How Do You Relate?

Last week I mentioned that networking demonstrates how we relate. Well, so does public speaking. Whereas networking helps others see how we operate around people, public speaking helps folks see whether or not listeners have an impact on speakers, or if speakers simply deliver the message that works for them without connecting to their audience.

Public speaking has more to do with being aware of your listeners than with focusing on yourself. But until we realize how we come across, we don’t understand how or if we relate. So consider the following.

D’s are dominant types who are fast-paced and focused on getting the job done. They come across as “determined”. What does this tell you about their willingness to relate to their listeners when they stand in front of a group?

I’s are influential speakers with expressive and animated manner. Focused on others, they come across eager to relate. Sometimes this can be seen as wanting to be friendly to anyone, no matter who they are or how they feel.

S’s are poised, calm and steady communicators. Again, they are focused on others, but different from I’s, S’s have measured responsiveness. Listeners may sometimes feel they are hesitant or unsure when they take more time than usual to deliver their message or respond to questions.

C’s communicate with seriousness, taking everything into consideration before they decide. They analyze and weigh what they have studied, often asking questions that put listeners to a halt. What does this tell you about their willingness to relate?

None of the above styles are perfect. They each have their assets but also their barrier patterns. Watch your audience so you learn when you’re crossing into barrier-producing territory. Then you can adjust and relate.

Tips in how to relate as a speaker:

1. By all means, consider your audiences’ circumstances and experiences with your topic before you plan your message.

2. If you commonly speak fast, plan times you will slow down as well as pause through your message. If you commonly hesitate, plan times you to use a rapid pace, especially as information is light and you share stories.

3. If you are commonly expressive, animated and energetic, select key moments when you will ground yourself with feet hip-width apart, hands at your sides and head still. Breathe. Speak from this posture to get our attention and command authority.

4. If your tone is commonly serious, find ways to lighten up, to add humility to your message and to smile. You will connect to those who need you to be real.

Not all listeners will be the same style communicator as the speaker. Commonly, at least 2 other styles will be present. If you wish to demonstrate willingness to relate to people, change up your routine when you speak to groups.

Want more information or public speaking coaching? Contact Merri

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