While there are many types of speaking styles, your natural speaking style is what gives your speech that unique personal touch. There are a lot of misconceptions in the public speaking world that have you believe you need to shadow great speakers and mimic their styles.
Additionally, they idolize great speakers like Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, and so on. This perpetuates a myth that there is some sort of structure to becoming a great speaker. It can be quite demotivating as this keeps people from even trying. What needs to be understood is that everybody is their own person with a unique collection of skills, personalities, and experiences.
So if you’re ready to find your personal speaking style, let’s dive right in!
Table of Contents
- Can Authenticity be Rehearsed?
- Common Problems in Public Speaking
- How to find your natural speaking style?
- Speaking styles for different speakers
- Speaking Style Checklist
- Owning Your Style
- Wrapping up,
Can Authenticity be Rehearsed?
When it comes to speaking styles, people often use the word ‘authentic.’ Everyone loves a natural speaker. Someone in complete control and with an effortless stage presence. This makes it sound like public speaking is a talent you are born with.
Which begs the question: Can authenticity be rehearsed?
We say, yes! Your audience can tell when you are putting on a show. This can put quite a damper on building that natural connection. So what can you do?
It’s all about practice. Most speakers add exaggeration to their energy, facial expressions, and vocal variety. The trick is to embellish it onto your existing traits. Don’t try to imitate other speakers and styles that feel starkly different from your own personality. Even when you try to motivate and command speeches that require you to seem over-energized, make sure you only try to enhance the style you already have.
Common Problems in Public Speaking
Finding your natural speaking style sounds like it should be easier, doesn’t it? And yet, many people fail to do it. Have you wondered why? Well, many hurdles get in the way of this. Some of which can be:
- The presentations go on for too long and lose their message along the way.
- Most speakers do not adjust their message to fit their persuasion goals.
- Attempting to mimic successful speakers.
- Padding your speeches with challenging jargon.
- Being too monotone or exaggerating your energy.
How to find your natural speaking style?
While it is great to take inspiration from successful speakers, what makes you stand out is your own spin to complete that style. Once you assess your own strengths, you will have an easier time discovering what style suits you best. This is what is your natural speaking style. We have the following steps to not just help you recognize but also build a personal speaking style:
Zero in on your natural qualities
Grab a notepad and make a list of your strengths. Don’t be shy! Jot down your best qualities. Are you a sweet talker? Are you the funny one in your group or someone that sparks a more serious and intense discussion? Do you consider yourself to be fluid or direct? Are you freer with your emotions, or do you usually stick to facts?
These are the qualities that will elevate your speech and your performance. There is no hard and fast rule for speakers to act in a certain way. Resist the temptation to follow the herd and just polish the person your close friends know you to be.
Everyone has unique and quirky behaviors. Don’t try to tame these quirks and rather make them your signature style. These will add that special touch that you simply won’t find in advice columns. So allow these aspects of your personality to shine through as you take the stage. This will be the mark of authenticity that genuinely connects you to your audience and keeps them coming back for more.
Don’t restrict your natural flow.
Most speeches have a structure that you need to follow. You might find yourself restricting your natural flow while trying to conform to these dated structures. While a proper form is certainly essential, losing your flow is no way to go about it.
For instance, introverts and extroverts both have different flows to how they express themselves. This is another way of saying to understand your persona accordingly. Typically,
introverts tend to want to articulate their thoughts and words. You might prefer speaking more deliberately at a slower pace. If you are indeed someone that prefers this method of speaking, don’t get too swayed by enthusiastic speakers.
Audiences can detect fake enthusiasm, and it is easy to break the spell. You want people to believe in the message you are giving, which simply won’t happen if you aren’t your true self. Similarly, if you prefer a more dynamic and lively approach, then own your entertaining side. Be loud and proud. Be dramatic. Don’t try to tame your natural flow by trying to fit into a more serious mold.
Of course, how a speech is presented depends on the material you need to present. If you are speaking on a serious topic or addressing a more corporate audience, it might not be suitable to bring in too much drama. However, you can still incorporate your natural flow without being too over-the-top about it.
Say it how you speak it.
When looking for your natural speaking style, this advice probably makes sense. Speeches that sound rehearsed or memorized takes away from experience. Try to speak and present how you would if you were talking to your friends. This will also help you remember the speech better as you will see it as talking more than presenting. Read your speech out loud; how are the words and phrases? Do they sound awkward? Is this how you would naturally speak?
