Five Secrets to Successful Speaking

Five Secrets to Successful Speaking

| Tina Bakehouse

This month, I have multiple speaking engagements, ranging from workshops to keynotes. During my rigorous preparation, I attempt to craft engaging, audience-centered content and deliver it with the appropriate energy. To present with ease, it takes some thought and strategy.


Five Secrets to Successful Speaking:

1. Set specific speaking goals.

Lay out a timeline with specific deadlines. 


Start at the end, noting the day of your speaking engagement and work your way back to the current day. Write in your calendar, “October 10, speech preparation outline due.” “October 12, practice my speech.” 


When you outline your goals, you strengthen the commitment.

2. Envision success on stage.

Ash Lawerence, author and mindset coach said, “Eighty percent of your success will be determined by your attitude and only twenty percent by your aptitude.”


A week prior to presenting, picture yourself in the space giving the talk. By

picturing yourself doing well, you’ll increase your confidence prior to the speech and improve your overall performance. 

3. Practice, practice, practice.

Practice as if you’re giving the speech. 


Stand up, rather than resting on the coach. 


Say the words out loud, rather than looking over your notes and saying the speech in your head. 


Practice your visual aid all the way through and have a Plan B in case the technology fails.


The more you practice, the more you’ll be prepared to present.

4. Don’t be afraid to fail.

Say “Yes” to presenting when asked. 


Try new ideas, new ways to present your material. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. 


Think of Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” Just keep speaking. Just keep speaking. Learn from doing, and as Maya Angelou said, “Know better; do better.”


Take the speaking failure in stride and reframe it as feedback to move forward.

5. Find someone to hold you accountable and provide feedback.

Successful speakers have a mentor or someone who holds them accountable, asking about your progress, giving helpful feedback to help the speaker grow. 


It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re on your own. A coach can push you, challenge you to do rather than wait, to try rather than avoid, to grow rather than stay the status quo.


Remember that all of us have a voice and something worth sharing; it’s making the choice to share.