Today’s post kicks off a month-long discussion of how your personality type influences your public speaking style.
Are You an Extravert?
The one and only question to ask here is: “Do I get energized by being out in the world?” Extraverts will say Yes!
You can be a shy extravert. You can be a self-conscious extravert. You can even be a socially inept extravert (not that any of you are!). But if being out in the world of people, places, and things gives you energy, you’re an extravert.
How Extraverts Talk
Loud. Fast. And often.
This isn’t (as many introverts think) because extraverts like to hog the stage. It’s because extraverts think better out loud — to the point where you often don’t know what you’re thinking until you hear it spoken.
To build your best communication style, take advantage of that fact by talking out your ideas in advance of a speech or an important conversation. Use a voice recorder, or ask a friend to take notes while you talk things through. Listen to what you’ve said, then make refinements and do it again.
By planning what you’re going to say in advance, you can strengthen your arguments and create a better public speaking experience. As an extravert communicator, just talking to people is one of your favorite things — and ironically, you’ll be able to just talk more easily and effectively if you’ve thought in advance about what you’re going to say.
Extravert Communication: Less is More
The hardest thing for extravert communicators to get is that fewer words can be more powerful than lots of words.
Don’t believe me? Check out the Gettysberg Address, arguably the most powerful speech ever written in English: 277 words. ‘Nuff said?
You can hone your communications to a sharper point by asking yourself, “Will this particular comment or topic make a difference to my audience?” If the answer is no, consider leaving that comment or topic out.
Extravent Presenters: Let the Dialogue Begin
Another struggle for the extravert presenter is that you don’t just want to talk; you want a dialogue, with people talking back to you.
Fortunately, you’ve got it. Even if you’re speaking to 1000 people, or in a very formal situation, you can be sure that they’re all dialoguing with you in their heads.
You say, “We’ve had a great year,” and they think, “Yeah, we sure did!” (or maybe “That’s BS; what do you want from me?”). You say, “My non-profit changes lives” and they think “Changing lives is a good thing” (or maybe “Yeah, sure, that’s what they all say”).
Your audience is always responding internally. Watch people’s faces, and you’ll see what they’re thinking. Then you can respond with a comment like, “Some of you are looking skeptical, so let me explain why I just said that.” Being in dialogue with your audience makes any presentation more satisfying for you and them.
Best Public Speaking Styles: Putting It All Together
The best public speaking styles are built on strength; and your love of being “out in the world” with other people is definitely a public speaking asset.
To make the most of your communications style, use a sounding board to get your thoughts together… imagine yourself in dialogue with the audience… leave out a few words, or an occasional idea… and let your passion and personality shine through!
It’s your world — go out and present to it!
(Next: How Introverts Communicate)