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Would you recognise a Waffler or Trickster presenter? Do you know how to spot if you’re a Reader – and more importantly, do you know how to become The Inspirer?
I’ve observed thousands of presenters over the decades, and certain behaviours will either enhance or reduce your impact. The result is the Archetypes of Organisational Speakers – familiar characters that we might see presenting (or see in ourselves).
The behaviours that can reduce or enhance your impact tend to crop up because we’re trying to seem more confident, or less arrogant, or appear relaxed (and subsequently end up seeming more nervous!). Fortunately, it’s possible to master those behaviours, change your impact for the better, and move into the spotlight and towards inspiring presenting.
So to start, let’s take a look at the archetypes in brief before we move you towards inspiring presentations!
Starting in the shadows
We’ve all been here, caught by either insufficient subject knowledge, poor preparation or self-limiting beliefs (or a dreaded combination of all three). So how are you coming across?
Under-energised and powerless, the Evader thinks presenting is terrifying and will do what they can to avoid it. And your audience can usually tell!
Over-energised and probably rambling, the Trickster often comes from a place of uncertainty that leads them to bluff their way through things.
Nervous and boring, the Reader retreats into their slides and talks to the stage, not the audience.
Prone to saying things like “I’ll just wing it,” the Show-off is about as performative as it gets – but behind their entertainment is often a lack of attention to detail.
Poor preparation tends to work the Waffler in circles. Some are self-conscious, frustrating themselves – but others are indulgent, going on and on and frustrating their audience too!
Idiosyncratic Fidgeters tend to manifest distracting physical and vocal habits – often because they’re nervous because they have so many eyes on them!
Entering the ‘twilight zone’
Most presenters are here in the threshold between the shadows and the spotlight. For some, it’s a comfortable place to be and, for many, it’s a difficult place to transition out of. But it doesn’t have to be.
By far the most over-represented archetype, with presentations that lack purpose and fail to result in any action. Their default presentation is likely the report or update, with good, middling energy. But they also tend to be quotidian and forgettable.
Stepping into the spotlight
This is where you consistently realise your potential as a presenter, growing and changing as your career evolves. Here, your presentations are persuasive and powerful; research suggests that you are more likely to be promoted, have engaged teams, and be paid more if you can embody these presentation styles.
Confident, competent and persuasive, the Analyser draws insights from data and clearly communicates this to drive better organisational decision-making. They make the complicated simple and present with a centred, grounded style – and it's here that they find strength and impact.
Compelling, authentic and motivating, Storytellers have a knack for the most powerful tool in the presentation toolkit: the story. If the Analyser works wonders by linking our minds, the Storyteller connects with our hearts, using stories to reinforce and build on evidence and ideas. Often animated, and always authentic, Storytellers have a dynamic and engaging presence.
Humble and driven, the Inspirer has a powerful impact on their audience by combining the strengths of the Storyteller with the Analyser - projecting compassion and curiosity with strength and focus. Every presentation is approached with courage, and always diligently prepared. Their ideas are igniting and easy-to-follow. And they can adjust their approach to suit their audience, making them as versatile as they are inspiring.
The best part? Inspirers exist at all levels of an organisation – and with the right practice, you can inspire too. All it takes to consistently and gloriously say the right words in the right way at the right time. And the more you do it, the better you’ll be.
You can learn more about archetypes on LinkedIn over the coming weeks, so make sure you’re following me there to find out more – and to understand how you can move out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
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