Monday, January 14, 2008

How Does Your Personality Impact Your Presentations?

Being an authentic communicator requires a firm understanding of who you are (Authenticity Rule #1 - Know Thyself) and how you are received by others. Your personality is a major factor in both. Today's post matches the four major personality types and their potential strengths and weaknesses in the area of speaking/training/teaching.

The first key is to know what type you are and understand how it helps you and hurts you as a presenter. The second key is to understand that you have all four personality types in your audience all the time. You also have parts of all four in you, even though one of the four defines and dominates your personality. So, you need to include elements that speak to each of the four and rely on the elements that work best with your personality most of the time.

This is probably one of the most challenging tasks of the authentic presenter - to be the best of yourself and to be empathetic enough of your audience to say, do and show things you know they will enjoy.

Let's dive into the personality types. My company, YourNextSpeaker, in conjunction with TRI Leadership, has a leadership behavior style assessment called ViewPoint (leave a comment to request a copy of the ViewPoint.) This instrument is a simple and brief questionnaire that reveals whether you are a Director, an Actor, a Manager, or a Writer. We used the world of movies for the monikers. Here is a brief overview of the four types:

Directors - Are primarily interested in Function. Directors love to be in charge and thrive on getting things done. They like action.

Actors -Are primarily interested in Fun. Actors live to entertain and be entertained. It is all about the experience. They like energy.

Managers - Are primarily interested in Feelings. Managers are people-pleasers and work best when the emotional side of the equation is in equilibrium. They like calm.

Writers - Are primarily interested in Facts. Writers love data. They live for proof and are ready to give it if they think it is needed. They like certainty.

For those of you that have taken either the DISC or True Colors instruments, the following are the close (but not perfect) correlations between the three....

Directors - D - Gold
Actors - I - Orange
Managers - S - Blue
Writers - C - Green

What are the strengths and weaknesses of each personality type when it comes to giving presentations? If you are familiar with the four major types, many of these will be obvious. If you aren't, this review of each type's strengths and weaknesses is a really cool way to get introduced.

Directors (They let their confidence do the talking):

Strengths - inspirational, organized, easily commands room
Weaknesses - overbearing, too concerned with perfection, not willing to admit mistakes
Key Word - function
Best Tool - prepared stanzas

Actors (They let the fun experience...):

Strengths - interaction, high-energy, risk-taker
Weaknesses - too high-strung, all fluff/no meat, going too fast to read audience
Key Word - fun
Best Tool - activities

Managers (They let their personal connection with the audience...):

Strengths - story telling, audience-focused, relaxed
Weaknesses - feelings easily hurt, long winded, all fluff/no meat
Key Word - feelings
Best Tool - group discussion

Writers (They let the data...):

Strengths - supporting data, rational thinking, calm
Weaknesses - perceived as arrogant, information overload, all meat/no fluff
Key Word - facts
Best Tool - PowerPoint slides

Again, if you want to know whether you are a Director, Actor, Manager or Writer, leave a comment and I will send you a ViewPoint assessment. It isn't comprehensive, but it will place you in one of the four and you can take it from there.

The big learning lesson here is the most effective presenters have a good mix of quotes, stories, data and activities to speak to all personality types in the room AND they rely heavily on the best tools of their authentic style.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Rhett. This is Lavida Chavez, from the Denver, Colorado National Cluster Meeting with FCCLA. I was wondering if I could take a ViewPoint assessment. I would love to know which group is the strongest in me so I can enhance myself. Thank you!

bldawes said...

Hi Rhett, I attended the GirlTech meeting May 1 and am now visiting your blog. thank you for your helpful information. I have learned a lot from the two presentations with GirlTech. I would like to take the ViewPoint assessment if you could send it to me. Thanks very much. Brenda

AllThatJazz said...

Hi I'd love a viewpoint assessment as well, thanks!

JOITA SHAH said...

It was an interesting insight and would love to know more about the different personality types

Anonymous said...

I would love a copy of the assessment! We're having a staff meeting at me salon in two weeks and I know my staff would love this!