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The business world is full of underwhelming public speakers – but do are you your audience’s sweetest dream or worst nightmare? Check out the six most common types of Nightmare Speaker and ask yourself honestly – do you fall into any of these traps?
Typical profile: An expert in his field with little understanding of how to translate that expertise ‘onto stage’. Often knowledgeable in an area that seems highly technical to his audience, Lawrence has a tendency to take the high-ground over an audience and is reluctant to ‘dumb things down’ or ‘spice things up’ for the sake of the audience. He will typically be found speaking for far longer than his allotted time and has one or more quirk in his speaking that displays his lack of awareness for his speaking abilities. Impact:
Diagnosis: Lawrence is a speaker lacking in Awareness.
Remedy: His remedy is a foundational public speaking course to show him what affect his performance is having. Without developing his awareness, he will remain ignorant of his negative impact upon the audience. Lawrence should receive detailed feedback about his performance, including being videoed, plus he should be offered some basic structures for building his awareness and adjusting his performance as he speaks.
Inappropriate Ian Typical profile: Often found delivering persuasive speeches or pitches or trying (and failing) to motivate a team, Inappropriate Ian fails to grasp the audience’s perception of him, his topic, or how he is presenting it. His style feels inappropriate, or even grating to the audience and he might be perceived by the audience as arrogant, insensitive, or pushy. A confident speaker, it’s Ian’s delivery and relationship with the audience that are poorly received.
Diagnosis: Owen is speaker lacking in Empathy.
Remedy: As an experienced speaker, Ian requires a different style of training. To develop empathy, he should look at Audience Focused Preparation techniques and develop more advanced and sensitive ways of interacting with an audience. His training should focus on methods for judging the mood of an audience and facilitation skills.
Same Old Susan Typical profile: Bland and indistinctive, Same Old Susan’s public speaking relies on clichéd modes of delivery that have been seen too many times. Susan typically reaches for a set of generic powerpoint slides when asked to speak, because she is averse to risk and doesn’t know how else to influence. Tolerating, rather than enjoying public speaking, Same Old Susan would rather ‘get through it’ than try something different. At any rate, Susan is a busy individual and would rather not think about it.
Diagnosis: Same Old Susan is lacking in Freshness Remedy: Susan needs confidence and inspiration if she is to make a mark through her speaking. Her training should focus around the visual, verbal and interactive techniques she can use to create memorable moments in her speaking. Through practice and coaching, she can stretch her range and devise a number of tools to help her shine in any speaking scenario.
Jumbled Jack Typical profile: Whilst Jumbled Jack has the confidence and charisma of an excellent speaker, his thoughts and arguments are constructed in a confusing way for the audience. Lacking in adequate preparation, practice or structure, Jack’s public speaking appears to jump around from one topic to the next, with no apparent purpose. Often displaying huge amounts of enthusiasm, Jumbled Jack may win his audience’s hearts, but they rarely remember his message.
Diagnosis: Jumbled Jack is lacking in Balance
Remedy: With a little training and feedback, Jumbled Jack could turn into a powerful speaker. His learning should focus around the structuring, or balance, of information. Jumbled Jack would benefit from learning how to plot the dramatic flow of a speech or talk, how to craft a plot and how to use memory techniques to ‘chunk’ and learn information.
Wendy Wet Blanket Typical profile: A professional in a position of influence – such as management - Wendy struggles to make demands of her audience. This is known as a failure to ‘claim the audience’. Wendy Wet Blanket delivers speaking which is pleasant to listen to and may even be a skilled public speaker, but she leaves her audience feeling ‘that was nice’, rather than leaving with an imperative to act.
Diagnosis: Wendy Wet Blanket is lacking in Fearlessness
Remedy: Wendy needs to step outside her comfort zone in order to start making a true impact. Through practice in supported environments she can uncover her limitations and step through them. This might involve developing a more clear and assertive message of change and forming a more definite stage persona.
Typical profile: A seasoned speaker, Cringeworthy Chris has learned all the tricks in the public speaking book, yet there’s something funny-feeling about him. By using too many tricks & techniques he alienates his audience and either leaves the audience feeling cold, or feeling like they’ve been manipulated.
Diagnosis: Cringeworthy Chris is lacking in Authenticity
Remedy: Chris probably has a talent for speaking, but to be truly powerful he needs to find his own voice rather than someone else’s. Chris will develop best by learning how to express the ‘real me’ on stage. It might involve being really open & honest with the audience, but he will benefit in the long run from the greater trust he creates.
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