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We’ve been breaking down our Evasion to Inspiration model for you. If you’re just joining us, our model identifies ten archetypes of organisational communicator (presenter or public speaker), grading them on a continuum from in the shadows (not reaching their potential in terms of communicating clear and effective messages) to in the spotlight (achieving persuasive, authentic and impactful communication).
The model is just one facet of 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.
Last week we looked at the under-energised presenter hiding in the shadows. Today we’ll look at what it means to be in the shadows but over-energised. WOO YEAH LET’S GO TEAM! Sorry.
Welcome to Part Two: Revenge of the Shadows.
Over-energised and in the shadows
We tend to associate extroversion with being a good speaker. Extroverts bring their own energy to the room, and their apparent confidence can be convincing. They’re literally louder and more comfortable drawing attention to themselves than more introverted people. But when it’s all bluster and no content, there’s a problem. That raucous energy turns out to be self-serving, covering a multitude of sins, and all that artificial enthusiasm may actually put an audience off.
Let’s have a look at the three types of high-energy presenters who still occupy the shadow realm in terms of their communication.
State: Bluff Impression: Arrogant Audience Impact: Divisive
At their worst, The Trickster is adept at manipulating, deceiving or intimidating their audiences. They can be incredibly charming, but to many their energy feels too slick or too deliberate. People often mistake their confidence for competence – that’s why it’s common to find Tricksters at all levels of an organisation. Once suspicion of their methods and accuracy starts to seep in, the Trickster’s power is lost and their credibility is destroyed.
State: Performative Impression: Inauthentic Audience Impact: Distracting
Show-offs are the performers of the organisation – engaging, but prone to lack of substance and attention to detail. They relish an audience but rely on over-confidence and likeability to ‘wing it’ rather than prepare diligently. They obfuscate their topic with unnecessary jargon or complexity in an attempt to hide a lack of preparation or clarity. They dread the Q&A, and judge their presentations on whether they ‘got away with it’ rather than results.
State: Self-conscious Impression: Nervous Audience Impact: Irritating
The Fidgeter is a bundle of distracting vocal and physical habituations such as pacing, rocking or swaying, hand wringing, playing with objects and avoiding eye-contact. Their speech may have a lot of filled pauses (ums & ahs) and a tendency to up-glide at the end of sentences? Like everything is a question? But it’s not a question? These habituations distract their audience from their message and accentuate an impression of nervousness and self-consciousness.
The Struggle Is Real
It can be hard for an over-energised presenter to accept that they need to develop their skills, because they’re not used to being called out. They may have been skating by on charm or bluster for years, not realising that their colleagues and clients could see through the facade. They may be averse to doing the work that comes with good preparation, or they may just be avoiding it because they don’t know what good process looks like. They may even have a fundamental fear that they’re out of their depth, and all the flailing is an attempt to keep head above water. Either way, they’re sabotaging their most convincing, persuasive selves. And it’s fixable.
Woo, yeah. Let’s go, team.
That’s better. At The Pickering Group, we know that preparation, caring about your message, and authenticity are fundamental to effective communication. There’s room for improvement at every level, and we have the tools to identify your areas to work on and quantify your success. Check out our personal and group training options, which we can do in-person or virtually. Follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook, and check out our extensive library of tips and tricks. And look out for next week’s coverage of the gorgeously shiny top half of the model, to see how you could move further into your spotlight.
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