Lesson 3 – Your natural style of communicating and why it’s essential to know
I want to take you back to the start of my speaking career. Presenting was very much something I failed at with aplomb! I could fumble over my name and sit down thinking “What did I say?” And that started to change the day I heard a statistic on the impact that powerful communication can have on your career success. Not just the stats that say it’s about your body language (we will look at that in a later lesson) but in the power to speak powerfully to anyone, anywhere.
However I quickly realised that it wasn’t enough to learn what to say, how to stand, how to breathe or any of the other things that people were telling me to do. Ultimately it was through my study of famous speeches I learnt that none of these lessons would be enough to make me a stand out as a speaker unless I could find my natural style.
ACTION; I want you to think about the way you stand when you are talking to someone;
In any of these situations I’m very animated. (Rarely will you spot a picture with me standing still, my mouth shut or my hands by my side!) and for years I panicked about that. I thought “How will anyone take me seriously when I’m dancing around like Tigger, on Redbull powered by Duracell?” And the irony was that an international speaker spotted me and asked to work with me because they described me as Tigger, on Redbull powered by Duracell. That was my natural style!
Id’ been trying to stand like a politician, speaking in low tones and slowly and it didn’t match up to the power of my content, the power of my conviction or even the power of my results!
And guess what the result you get from that?
A mixed message where your audience can’t quite fall in love with you!
ACTION; Think about how you like to speak to people in the 3 examples above.
All of the above give you clues to your natural style ie;
|My natural choice would be…||Which means that….|
|“Yes I like to listen more”||You are going to enjoy having your audience interact with you (even if that feels scary at this stage!)|
|“I can’t stand it when people interject. I lose my train of thought”||You may like written notes with you on stage (Nothing wrong with notes in some circumstances.) And you may like to start by advising your audience that Q and A will be at the end, i.e. “Please let me speak, I will hear from you when I’ve finished.”|
|“I get nervous when people share a different viewpoint to mine, it makes me worry that I don’t know my content”||You outline at the start how you would like opinions and questions to be handled, i.e. at the end, as we go or towards the end of the first exercise. It could also mean that you need to remember Lesson 2 and trust in your knowledge and ability. In a later lesson we look at how to deal with difficult delegates and hecklers.|
|“I don’t like talking about my private life.”||You ensure your language and style of communication does not go “too chatty” and encourages a more formal environment in which you feel more comfortable. (Be aware of how this can make your audience feel if they are new to your knowledge or the subject.)|
|“I can’t stand things being too serious”||You create a style that tells people from the start that we are going to learn and have fun (using your own words) this is a great way of putting people at their ease because you are outlining your natural style.|
If you were to consider your natural style what would you notice?
How could what you notice impact on your natural style of communicating?
HOMEWORK; Explore some famous speeches. What styles do you like?
Look at different famous speakers (and local ones you like) and ask yourself what you like about their style?
Is it similar to yours?
Does it resonate personally with you? If so, in what ways?
WORTH NOTING; Personally I love Winston Churchill. He rarely used long words, he spoke emotionally (in case you couldn’t guess I wear my heart on my sleeve and learnt through exploring this lesson myself that this is something I have to do. Trying to hide who I am doesn’t work. I know you probably know this, however it is amazing how many people stand up and sound nothing like their normal selves!)
Churchill – “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat,” Notice how this is full of passion!
I also love the book by Professor Max Atkins, Lend me your ears – if you want to understand the structure and ability to deliver powerful communications this book is not to be missed. In later lessons I will draw on some of those skills that he highlights. At this stage it is important to note that up until I read that book, I’d been doing many things right, however I had not understood the power of the science of being myself and what makes a powerful speech, and how when you combine the knowledge of those things with the other lessons, you can’t but connect powerfully with an audience.
How will I ensure I can recognise my natural style and utilise that?
How does my natural style make my audiences feel? Is this how I want them to feel?