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Be Yourself When You Speak

Be Yourself When You Speak

| Tina Bakehouse

Over a month ago, I had the privilege of presenting a keynote to the Iowa High School Speech Association coaches for their annual convention.  When the executive director asked me to speak, I remember him saying, “Make it fun. Be engaging. Just be you.”


I love that last line: Just be you.


What does it mean to be “just be you”?


For this keynote, I explored my high school speech content, judging competitions stories, and even coaching experiences to draw authentic content for my talk. 


After developing content, the real work came.


I investigated two core questions:  


Who I am?


How do I want to present?


Which lead to additional questions: 


What do I say? 


How do I look and act that is true to me?


Social psychologist Amy Cuddy said the “self” is multi-faceted and complex, ever changing and evolving.


From high school to the present day, I’ve grown and expanded my passion for public speaking.


I know I’m most me when I wear my favorite color purple.


I know I’m most me when I share stories, personal examples, and humor that connect to my topic.


I know that I’m most me when I put my full body and voice into the presentation, using large gestures and rich vocal projection.


Ask yourself: 


When am I most me?


What kind of speaker are you?


How do you dress to be your best?


What kind of words do you use to best connect to your inner self and the audience?


How do you behave with your body and voice naturally to emphasize my points?


Take yourself seriously.


Explore “the who” that you are.


Just be you.