Still not sure you’re ready for speaker coaching? These FAQs describe how we’ll approach building your presentation skills, style, and confidence.
1. What do you think makes a public speaker great?
For me, a great speaker is someone who’s thought carefully about their topic, cares about bringing value to their audience, and has taken the risk of showing up themselves. Clever phrasing and a smooth delivery are fun, of course; but what I really want to hear is you, bringing your ideas to life in a way that provides value for me—and I believe that, bottom line, that’s what most audiences want, too.
2. Should public speakers move their arms and walk around the stage?
The question to ask about movement and gestures is: Am I using them for emphasis, or randomly, in a way that distracts the audience? When you’re comfortable onstage, you’ll move and gesture in a way that underscores what you’re saying instead of coming from nervous energy. It’s not about too much or too little, it’s about being your most effective.
3. How do I stop saying “uhm,” “like,” “you know,” etc.?
These “null syllables” are both habits and ways to fill conversational space (empty space can feel awkward, particularly to extraverts), so hit them with a two-pronged approach: To break the habit, have your friends tap you on the arm whenever you say the phrase you’re trying to stop saying. And overcome the feeling of awkwardness when you don’t know what you’re going to say by planning your remarks, in business situations, and making yourself wait for your thought to coalesce with friends.
4. I need to make a perfect presentation.
Instead of aiming for perfection, which is (by definition) unattainable, how about aiming for effectiveness? That’s a goal that any speaker can reach, with help—no matter your level of presentation skills or experience.
5. You say the people should speak like themselves, but nobody respects the way I speak.
The idea is actually to speak like the best of yourself. Speaker coaching will help you identify what that means for you, and deploy your best self consistently.
6. You use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)* in your public speaking coaching. Why?
The MBTI benefits both you and me. For you as a speaker, it’s good to understand that, while some of your public speaking challenges are personal, many are shared with people who have your same Myers-Briggs type. And for me as a coach, knowing your MBTI helps streamline the process by giving me a preliminary sense of how you learn best, and how I can most effectively communicate with you.
7. What do you mean by Public Speaking Personalities or styles?
Inspired by the MBTI, I’ve named the four public speaking styles** Reliables, Helpers, Improvers, and Experiencers. Each style includes four MBTI types, and though they vary more widely, people who share the same Public Speaking Personality tend to approach developing presentation skills and making speeches in similar ways.
8. Is there an ideal public speaking style?
No. Each of the four styles has strengths and challenges. The key to success for every public speaker is to use your own presentation skills, public speaking personality, strengths, gifts, perceptions, and experience to the fullest, and to enjoy doing it.
9. How can you build on my “public speaking strengths” when I don’t have any?
OK, calm down! Of course you have public speaking strengths!
You’ve been talking to people since roughly six days after you were born, and it’s hard for me to believe that none of those conversations went well. Also, while this may seem counter-intuitive, all of your personal skills, experiences, and achievements are potential public speaking strengths. You don’t yet know how to translate your success at (let’s say) chess, or weightlifting, or accounting, or parenting into success as a communicator. But that’s OK, I’ll show you how.
Still have questions about Presentation Skills and Public Speaking Styles? Want to book a Speaker Coaching Session?
Contact me and we’ll set up a time to talk.
Want Some Self-Directed Help?
You’ll find a wealth of information in my public speaking workbook, Speak Like Yourself… No, Really! and my book on job interview skills, Interview Like Yourself… No, Really! They’re like having your own speaker coach between two covers.
* The MBTI is a personality test that was developed almost 50 years ago and is taken by millions of people around the world every year. The test takes about 20 minutes, and must be scored and discussed with you by a certified practitioner like me.
**In addition to the MBTI, these public speaking styles are based on the work of psychologist David Keirsey, who developed the temperament sorter.