Creating Your Unique Identity – How to Stand Out and Stand Firm as a Public Speaker
COVID-19, Zoom sessions, and online presentations seem to be the buzzwords of 2020 as we approach the end of a turbulent year. On the same note, we see a renewed interest in public speaking skills as more people see the importance of building stage confidence, especially the physical stage. As we venture back into face-to-face presentations, a key question you may grapple with is – how can I stand out as a speaker or communicator?
While there are many ways for you to capture an audience’s attention, one step that tends to be overlooked (especially for new speakers!) is the need to reflect on your speaker identity. Beyond anything, a strong, powerful speaker tends to be more memorable. This, however, goes beyond delivering an energetic presentation or with loud volume / dramatic hand gestures! Instead, building a speaker identity requires a careful study of your speech content, style, and sincerity.
Let’s see how these three elements work together to help you construct and present a memorable speaker identity!
Craft Your Signature Story
The first step is to pick out a Signature Story. Just like how a signature is an affirmation of your identity on a formal document (e.g., contract), a Signature Story is a unique experience that represents who you are as an individual. This goes beyond simply applying any story structure. At the same time, a Signature Story need not be overly-dramatic or a ‘worst situation’ as a setting. Instead, a strong Signature Story leaves the audience with a lasting, positive impression of your identity as a speaker.
One possible topic for your Signature Story is to pick out one of the 3 Cs as a story direction – (i) a story involving a Change in your beliefs, thoughts, or opinions, (ii) a story where you faced a difficult Challenge, or (iii) a story where you had to use Courage to face. Each of these categories offers you a chance to share a defining experience to your audience. Instead of a bland, information-centric introduction for your next speech, ditch the resume speech for a powerful Signature Story introduction instead!
Develop Your Speaker Style
Moving beyond the speech content, speech delivery is another area in which you can develop your speaker identity through a unique style. You will soon realise that speech delivery (e.g., non-verbal communication skills) is one of the areas we tend to emphasise in our learning or in our articles, highlighting its value-add to your speech.
Keep in mind that you do not need to copy or imitate a speaking style you see online (e.g., aiming to be dramatic or artificially changing your speaking habits). Instead, work within your existing habits to ensure a comfortable delivery. Some of the more observable non-verbal communication techniques include adopting more energetic, open hand gestures beyond your body frame or combining an anchored eye contact with a verbal pause to emphasise a point. Experiment with all these different styles and pick a combination that best represents you as a speaker!
Your Sincerity in Your Identity
Finally, never underestimate the potential of your speaker sincerity in connecting with your audience. You may have heard the oft-told advice to find a speech topic that resonates with your beliefs. The audience members will be able to tell if you are delivering a speech on a topic that you do not believe in. Instead, by delivering a topic that you believe in, you would be in a fantastic position to present with honesty, sincerity, and authenticity,
One key pitfall you should avoid is the use of gimmicks in your speech – often, speakers find it tempting to rely on communication crutches (think fancy presentation animations, trying hard to find a ‘shock’ factor). When done without a purpose, the gesture may end up repelling your audience away. If you intend to incorporate such an element, pick something that would make a direct connection with your audience. Bill Gates, for example, when sharing about malaria (check out his speech here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLkbWUNQbgk&t=213s), artfully used ‘mosquitoes’ as a prop to drive his message fast. It was a prop that was used effectively, continuing as a stubborn reminder of his speech well beyond his stage time.
Stand Out on Stage!
We often talk about “standing out” on stage without looking at the foundational step of developing your speaker identity. The simple question is: what kind of speaker do I want to be? By having that moment of reflection, you can take some time to develop a framework that will guide you in your growth as a communicator. We hope that the three steps above would help you in that process of developing your speaker identity!
WATCH our YouTube video on: A Public Speaker’s Value – How to Enrich your Speaking Impact
By The Way…
If you’re keen to take your public speaking skills & presentation skills (either business/corporate presentation / training for presentation to clients / kids in-class presentation) to the next level so that you may communicate and deliver speeches with greater flair and charisma, feel free to check out our public speaking courses for adults and kids below!
For more about our Public Speaking Courses for Adults :
If you’re also looking for Public Speaking Course for Kids / Children:
If you are a human resources manager/ business owner in your company…
We want to help you bring out the best in your team, organization, and company. Public speaking and communication skills for the workplace, such as persuasion, remain a priority for most corporate training out there. We believe in staying ahead of the curve in sharing the contemporary communication skills to help you and your team remain relevant, competitive and nimble. Through our customized corporate training programmes, your team will benefit from an in-depth, hands-on, and potential-maximising public speaking training programme!
Feel free to reach out to us to curate your own public speaking corporate training programme for your team, company, or organization! Let us help you develop them into highly effective public speakers at work, empowered with effective presentation skills & storytelling skills – them giving speeches with charisma, influence and impact is something you can look forward to!
For effective presentation skills & public speaking skills training for corporates/ employees: https://www.publicspeakingacademy.com.sg/corporate-public-speaking-training-workshop/