A Presentation Tip that Changed My Public Speaking
Several years ago I was out to lunch with a mentor and he shared a presentation tip with me I have never forgotten. This was the days before I owned my company, Ethos3, but it had such a positive impact on me that it has become a staple in my presentation training for clients.
It’s so simple yet so profound, and I’m excited to share it with you today. I hope it changes your public speaking lens just like it changed mine.
The 50/50 Balance
When I sat down with my mentor for lunch on that random business day, we began to discussing both our passions for presentations. It’s then he shared with me that in almost any presentation environment you are going to have a 50/50 mix of introverts and extroverts in the audience. Granted, this may change from 60/40 or 70/30 but generally it is safe to assume you are going to have a healthy mix of both. If you are new to these terms, I’ll briefly explain how I was taught the difference between these two personality types.
I like to look at both of these groups as possessing a battery in the middle of their chest. If you are an introvert like myself, my battery tends to get depleted when socializing and being in group settings like a dinner out with friends, hanging out at a party, or doing anything in general around big groups of people. In order to get in recharged, I need to spend time by myself until I feel ready to go out and socialize again. If you are an extrovert, you are probably the exact opposite of the above description. You most likely get energized being around people and depleted when left by yourself for too long of a period of time.
Now that we have acknowledged these differences, let’s address how this can be applied to your presentations moving forward. As an introvert, I need time to process information and data. It is always going to be in my best interest to hold on to my thoughts and present my feedback after I have had time to digest information presented to me. Understanding this reality, I’ll never call on someone to contribute when I’m giving a presentation since there is a 50% chance I may be making that request of an introvert and they won’t appreciate me in that scenario. However, I also need to understand that half of the room is made up of extroverts so as a presenter I’ll need to mindful about creating opportunities for participation and involvement via pre-planned exercises and workshops.
Introverts and extroverts. They exist in every audience. Your task is to make sure you respect both parties when giving any presentation.
Scott Schwertly is the Founder and CEO of Ethos3 and the creator of Badge, a proprietary presentation assessment tool which helps presenters discover and maximize their presentation style. He is also the author of two books, What’s Your Presentation Persona? (McGraw-Hill, 2017) and How to be a Presentation God (Wiley, 2011). If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run since he is a 2x Ironman, 7x marathoner, and competitive triathlete.