What is Your Communication Archetype - The Pickering Group

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What is your public speaking type? Evader to Inspirer - Part I


How many personality quizzes did you do over lockdown? Whether you prefer to tell people you’re a Virgo Dragon or an ENTJ, it can be fascinating, even enlightening, to find a fitting category. Did you know your public speaking style falls into one of ten categories too?  We’ve seen thousands of speakers over the years,  and over the next three blogs we’re going to look at the 10 archetypes of organisational speakers that we’ve identified.

The ideas in these next few emails come from our recently published white paper: From Evasion to Inspiration -  a new strategy to get your people out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Download it here.

Take a close look at that model at the top of this post.

New Model, Who Dis?
The bottom half of the model sells underpants. No wait, different model. In the shadows communicators are not well connected with their audience. Their ideas are underdeveloped, or their delivery isn’t working.  Sometimes both.  Anxiety or inexperience pulls them toward either an under-energised or over-energised state. This week we’re going to look at under-energised speaker archetypes.
Remember: these are just starting points for growth! If you identify your own speaking style as somewhere in the shadows, the goal is to move up into the spotlight.

The Evader
State: Fearful     Impression: Invisible    Audience Impact: Powerless

The Evader does their utmost to avoid speaking and presenting. Their self-sabotaging cycle starts with a strong internal narrative – something like “I hate public speaking”. They consistently evade opportunities to present, starving themselves of chances to improve. When they have to speak, they procrastinate and catastrophise instead of prepare. Consequently, their presentations fail, reinforcing the belief they’re a bad speaker, and so the cycle repeats. It’s like the circle of life, except it’s a never-ending vortex of despair. At least, until they make a choice to change.

The Reader
State: Anxious     Impression: Uncertain     Audience Impact: Boring

The Reader lacks connection with their audience as most of their energy is directed either at reading from their slides or script. They can be exhausting to listen to, and audiences switch off quickly. Their vocal variety can sound formal and stiff.  Readers often begin speaking encounters with an apology: “Sorry, I haven’t had chance to prepare properly”, “sorry, I know these slides a really complicated but…”. An apologetic energy may also manifest in their body language. 

The Waffler
State: Oblivious     Impression: Indulgent     Audience Impact: Frustrating

Not someone who makes waffles. They’re always welcome. No, the Waffler rambles and never gets to the point. Despite audience restlessness they remain oblivious to the need to wrap things up. They tend to ‘speak in circles’ – ideas are opaque and lack clear purpose. Audiences find Wafflers disrespectful of their time and agonising to listen to. Wafflers use meaningless jargon, repetitive word use or hedging statements: “I guess what I wanted to talk about…” or “It’s sort of like…”. They have a slow and ponderous speaking style or a tendency to randomly pontificate on irrelevant points. We could go on, but like the audience, you’ve heard enough.

See The Light
It’s common for in the shadows speakers to have a fixed mindset around their ability to grow, believing that speaking skills are innate, concrete and difficult to improve.  But speaking skills aren’t a horoscope: you’re not born into your speaking destiny. At The Pickering Group, we know that a growth mindset can really help move you out of the shadows and into your speaking sweet spot. There’s room for improvement at every level, and we have  the tools to identify your areas to work on and quantify your success.

In the next blog post we'll look at The Trickster, The Show-off and The Fidgeter.

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