the office – to give younger workers help with their communication skills to prevent them from becoming a ‘lost generation’.
The Survation poll, commissioned by public speaking agency Speak With Impact, found that around 20% of 18-24 year-olds were “much less confident” in their speaking skills compared with before the pandemic, while 15% were “slightly less confident”.
Gen Z – people born between the middle to late 1990s and the early 2010s – were the only age group to record a net negative score, meaning the relative majority are less confident than they were before.
In other age groups from 25 to 64, a slim majority of people said they had gained confidence in speaking in front of an audience over Covid; the biggest rise in confidence was among the over-65s.
Gavin Brown, founder of Speak With Impact, told MailOnline he commissioned the survey after hearing a growing number of stories of young people lacking confidence to speak in public.
Mr. Brown said: “We’ve got a real challenge there, for that age group – who were at the tail end of school, some of them probably in the early years of work or university depending on what they did.
“This is a group of people that has never really spoken in public before – and while others have said they’re worried about being back in a room speaking, these are people that have never been in the room at all.
“They’ve not been through those early public speaking experiences at school, or at university, or in your first job, where you make mistakes but you learn quite quickly.
“When you are in the room, all eyes are on you, and you can’t see that all eyes are on you when you’re on Zoom.
“If your formative years were spent doing it on Zoom or Teams, and you’re suddenly going into the room for the first time, that’s probably pretty nerve-wracking.
“It’s not learning to speak in the room again. It’s learning to speak in the room full stop.”