The first time I attended a 3 day training for professional public speakers, I didn’t know that I was going to be spending those 3 days with fabulous speakers who were also personality experts. But looking back, it makes so much sense.

As a speaker, I have a message that I want to share with an audience. To do that effectively, I have to understand my own personality. I have to be aware of my strengths and weaknesses, the ways I tend to respond to the unexpected, how I interact with my audience, and what I need to do to best prepare for my best possible delivery.

But that is just one side of the equation. Communication only takes place when one party is speaking and the other party is receiving the information. Understanding the personality types of the people in my audiences is just as important – probably even more so – than understanding my own.

Who is YOUR audience? Who are you “speaking” to and how much communication is taking place? What can you do to make your message more “hearable” to your audience?

Is your audience a large group? If it is an auditorium or hall, is it safe to assume you will have all four personality types in your audience. How can you still be “you” yet genuinely “speak” to all four groups? Mix it up! Have variety. Be prepared and well-researched, but be spontaneous enough that you can field questions that come up. Include a variety of illustrations, stories, charts, and visual aids because different mediums will resonate with different people.

Is your audience a classroom of people that you will see every day or every week for a semester or more? If that is the case, you can spend more time getting to know each personality. I encourage you to check out my newest book, Personalities for Educators, for specific ideas on how to do this in your classroom.

Is your audience a single client? If so, research them before you meet. Study the way they try to communicate with you. And respond accordingly. I have a whole section on this in Personalities for Business, and Mitch Taylor also has a lot of practical tips in his book Sales 4 Event Pros.

Regardless of the size of your audience, or your unique situation, thinking about your personality and those in your audience as you prepare, will help you communicate more.

Who is YOUR audience? What are you doing to create better connections? Please comment below with your thoughts.

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