Whether you are speaking to an individual, a small group or a large group, you share something about yourself and who you are. The biggest mistake that you can do as a speaker is to try to be someone you are not when you are expressing yourself.
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There are at least 6 different types of speakers namely the Coach, the Inventor, the Counselor, the Storyteller, the Teacher and the Producer. It is important that you, as a speaker, find out or observe which type of speaker you are, so that you can play to your strengths and be conscious of your weaknesses when you are presenting or discussing.
There is where training for public speaking comes in. When you are training to speak in big or small groups, you will be able to identify what type of speaker you are. You will also be able to identify what approaches or styles you can use in order to effectively deliver your message to your audience.
Which of these types of speakers are you:
If you are a Coach, you are someone who is passionate about getting the audience to learn a concept or skill. You are best at interacting with your audience and you are able to keep your audience engaged because of your passion and enthusiasm. One thing you should be careful of is being too enthusiastic about the discussion. In your enthusiasm, you may tend to speak to fast or move from one point to another and along the way, you will lose your audience. To avoid this, at the start of your presentation, create a roadmap of the discussion with your audience. Refer to the roadmap often, so you will know if you are still on track and if you are moving forward with the discussion on schedule.
If you are an Inventor, you are very good at making presentations and presenting your points in a very structured and logical manner. In most cases, you know what you want to say and your knowledge of the topic is admirable. Relating the topic with your audience, though, is your weakness. Since you are know that your presentations are superb, you tend to rely on them to explain what you want to say. You let the presentation speak for itself instead of merely being a tool to help you share your thoughts and expertise. One of the things that you can do is to engage your audience as much as possible. Even just asking someone else read the presentation for the group is a good way to find out what the audience understands from the presentation. You can also use their questions as springboard for your to elaborate on the presentation you worked very hard on.
If you are a Counselor, you prioritize words, structure and pictures. You are very good with words and you are easy to understand because of this, given the right audience. On the other hand, since you tend to focus on words, like the inventor, you are a stricter for using the exact terms. If your audience is not from the same industry or field, they may find your discussion too clinical and they may not be able to relate to it. If you are a counselor, try to insert some anecdotes or examples in your discussion, so you get to break down concepts for your audience. Do your research and come up with examples from their industry.
Next, is a Storyteller. As the name implies, you are fond of telling stories in your discussions. You can always think of the best story to prove your point. Be careful, though, with sharing too many stories. There are some businessmen, when asked to speak about business ventures, become too focused on stories and experiences they’ve had on their road to success that they lose the structure of the discussion and even sometimes, tend to forget what the main point of the discussion really is. If you are a Storyteller, make sure that you have a clear outline including how much time to allot for a specific topic or concept.
A Teacher, like the Storyteller, is very knowledgeable of the topic. Unlike the Storyteller, though, the Teacher tends to focus on the presentation and not the audience. You can easily lose your audience if you are forgetting to engage them or even just giving a check-for-understanding from time to time.
Finally, you may also be a Producer. Before your presentation, you will already have a picture of how your presentation will go from beginning to end. Your presentations are perfect and you even have your blocking and timing down to the T. However, in the real world, not everything can go as you planned and if they don’t, you also have a tendency to panic and freeze. To avoid this, prepare yourself as much as you can for what can go wrong or not according to your plan. Sometimes, speakers prepare questions for the audience and even prepare the possible answers the audience may give. You can also prepare for possible questions your audience will ask. Remember, too, that you can always “park” questions. If you will be asked a question that you really do not have information on at that time, you can say “let me get back to you on that.” Make sure, though, that you will do so.
As you become a more seasoned speaker, you will be able to wear different hats as a speaker. At first, though, you will need to master your specific type. Do not try to be the speaker that you are not. For example, if you know that you are not very good at making presentations, do not force yourself to be able to make a really good one because you will end up taking too much time preparing the presentation and you will not be able to prepare for anything else, such as timing or anticipating possible questions. Find out who you are as a speaker, master it and just be yourself as your share yourself and what you know with your audience.