What’s your typical style as a speaker? Do you automatically tell a joke or jump straight into the details? Are you excited or profound? Are you the most comfortable with an interactive audience?
If you choose a contrasting part of your personality when you need to influence or inspire, you can bring a whole new layer of authenticity to your public speaking. This is the part of yourself that you normally keep tucked out of sight. Because it is less practised than what you normally show to the world, it can have a profound impact on your audience.
Here are some combinations that work really well together:
Information vs. Reflection
If you switch your style, although it may feel uncomfortable, to add white space and breathing room for you and your audience to think a bit, it may be just what the audience needs to let your point sink in completely.
Humour vs. Sincerity
Maybe you’re the type of speaker that keeps them rolling in the aisles. Humour is brilliant and keeps the audience active and engaged, but… if you switch your style to a sincere or even serious moment, it will bring them powerfully down to earth in a way they’ll never forget.
Victoria Wellman, founder of the ghostwriting company Oratory Laboratory, emphasizes two main things:
“We always say a speech should be about 70 percent humor, 30 percent sincerity. When you are sincere, when you truly break down how you feel about the person, people know it’s real.”
Energetic vs. Calm
You have to GRAB the attention of the audience, this is true. However if you speak at the same energy level for your whole talk, you’re missing an opportunity to really impact the audience. Create balance by putting some calm moments in your speech. The contrast highlights the power of your energy, whilst allowing it all to sink in. Conversely, if you’re a calm presenter, push yourself to add a burst or two of energy to emphasise moments of passion.
A good rule of thumb:
Talk energetically if you are trying to get attention and people to focus on you.
Talk slowly and rhythmically if you want to build a deeper connection/persuade.
People Pleaser vs. Hard Nose
If you naturally lean towards an interactive, discussion type of speaking, regularly seek affirmation from your audience, or always look to create consensus in the room, you may very well be a People Pleaser speaker. If you get caught up in the need to be liked then you’ll end up being a mild, but certainly not inspirational speaker. Balance your inner People Pleaser with a bit of Hard Nose, or telling it like it is.
- People Pleaser: ‘Sorry to say, it’s really not that awful good, I don’t think’
- Hard Nose: ‘This is very bad’
This switch your style moment can call your audience to action. They’ll like and respect you so much more by being ‘real’.
Switching your style takes courage. You might think that doing so will break the connection you’ve built with your audience. But the connection you have with the audience only matters if you use it to create an impact! If you avoid breaking some of the rapport you’ve built, you’re not using your full power as a speaker.
Many new public speakers pull away from using their full power because they’re unaware of how they can move an audience.
- I can’t make people laugh or cry.
- I’m no catalyst for change.
- I can’t be a speaker that changes lives.
I ask you… Why not? I’m here to tell you that you can. The best part is you don’t have to DO anything. Just BE. Be authentic.
Want more inspiration than you can shake a stick at?
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