Your speaking skills - Free personal report

18th July 2013

6 Speaker Personality Types - which is yours?

Delivering a Talk

Are you a Jester, a Sage, or a Muse when you speak in public? This article investigates 6 different speaker personality types, their strengths and weaknesses - and when you should use each type for maximum power.

When developing your public speaking skills, it's really useful to understand your strengths as it helps you to grow into greater confidence and impact. Below are 6 speaker personality types I see a lot in speakers.

Each have their power, so whichever you relate to most is useful in certain situations. Which speaker type are you most comfortable with? Which one would you like to try to stretch yourself? And in which situation?

Speaker Personality Type 1: The Sage

Hero of Information

Key Strength: Informing
Influences by: Giving audience answers
Features: Offers a logical approach to a subject. Provides an interesting and well researched argument. Easy to understand. Progresses the audience’s intellectual understanding of the topic. Often references scientific data
Weaknesses: Can struggle to offer an emotional connection to the subject matter
Typically seen in: a lecture, factual workshop/ class, or during business / team meetings
Famous example: Michael Norton's TEDx Talk "How to Buy Happiness"

 

Speaker Personality Type 2: The Jester

Hero of Laughter

Key Strength: Entertaining
Influences by: Poking fun at a serious subject
Features: Makes audience smile, laugh, or generally feel good. Telling stories that bring humour to a subject that might traditionally be seen as taboo, boring of 'done before'. Gets away with pushing the boundaries further than we might normally accept
Weaknesses: Some Jesters use humour as a hiding place, wishing for the audience to 'like' them, rather than trying to get an important or touching message across.
Typically seen in: a Best Man’s speech, after dinner speech, or Christmas party toast.
Famous example: Sir Ken Robinson's TED Talk "Do Schools Kill Creativity?"

 

Speaker Personality Type 3: The Monarch

Hero of Power

Key Strength: Asserting / assuring
Influences by: Meeting audience’s confidence needs
Features: Commanding presence on stage, whether demanding we do better, or offering congratulations. Centred, focused, powerful, in charge and is comfortable in their ability to influence. A ‘rock’. Someone who is unafraid to be held up as an example for their words.
Weaknesses: Can sometimes seem distanced from the audience.
Typically seen in: a business or group leader’s presentation, or a politician’s speech.
Famous Example: Martin Luther King Jnr's "I have a dream" speech

 

Speaker Personality Type 4: The Wizard

Hero of Transformation

Key Strength: Persuading 
Influences by: Changing audience’s perspective through a powerful experience
Features: changes cynics into believers and the disengaged into advocates. A great Wizard understands what drives the audience and speaks their language. They are not afraid to put energy, or innovative 'special effects' behind their speaking
Weaknesses: If they aren't connected to the audience a Wizard might seem shallow or manipulative
Typically seen in: sales presentations, educational workshops, or a persuasive speech.
Famous example: Benjamin Zander's "On Music & Passion" TED Talk

 

The Muse

The Hero of Creativity

Key Strength: Rousing innovation
Influences by: Using their energy to offer a new perspective on life
Features: Acts as an example to the audience, to encourage them to discover, play or create. Asks big questions. Leaves the audience with a feeling of possibility and potential, rather than specific ideas
Weaknesses: Less 'tangible' than some speaking situations might require (e.g. corporate presentations)
Typically seen in: a motivational speech, telling a personal story, or a facilitated workshop.
Famous example:  Jill Bolte-Taylor's TED Talk "My Stroke of Insight"

 

The Peacemaker

The Hero of Care

Key strength: Connecting audience members to each other and to a subject matter.
Influences by: Building empathy between & within audience
Features: A Peacemaker speaker is a understated, yet powerful pacifying force. Makes everyone feel included. Audience leave feeling ‘weren’t we great’ because spotlight turned on the audience. Connects the dots and promotes collaboration.
Weaknesses: Can sometimes connect & empathize too much, at the expense of powerfully driving change
Typically seen in: facilitated group discussions, giving a leaving speech about a colleague or acting as Master of Ceremonies
Famous example: Mohandas K. Gandhi, "Quit India" Speeches

 

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