“Personalities are the filter, or colored glasses, through which we view life. They affect the way we communicate.”
There is not one perfect type of speaker or presentation style. Effective speakers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. No two public speakers are exactly alike. In fact, the most successful speakers are those who develop their own speaking styles to a level of excellence. They resist the temptation to imitate a favorite speaker or teacher. God created each individual, and the goal is to master one’s own speaking style.
Years ago, I (Rhonda) had an epiphany about my speaking style which had quite an impact on me. I was asked to be one of three keynote speakers for a women’s conference involving hundreds of ladies. I was the last speaker of the opening session. The first speaker was hysterically funny, and the audience laughed until they cried. I panicked because I am not funny! The second speaker was humble and sweet, and the audience cried as they heard her tender stories. I panicked because I am not sweet! The Lord clearly spoke to me as I stood up to speak: “Be Rhonda. Be yourself, and speak from your heart.” I spoke with the confidence of the Lord. My counsel to you is the same: Be yourself; be the speaker God created you to be.
In fashion, there are four basic styles. Each person tends to prefer one specific style over another. The romantic style is feminine, soft, and delicate. The sporty style is casual, natural, and neutral. The trendy style is contemporary, fashionable, and faddish. The classic style is traditional, conservative, and functional. All four fashion styles appeal to some women. In the same way, speaking styles may vary. Each style will connect with different listeners and should be a true reflection of the speaker.
A few years ago, I (Monica) was sharing at a two-day women’s conference. The women’s ministry director had asked me and another lady who I had not met to be the keynote speakers. Before I was introduced to the audience, the other speaker came up to me and introduced herself. She was so full of energy, I became nervous inside. At the last minute, she asked me what I thought about adding a funny joke to my notes to get the ladies to laugh or even participate with her in a funny drama. I didn’t feel comfortable making changes to what I felt the Lord had laid on my heart to share, only minutes before I was to speak. I noticed immediately that we had two opposite personalities. I was more concerned with the content of my message than her concern for humor. The other speaker, who was a dear lady, had a desire to make the women feel comfortable and laugh. There was nothing wrong with her idea; it was just different than mine. As she asked me to participate with her, I declined by sharing with her that I was not gifted or talented enough to make changes just a few minutes before I was to speak. I assured her that what she had on her heart to share would be great for the women.
As I pondered on our differences, I realized that although we were opposites in our personalities, we complemented each other for a women’s conference because of the balance we brought in our different presentation styles. I had to be reminded that the Lord simply wanted me to be who He had made me to be as a speaker. The Lord reminded me that I was uniquely created by Him before I taught that same Truth to others! As you teach others, it is so important to understand who God created you to be and the unique style He has given you.
Chapter 12 of Talking is a Gift focuses on helping you master your public speaking style. There are many different presentation formats and speaker styles – the goal is to identify your own speaking style in order to enhance your skills. Ask yourself who you are as a public speaker. Who do you want to be? What is your public style, your private style, and your ideal style?