Don’t chase perfection. Try not to change your entire speaking style just to match your writing. Instead of trying to speak perfectly, focus on speaking the truth. Quotes and sayings are a great addition to your speech, but if your entire speech is packed with them, it comes off as fake. After all, when you speak the truth, you don’t speak in literary phrases. Just let the words flow from your heart as you feel it.
Fears are friends
It is entirely okay to feel anxiety or be worried when you are presenting or performing. You can use this fear in your favor. After all, this fear is an ode to your passion. It shows how much you care, and it can be plugged into your speech as energy. Instead of running from this fear, try to understand and incorporate it into your speech so that it conveys your passion. Your audience will definitely respond to this positive energy.
Speaking styles for different speakers
As we mentioned above, to find your natural speaking style, you need to identify which style truly speaks to you. We have detailed the most common type of speakers below so that you can skim through and pick which style fits you best.
The Motivating Speaker
A motivational speaker possesses many qualities. It comes down to three key elements: energy, tone, and speed. A speaker that has mastered these elements tends to be successful as a motivational speaker.
A good motivational speaker can get the crowds’ energy pumping. The purpose is to engage and inspire the audience. Let’s break down this type of speaker into its three main elements:
Your pace determines how excited you can get your audience. If you speak faster, it will usually ramp up the excitement of the crowd as well. However, you have to be careful in overusing this trick. It might get tiring if you are constantly speaking too fast, and the audience cannot keep up.
Energy is one of the central elements of a motivational speech. You want to be positive and have a shining optimism in your delivery. Listeners will remember when you deliver a high-energy performance and are more likely to be receptive to your message.
You simply cannot deliver a motivational speech in a plain tone. You need to mix in a touch of drama and intrigue, which is done by vocal variety. There’s nothing worse than a monotonous motivational speaker. Remember to add in your personal touch to everything you speak of and represent.
The Shake-it-Up Speaker
The shake-it-up speaker is quite similar to the motivational speaker. The main difference? Getting the audience moving. This type of speaker gets the audience fully involved. It can be a bit challenging, though, as you have to really know your content. When you open up the floor, you don’t know what they might ask.
Speakers spend a lot of their time trying to perfect their message. How am I presenting the information? Am I using enough vocal variety or too much? In all this time and preparation, we often forget that communication is a two-way street. This shake-it-up speaker thus understands this and creates the opportunity for the audience to participate. It includes practicing softer tones and gestures in order to be more inviting to the listeners. This speaker will speak slowly and clearly with expressive facial movements.
It’s a great way to get a quiet audience to not just warm-up but also be engaged. This will also get the crowd to be more receptive to tough discussions to ensure people feel heard. However, if you find that people aren’t responding, then you can always switch to asking for a volunteer. You can then get this person to share their top takeaways from your speech for a refreshing perspective.
What you need to remember is that you have a full range of vocal strengths at your disposal. Make sure to experiment with your voice, energy, and pace so that you can truly deliver to the best of your ability. This way, you will be ready to present and engage your audiences to truly serve your message.
The Commanding Speaker
A commanding speaker is capable of delivering a message with a certain gravitas. You must be able to convince your audience about the weight if your words.
When you command a room well, you garner the respect of your listeners. For instance: Barack Obama used to follow a more motivational way of speaking but gradually transitioned to a commanding role. During his 2008 Presidential campaign, he followed a more charged and energized style. If you look at his later speeches, you will notice controlled pauses along with lower but a more powerful tone during his inauguration speech.
The commanding style is more suited to speaking about serious topics. This can also extend to addressing sensitive topics or speaking in front of important or high-level members. It is properly executed by exerting control over your voice. Speaking slower and lowering your pitch are both effective strategies in delivering a commanding speech. Furthermore, making purposeful and smooth gestures also adds to the entire experience.
The Entertaining Speaker
The entertaining speaker is a crowd-pleaser. The perfect choice to change the pace from the typically serious and monotonous delivery. This style is suited to individuals with a more animated nature. You need to let loose and own the space around you. Similarly, this type of speaker uses smooth, flowing gestures and typically a more open and inviting tone. They give out a feeling of ease, which in turn allows the audience to feel comfortable. The entire presentation oozes of a playful vibe allowing everybody to lighten up.
