Title: What type of presenter are you?
There’s no doubt that when it comes to presenting, opinion is very divided on the best presentation style. Some people champion visual presentations, others prefer to use stories. Some people construct carefully considered presentations over many weeks or months, while others pull together slides on the fly to support a conversation.
You’ll have many conflicting inputs too. Some will say, always start with a joke or witty anecdote. Others say avoid humour altogether and instead start with a story, a relevant statistic or question. Traditionally, sales people would start a presentation by talking at great length about their company – while conventional wisdom would turn its nose up at such an approach. Yet, in certain situations this may actually work – especially if that is what the audience has asked for.
The point is, there is no right or wrong way of presenting. Many of the world’s most renowned public speakers developed very unique styles, all of which worked for them. Ultimately, if you can engage your audience and convey your message, then you’re on the right track for sure.
In this post, we’ve summarised the approaches of 5 of the most famous presenters to illustrate certain styles. Which one resonates most with you?
If you abhor text-heavy slides with lots of bullets and would rather utilise large images to complement your talking points, then you are definitely a visual presenter. Normally, visual presenters are experienced public speakers and feel very comfortable taking to the stage. They don’t need slides as a crux and only use visuals to enhance their presentation, rather than drive it.
Example: Steve Jobs
This presentation style is normally deployed by people who need to deliver lengthy, complex presentations with lots of content – just like your teachers and professors of old. The slide presentation is likely to be built in logical order to aid the presentation, and you should use excerpts like video to support your ideas and keep the audience engaged. According to Tedx, 19 minutes is the maximum amount of time an audience can stay with an individual speaker, so if you’re planning to go for much longer than that, you’ll need something to break-up your talking time.
Example: Al Gore
If you really want to get into the heads of your audience and maybe try to change the way they think, the coaching style is probably best. Typically, this is employed by energetic and charismatic speakers who engage with their audience using role play and listener interaction. These ‘motivational-esque’ speakers have the rare ability to talk for lengthy periods, while keeping their audience engaged and rely less on visual cues or content.
Example: Paul McKenna
We’ve already mentioned Tedx, which is the most famous speaking platform in the world. Tedx applies a standard framework for presentations, which forces the presenter to tell 3 stories as part of an 18-19 minute presentation. Visual elements can be used to support the storyline, and storytelling can be one of the most powerful ways to convey a message – as when someone starts telling a story, most people tend to lean in.
Example: Simon Sinek
Freestylers are usually good sales people, subject matter experts or thought leaders that really know their domain. They are comfortable giving elevator pitches, leading sales meetings, attending networking events and impromptu meetings – then presenting on the fly. They may use agile, supporting tools to help the presentation, either on a laptop or maybe even a flipchart – but ultimately, they are so comfortable in their superior knowledge that they have no problem in sharing it, whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Example: Brian Cox
Whether you fit one of the above descriptions perfectly, or feel your style blends different elements together, it really doesn’t matter. The key to presenting is to recognise your unique qualities and style, then build on your strengths, while adapting to different scenarios. Don’t try to drastically change your approach as it will compromise your authenticity, which is a sure fire way to disengage your audience.