Know Your Presentation Persona
What if each of us has a unique presentation style?
What if you could discover what it is and use it to your advantage when giving a speech?
Have you ever messed up a presentation or speech?
It could very well be because you didn’t know your natural style. By not knowing your unique strengths, you missed the opportunity to tap into what works for you.
If you want to be a better speaker or just improve your comfort level in front of groups, this post is for you.
Scott Schwertly is the founder and CEO of Ethos3, a presentation design and training company with clients ranging from Guy Kawasaki to Fortune 500 Companies. In fact, I personally utilized Ethos3 for two major keynote presentations. I can speak from personal experience that Scott and his team are exceptionally talented at creating memorable presentations.
I recently spoke with Scott about his new book, What’s Your Presentation Persona?
Build Your Self-Awareness
Why is self-awareness so important for presenters?
Self-awareness is absolutely critical for presenters because it means they are aware of their strengths and weaknesses when giving a presentation. It also showcases that they are clearly aware of which audiences will adore them or challenge them. Without this knowledge, a presenter can only guess and assume, which is a dangerous situation.
“Self-awareness is probably the most important thing toward being a champion.” –Billie Jean King
There are sixteen different types of personas. Would you share just a few of them? (would love to include the graphic of the 16 if it is available).
That’s correct. There is a total of 16 presentation personas. All are different and each consists of its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. A few of my personal favorites are the Liberator, Activator, and Scholar. The Liberator is someone who is incredibly well rounded where they score high in all 4 quadrants of the Badge assessment. The Activator is your classic sales personality where this type of presenter excels in front of a room, and people love them. The Scholar is the exact opposite of the Activator where they are a verified expert and have a durable message but they may not be great in front of a room.
Where can I take the assessment?
Anyone can discover their presentation persona right now. They can do so by visiting Ethos3’s Badge page. The assessment takes about 10-12 minutes to complete. It’s super-fast. Also, readers should pick up a copy of What’s Your Presentation Persona? to understand their results/profile.
Stop One Thing
What’s a presentation stop-doing list?
Most people today are constantly trying to add items to their plate. They want to read more books, take more courses, exercise more frequently…the list goes on and on. Most presenters are no different. They are trying to do too much, and it simply is not sustainable. Instead, I would suggest instead of adding 7-8 proactive items, why not just stop one. Let’s say a presenter wants to read one presentation book a week, subscribe to 30 presentation blogs, practice 10 times before every presentation, and attend a presentation training course every quarter. That’s admirable, but it may not be doable. Why not just stop being lazy with your presentations or stop short-cutting your content development process? Stopping one thing is much easier than adding ten items.
What are some common presentations mistakes you’ve seen over and over?
I see the abuse of content in almost every single presentation. Content is the most important part of any presentation, yet it is also the least sexy component of the presentation process, so people neglect it or simply ignore it. It makes me sad. It shouldn’t be this way. People need to care more about their presentation narrative and the story they are sharing.
How easily is it to change personas?
Not easy. I see a lot of presenters change temporarily, but they always go back to their original habits and persona. Experts say any permanent change takes 3-5 years, and the same is true with one’s presentation persona/Badge.
The Top 3 Speaking Tips
What top 3 tips do you find yourself giving people who ask how can I be a better speaker?
Every great presentation is strong in three critical areas: Content, Design, and Delivery. I’ll go ahead and provide a tip in each one.
Content: Only have three points. The human brain works like this: 1, 2, 3…I forget. No one is going to remember your fourth or tenth point.
Design: Always aim for big visuals and minimal text since the human brain processes visual information 60,000x faster than text-based information (a.k.a. bullet points).
Delivery: Speak with passion. How can a presenter expect anyone to be passionate about their message if they are not passionate about their subject matter?
Speaking Tip: the brain processes visually 60,000x faster than text so aim for big visuals.
Building rapport with an audience is vitally important. You cite Tony Robbins as really doing a great job with this. Is this a teachable skill?
Yes. Definitely. What I love about Tony is that he is strong in the Response quadrant which means he has a servant’s heart and really cares about his audience. Anyone can achieve the same thing if they have a similar mindset and start focusing more on their audience than themselves. They can do this by adding more exercises and feedback opportunities as well as changing their language by using more “we” rather than “I” throughout their talk.
What should every presenter know about the audience?
I have two important items to note on this one:
- Every audience is going to be comprised of both introverts and extroverts. Generally, I see a 50/50 balance of both groups when presenting, so presenters need to make sure they appeal to both audience personalities. A presenter must include exercises and interaction opportunities for their extroverts and not randomly call on people in order to avoid offending their introverts.
- By 2020, 46% of the American workforce will be comprised of millennials. That means that the next time a presenter gets in front of a room, almost 50% of the room will be full of millennials. Every presenter needs to be prepared for this new reality by having talks that are more team-oriented/collaborative and serve the greater good.
For more information: What’s Your Presentation Persona?