The 5 “S’s” to Set the Stage to Speak

The 5 “S’s” to Set the Stage to Speak

| Tina Bakehouse

This past month, I’ve had the opportunity to speak in a variety of venues. From a keynote for speech coach’s convention to sharing the rural story of a small town to emceeing a statewide leadership storytelling event: all required preparation and practice.


The more you speak, the more confident you become.


I’ve learned, to become better at speaking, you must have a certain mindset.


5 “S’s” to Set the Stage to Speak:

1. Say “Yes” to speak.


Are you asked to speak and shy away from the opportunity? 


It’s easy to do. 


Years ago, my husband started planting cover crops on our farm and wanted other farmers to use this farming practice.


His passion for soil health grew. 


He wondered why others were not doing the same. 


I asked, “Are you talking about it?”


Soon, he acknowledged the importance of sharing his story and cultivating the need to support soil health.


Start small. 


Lead a committee or team meeting. 

Present a new idea to your supervisor. 

Share a story to a small group of friends or colleagues.


Speaking gets easier with practice.

2. Step Forward to Prepare Content.


Preparation is in your control. 


Be audience-centered.  

Have your audience drive the content of your message. 


Make the time to research the organization. 

Find and balance the number of facts and stories to support your message.


Public speaking author Stephen Lucas said, “Being credible as a speaker means showing your audience you have their best interests at heart, that you are knowledgeable about the subject you are speaking about, and that the evidence you use to support your argument is trustworthy.”


By tuning into the attitudes, beliefs, and values of your listeners, you’ll capture and keep your audience’s attention. 

3. Savor Rehearsal.


One big mistake speakers fail to do is rehearse their speech out loud. 

Practice. Practice, and practice more.


Speak the speech out loud, not just in your head.  Like other speaking coaches and experts, Author Sarah Weber of Quantified said, “for every minute of speaking is about 1-hour of preparation.”


Prepare your notes and present your talk using visual aids.

By practicing with a colleague and receiving feedback, you’ll get better and be better prepared for the actual talk.

4. Show up as You. 


Support your content with nonverbals that align with what you’re saying.


Dress the part.


A storytelling show is different than a keynote. A keynote is different than a workshop. And a workshop is different than a team meeting.


What you wear and how you choose to show up establishes credibility.

5. Stand Your Ground.


Note the size of the speaking space, use of microphone, and overall background noise.


Use a simple and effective style that is natural to you. 


Show enthusiasm for your topic.


Be direct and clear with your message.


Think confident.


Believe in yourself, show up with strong posture, and own the label “speaker.”


Because you are.