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Part III: Coming out of the dark.
Are you ready to see the light? Over the last two weeks we’ve been breaking down our Spotlight model, our tool for identifying your current public speaking skills status.
The model is part of our recent White Paper, From Evasion to Inspiration - a new strategy to get your people out of the shadows and into the spotlight. Download it here.
This week we’re moving into the spotlight, looking at the three archetypes of effective, engaging presenter. But wait: there’s less! There’s something between shadows and spotlight, and it’s where most presenters lurk.
It’s Always Darkest before the Dawn
No, it isn’t. Why do people say this? It’s murky-grey before dawn, lit only by the headlights of our commutes. Welcome to the Twilight Zone: The Informer.
State: Flat Impression: Forgettable Audience Impact: Neutral
The Informers are the most common of the archetypes. They enter speaking encounters with a reasonable sense of business purpose and adequate subject knowledge. They can report facts, relay figures and recount information, but their delivery lacks oomph and they’re hesitant to drive action. They struggle to own a strong point of view or generate emotion in their audience. Informers are likely to have progressed from another archetypical style lower on the model purely by speaking regularly.
Informers may be bored, disengaged, burnt out, under-stimulated or poorly managed. They may have repeatedly tried to share ideas and affect change, only to be ignored. At worst, Informers believe their ideas no longer matter.
Twilight happens at both dawn and dusk. While it’s mostly a transition point, it can be the beginning or the end of a communication skills journey. Your choice.
In the Spotlight
The top of the model represents communicators who are connected to the needs of their audience. They have presence and authenticity. These archetypes are not only more persuasive, they’re more likely to be promoted, have engaged teams and to be paid more - and we all like an engaged team. When these archetypes are coupled with a reputation for competence and humility, their persuasiveness is amplified. They also tend to have a growth mindset, seeking out opportunities to further improve their communication skills.
State: Confident/relaxed Impression: Competent Audience Impact: Persuasive
The Analyser is adept at drawing clear insight from data, then clearly communicating that insight to drive better organisational decision-making. They’re great at making the complicated simple to understand. They have a centred, grounded physicality, precision with language, relaxed vocal presence, genuine tone and open outlook.
State: Compelling Impression: Authentic Audience Impact: Motivating
The Storyteller is comfortable with wielding the most powerful tool in the persuasion toolkit – the story. Where the Analyst is adept at connecting with our minds, The Storyteller also connects with our hearts. Their language is creative but appropriate and they make regular use of metaphors, analogies and other types of figurative language. Physically animated but authentic, their vocal presence is dynamic and engaging.
State: Humble Impression: Courageous Audience Impact: Powerful
The Inspirer is a powerful speaker but never forceful – that’s their magic. They’re proficient in all the tools of persuasion, but deeply guided by their values. They project compassion, curiosity and kindness, but also strength, determination and focus. They approach every speaking encounter with courage and prepare diligently. What sets them apart is their consistent and glorious ability say the right words, at the right time, in the right way.
The Creeping Shadows
While these in their spotlight archetypes are consistent in their speaking success, they’re not always perfect. They have yin to their yang – a shadow to their light. This can manifest when they haven’t prepared as well as they should have, when they’ve made incorrect assumptions about their audience, or when hubris has made them complacent. In these situations they can retreat to the shadows – the Analyser can fall back to The Waffler – the Storyteller back to The Show-off – even The Inspirer can be seen as The Trickster if their audience has lost trust in them.
Get Lit, Fam
There’s room for improvement at every level, and The Pickering Group can help you step into your light. Check out our personal and group training options, which we can do in-person or virtually. Follow us on social media, and check out our extensive library of tips and tricks.
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