Communicating with Style

While knowing your audience is the most important part of being a good presenter, knowing yourself is just as important. Presenting is all about making sure that your best is on display and that people feel comfortable. Participants in your conference are going to feel comfortable if that's what you feel (remember the non-verbal importance).So, it's important to know what kind of communicator you are.

According to Scranton University there are four types of communication styles: process, action, people, and idea. Each style will reflect a different kind of presentation comfort zone. Some people are all business when it comes to their conferences, and others are more free-thinking. What makes each type of communicator feel in control of their presentation, and why is it important?

  1. Process (PR) Oriented:
    A process oriented communicator is someone who focuses on the steps from start to completion with a particular plan of action. These are communicators who understand and focus on the steps it takes to reach the end result. Think of it as "how" and "why”. Process oriented individuals want to make sure the "how" is understood and believes that if the steps are followed accurately, the "why" will follow naturally. These communicators are precise and focus on the facts. They also may establish alternate plans.
  2. Action (A) Oriented:
    Action focused communicators are short-winded. Action is a verb and these types of communicators want to see something done quickly. They want to know that their audience was motivated to move. If you're action oriented, you should always use a visual aid, like a slide presentation, to focus on the result of the coming actions, i.e, "If we complete project X as a team, our profits are going to grow." Action communicators want their audience to know and understand what the result of their provisions, so they can be motivated to reach the end result.
  3. People (PE) Oriented:
    When a presenter has a communication style that is person oriented, they tend to focus more on the relationship between the idea being presented and the people it is going to affect, whether clients or employees. When you're this type of communicator, you should be focusing on how the idea has worked in the past, be informal, and allow time for small talk. A lot on times on conferences, you have a group of people who either work closely together or don't get to spend a lot of time in the same room. So, you need to allow for the people taking part in the conference to chit chat with each other. Allowing time to for this gets everyone comfortable and able to hit the ground running with whatever ideas they have.
  4. Idea (I) Oriented:
    Idea oriented communicators tend to lean towards more open types of meetings. They encourage open discussion and the sharing of ideas. When scheduling a conference, idea oriented communicators should factor in extra time so that they can allow for this open share of ideas. When you're an idea focused person, you have a tendency to let your ideas flow out loud as well. So before your conference, be sure to create an outline, starting with an overall statement, and then narrow your ideas down slowly and to keep yourself on task. Allow for open discussion at the end of the conference so that the creative flow does not have to be interrupted.

(In case you're curious, I am an action communicator.)

The long and short of it is that the best communicators are going to have elements of all these kinds of styles. Getting feedback from your conference participants is going to give great insight into what changes can make you more effective. Are your conferences all over the place with no true plan of action? You should focus on being more process oriented the next time you hold a conference. Do people think your presentations are boring? Try being more people oriented. Making little tweaks in how you present is going to have a lasting impression on the outcome of your conferences.

PS: Nothing is more important than knowing yourself when you're in front of a group. Remember that when you start tweaking your communication style. How you sound is just as important as what you say.

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