Your child may be amongst the smartest or best looking in the room, but can they successfully communicate their ideas and thoughts successfully with confidence and purpose?

With teenagers relying on texting and social media as their primary methods to communicate, kids are struggling to be confident and effective face-to-face communicators.

Parents typically reinforce self-esteem through grades, overall academic performance or extra-curricular achievements. However, those measuring sticks only temporarily and superficially allow students to stand out from their peers.

It’s one thing to get good grades or be a successful athlete, but can your child initiate and maintain conversations with teachers, strangers or employers? Do they know how to advocate for their wants and needs? Are they developing the ability to be dynamic presenters and public speakers?

Last year I was on a panel at Babson presenting to more than 60 business/entrepreneurship students who could have told me everything I needed to know about finance, business plans or marketing. I asked them who felt confident as an effective speaker, and the majority of the room went quiet.

Funny thing is that kids who aspire to be entertainers, actors or broadcasters in many cases are mocked because of how few achieve real success. Actually those kids are ahead of the curve, because most of them learn the importance of presenting themselves effectively.

Interpersonal skills also play a huge role with high school extra-curricular activities. Kids are more inclined to participate, succeed and remain with various clubs or activities if they have the confidence and skills to connect with their peers.

Parents spend time and resources so kids can get into the college of their dreams, but typically fail to invest the time and money to make sure they are set up for success once they start college.

Simple things like smiling regularly, responding to and interpreting body language and speaking clearly with emotion are all fundamental skills that kids need if they want to be heard and recognized.

Parents don’t typically identify communication skills as a primary barometer for success. However, how gratified and proud would you be if someone walked up to you beaming about how impressed they were with your child’s ability to talk, engage and listen in the same way you would brag about your kids’ grades or athletic accomplishments?

Think about the investment you make in high school and how it pales in comparison to the financial investment you make in college. It is so important for students to learn how to excel at conversation and interview skills, network with people, and differentiate themselves from their peers.

Getting into the college of their dreams is the start, but having your child head to college with the confidence and skills to maximize your investment and pave the way for his or her personal and professional success is what Mindset Future is all about.