Showing your unique style is a key way to build confidence. Let’s examine the role that style and personality have in your public speaking.
A journey to find my style of public speaking
For years, I felt I needed to speak a certain way while meeting with customers or doing presentations.
I do not mean I talked like a cowboy from Wyoming or car dealer from New York.
Instead, I mean that I spent far too much time making sure I sounded “professional.”
After all, I was working at a Fortune 100 company. Most frequently, it was my job to speak with corporate executives of other leading organizations.
For this reason, I felt the executives with whom I was meeting would be all business.
In my mind, I needed to present in a way I had determined a professional would present.
I focused on facts and figures. My presentations had the goal of only sharing information.
My mistake was to think the goal of a presentation was to just share information.
Because of this, my presentation style was often dry. Just the facts, ma’me.
The search for style
Over time, I came to see that I wasn’t connecting to my audience in the way I wanted.
Since I was in sales at the time, being an effective speaker was not just important to my company, it was important to my wallet!
In an effort to improve the results of my presentations, I started searching for things I could try.
I dug deep on understanding the content itself. Thus, I knew I could answer most questions I was asked.
I spent extra time practicing. I made sure I was prepared.
Thought these improvements helped, I still felt something wasn’t quite right during my presentations.
In order to figure this challenge out once and for all, after each meeting or presentation, I started asking coworkers for feedback.
Consistently, I was told that I was knowledgeable and well-prepared.
However, over and over again, coworkers shared that they felt I often looked uncomfortable. As though I felt out of place.
One coworker even told me they kept hoping I would say something funny like I do when we’re in the office.
That was the feedback I needed. Finally, I knew the answer.
I realized that speaking only in the way I thought a professional would speak was not being genuine.
I needed to show my style.
In other words, I needed to be more authentic to my own personality.
What’s your style?
I love having fun.
Regardless of whether I’m home with my family, volunteering at a community event, or at work in a meeting. In most situations, I like to enjoy myself.
Don’t get me wrong. I take great pride in working hard. Of course, I know the importance of being professional.
However, my former coworkers would likely agree, I can be funny from time to time.
When I say from time to time… I actually mean frequently.
After all, according to Albert Einstein–
Creativity is intelligence having fun.
Using Einstein’s reasoning, I love doing my part to encourage creativity.
So why was I not bringing some of that to my presentations?
Given that I like enjoying myself while I work, why wouldn’t I be trying to enjoy myself while presenting?
With this in mind, I decided that enjoying myself more would help me fully engage the people to whom I was speaking.
What a difference!
Your style shows the real you
All of us meet with many people throughout our day. We all sit through countless presentations.
Without even knowing it, you relate to a speaker better when you see they are showing parts of their personality while speaking?
Put another way, you are far more likely to listen if we feel the speaker is being genuine and enjoying themselves.
As an alternative, use a few moments of humor to break up the dry facts and information.
Can’t think of something humorous to say that you think would be fitting? Ask a coworker.
Feeling uncomfortable about it? Practice it.
What is humor just isn’t your thing? Incorporate what is.
What is fun to you? What do you like doing when not working?
Love time with your family? Share a recent fun memory. Just get back vacation? Share that.
Regardless of how your style is best represented, find quick moments to build it into your presentation. Emphasis on the quick.
As a speaker, I’m not suggesting you get up and deliver a set of one-liners for ten minutes. Your family vacation story shouldn’t be five minutes long and have nothing to which your audience can relate.
Rather, keep those moments brief. Find two or three specific opportunities where they make sense and help break things up.
For example, just before you’re about to start presenting is a great time to show your style.
It’s as easy as saying, “Before I begin, I wanted to tell a quick story of something that happened to me yesterday. I wanted to see if this has happened to anyone else.”
Additionally, moving from one topic area into another is a perfect time to break things up. That is time to show your style.
Have fun with your style
In most business settings, our natural tendency is to think we should only focus on the content.
On the contrary, according to Forbes, People Do Business With People They Like.
People will like you more if they feel they had a better sense of who you are.
Regardless of what your topic may be, make sure you are showcasing your style while speaking.
Public speaking is based on engaging the people you’re listening to so they listen and learn more.
With that in mind, don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles to you find what suits you best.
Perhaps your style is best showcased with humor or something else. It does not matter.
What matters the most is you are being genuine and enjoying yourself. When you are enjoying yourself while speaking, your audience will be enjoying themselves more as well.
Whether you are a confident speaker or still learning to be, it is important that you find your style. Then let it shine through.
It is for these reasons that Showing Your Style is one of my core principles to Public Speaking Success.
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Also, please leave a comment below and share with others any tips you’ve used to engage your audience more using your own unique style.