One of the first things I do when beginning a coaching relationship with a client is find out what kind of presenter they are. This helps us to establish a baseline so that we can see improvement and growth over time. Everyone has their own unique public speaking style, but I have found that there are 6 general categories, and most people fall into anywhere from 1-3 of them. Over the next 6 weeks I will highlight one of the categories each week and describe the benefits and drawbacks of each style.
Presentation Style: Tornado
Tornado Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL).
Description: The Tornado is the presenter who appears very confident, but looks can be deceiving. They are usually loud enough to be heard by everyone, and they plow through the presentation without stopping or getting distracted. However, this presenter is actually very nervous and just wants to get the presentation over with as fast as possible. Because of this, they rush through it in a whirlwind frenzy of energy, talking and emitting information that sweeps up everyone around them, and then it’s over. The audience of a Tornado is left scratching their heads and wondering what just happened. There are no questions during the presentation because no one can get a word in edgewise, and the aftermath is akin to the meteorological disaster: tonnes of informational debris left all over the place without any sort of organization or structure. The audience then has to sort through everything they just experienced and pick out the important information with which to build their own understanding of the subject matter. Tornadoes are often physically exhausted after a presentation, feeling out of breath and worn-out.
Cons: The Tornado can sometimes leave out information in an effort to get off the stage faster. There is no opportunity for audience interaction with this presentation style, and even if someone has raised their hand to interject the Tornado may not see it. Anyone who is taking notes or trying to wrap their head around a complex piece of information may miss several of the subsequent points because the points flew by so quickly and the Tornado already moved on. This presentation style is particularly difficult for anyone with a language barrier as they may not be able to internally translate quickly enough.
Pros: The upside to being a Tornado is the projected confidence and burst of energy which come from the pent-up adrenaline that is released as they begin speaking. The energy is infectious and will get your audience pumped up for your presentation. And you can ensure that a Tornado will never go over their presentation time!
There you have it, the Tornado. Do you see some of your own presenting style in this category? Have you seen others present like this, and how did you feel being in the audience? Join the conversation on my Facebook page, or send me a Tweet or an email. Follow my social media to read about the rest of the categories, and if you’d like to work on developing your own presentation skills contact me for a consultation.
And remember: a presentation is simply a large conversation.