How do you develop your own style as a speaker?
What's your signature move on that stage?
Me? I find humor in even the darkest situations while using alluring, astounding and amazing alliteration. It's kind of what I'm known for.
Don't have your speaking style down yet? Don't know what makes you stand out? That's ok. One of the ways that I like to develop my moves is by reading blogs. Not reading blogs about speaking (like the one you are reading now), blogs by authors who have a distinct style and voice. A blog that instantly grabs your attention or you think, “OMG, I'm NEVER coming back here again.”
The Middle Finger Project
The first time I ran across blogger, entrepreneur and foul-mouthed sassy pants, Ash Ambridge, was a post on Problogger entitled “A Blogging State of Mind.” Her writing style grabbed me (I won't say where) and then I spied the name of her blog.
The Middle Finger Project. Is there a better name for a blog? I think not.
I clicked and 10 minutes later exclaimed, “I want what she's got,” which was embarrassing as I was at a coffee shop.
In 30 minutes, I wanted to have Ash's babies, and I don't even like kids (plus we are both girls,and IVF gets rather pricey).
As speakers, don't you want the audience to yell “I want what you've got?” Yes. Yes you do.
As a speaker, what can you learn from reading TMFP?
Stories are everywhere
I mean EVERYWHERE and Ash is an expert storyteller who finds business lessons in mundane every day life. It's a gift of observation. As a speaker, you need to constantly be on the look-out for stories. What happens? What can you learn from it? How do you tell it to your audience?
Read Ash's take on a bad restaurant experience with a somewhat surprising takeaway message.
Stories are everywhere you just need to be on the look-out to find them.
I know you heard it a 1000 times that as a speaker you should be vulnerable, authentic and all that jazz. The question then is, “How do you let it all hang out…even the shitty stuff that you just want to hide under the mattress?”
She's not afraid to be completely naked in front of her audience, and by naked I mean vulnerable. An example of this that bowled me over was her post 9 Things Everyone Should Know About Success, Reality & Being Human. The writing is raw and the response to this post was overwhelming. Want to relate to people as a speaker? Show up as you, flawed, a most human mess – they'll relate.
Language, language and more language
I wish I could write as well as Ash Ambridge. Speakers create emotional moments with more than just words – you have your voice, pacing, gestures and the power of the pause to amp up the emotional tension and make the audience feel. Words – the words you choose are often the underutilized weapon for speakers.
However, if you're a blogger, you just have words that can dance across your audience's hearts.
Here's a random blog post title: Red High Heels, Slaughtered Pigs & Why Being Unsure is a Good Thing
The title is visual – I see the shoes and unfortunately the pig. I also feel anxious and intrigued at the same time. I'm dying to know what happens next (great way too hook any audience), so click and read what happens next.
Developing your style as a speaker is NOT about just watching other speakers and seeing what they do or don't do. It's about seeing how others engage, what captivates and what makes us feel.
Look to bloggers, rock stars, poets, authors – creatives can teach you so much about speaking.
Who has helped you develop your speaking style? Bonus points awarded if it's not a speaker.