The common misconception is that this style requires you to simply be humorous. This often leads to people packing jokes into their speech, which distracts from your main message and can seem like trying too hard. You don’t have to be Jerry Seinfield or George Carlin up there. The trick is in the delivery. If you are having a good time up there, the audience will begin to resonate.
Try to practice speaking in front of your mirror. Loosen up. Especially check if your body language matches the ease you are trying to convey. Use fluid transitions and try to mingle with your listeners. You can browse through the different body gestures you can incorporate to make your presentation much more natural.
The entertaining speaker is also dramatic. After all, they are weaving a story. Whether that means dropping your tone during serious moments or upping the ante during a particularly dramatic retelling, they have it down. Zeroing into the absurdity can be seen as a really humanizing way of public speaking. Even if the story isn’t particularly upbeat, the entertaining speaker finds a way to make sure the audience doesn’t feel disheartened.
This type of speech is so effective that often in public speaking, stories get monotonous. This is where most speakers lose their audiences. In the end, sad or happy most stories just mesh into one and fail to bring out their emotions. This is why it is important to weave in and out of different tones, gestures, and energy. After all, it is a performance.
Now that we have discussed the four main speaking styles, the next thing to know is that no style is absolute. Even if you resonated with one of these styles more than the other, you are under no obligation to stick to only one of them. It’s completely okay to mix it up. You may want to keep a more entertaining overall speech but dabble in a bit of motivation in there.
Experiment with different styles and paces to figure out which combination works the best for you.
Speaking Style Checklist
Once you know your speaking style, read through the following to make sure you are fully prepared to deliver.
- Don’t try to memorize your speech. We recommend using an outline or remembering your key points. If you simply memorize a speech, you are at risk of seeming like you are simply parroting the speech and might lose your chain of thoughts when interrupted.
- Work on your introduction. It is very important to grab the audiences’ attention early as this is when you can give them a reason to listen in the first place. First, engage, and then you impress.
- Breathe and deliver at a pace that is comfortable for you. Speaking too slow can have you risk losing the listeners’ attention, but speaking too fast will make you come off as nervous or in a hurry.
- Experiment with vocal variety. Delivering in the same tone throughout the speech will quickly bore the audience. Incorporate questions experiment with sentence lengths, tones, and the overall energy of the speech.
- Read your audience. Their reactions will give you a live indication of how you are doing. If you notice more people yawning, zoning out, or looking at their phones, switch things up so that you can grab their attention again.
- Reiterate your key points. While you know your main points by heart, the audience might need a few reminders and examples for the message to get across.
- Don’t try to pad your speech with complicated vocabulary. Go for simple language so that your audience can focus on the main message. Shorter sentences will be much easier to follow.
- When possible, try to incorporate some visual aids. Effective visuals will elevate your speech and keep the audience engaged. They will also enhance your main message.
- Make sure you go big on your conclusion. This is the lasting impact you will be leaving on your audience. Try to leave the listeners with something to think about.
- Nothing beats practice. A lack of preparation can thwart even the most natural speaking styles. Make sure you prep and know your material well.
Owning Your Style
It is okay to be nervous about speaking in front of an audience. Even the most experienced speakers are prone to the occasional stage fright. Practice in front of the mirror and then smaller groups. Crowd control and body language are not talents but skills that you can work to sharpen. Similarly, as you put yourself out there, you will begin to find your natural voice and tone.
The best place to start is by observing your favorite speakers. Note what it is about their style that speaks to you. Try to incorporate their traits, but don’t try to imitate them. Remember, the objective is to build your signature speaking style.
Your job as a speaker is to be convincing. The best way you can do this is by knowing your material inside out. Doing so will also make it much easier for you to open up the floor for audience participation. The natural feel comes when the audience sees you speak effortlessly without sounding like you’re reading off a teleprompter.
Once you have enough practice with public speaking, you’ll start to naturally read the audience. You will be able to adjust your eye contact, body gestures, and vocal variety as needed and truly master your speaking style.
So there you have it! Browsing through these various speaking styles should help you realize that you have something unique to bring to the stage. Many successful speakers are dominating the market, but none of them have the combination of traits that you possess. Find out which style or which combination works best for you. Beyond that, fluency is all about practice. Learning your speaking style is the first step in the right direction to improving your craft. All the best on your journey!