Public speaking is like telling a story, where our words, feelings, and connection with our listeners create magic. But what makes some speakers stand out?
It’s their unique public speaking style.
Public speaking style refers to the unique manner in which an individual communicates with an audience during a presentation or speech. This style encompasses a range of elements, including the choice of vocabulary, tone of voice, pacing, use of anecdotes and examples, body language, and personal anecdotes. It’s influenced by the speaker’s personality, experiences, cultural background, and the audience they are addressing.
A well-defined speaking style can enhance the speaker’s credibility, make their message more memorable, and foster a deeper connection with the audience.
Cultivate Public Speaking Style
In my public speaking program, “Public Speaking Masterclass: Master the Mic, Move the Masses,” I’ve met many people, just like you, who are curious about finding their own special way of speaking.
Every time I hold this workshop, I get lots of interesting questions from people of different jobs and backgrounds. They all want to know how to speak in a way that’s truly their own.
These discussions are always the highlight, filled with new ideas and discoveries.
I’ve gathered some of the best questions and talks from these workshops here for you. I know they can be long, so I’ve kept them short and to the point. But don’t worry, I’ve also added some quick tips on the side for each one, so you get the main idea easily.
For each talk, you’ll see the name and job of the person asking, showing that no matter who we are or what we do, we all want to be better speakers.
Now, let’s dive in and explore the 10 ways to find your own voice in public speaking, a voice that will truly touch people’s hearts.
1. Start with Imitation
Every budding artist or professional, be it a painter, writer, or speaker, often commences their journey drawing inspiration from those who have achieved mastery in their field. Imitation is not about replicating; it’s about assimilating the essence of these masterworks.
This foundational step is invaluable. It provides a proven platform from which one can learn, adapt, and eventually innovate to create their unique signature style.
Questioner: Rafael, a corporate trainer – “Whenever I’m presenting, I notice that I unintentionally mirror the styles of renowned speakers I look up to. It leaves me feeling a tad conflicted. Is this a normal phase?”
Me: “Absolutely, Rafael. I resonate with that feeling. When I began my journey in motivational speaking, I was deeply influenced by icons like Les Brown and Tony Robbins. The energy, the cadence, the style—it was magnetic. In the early days, I found myself emulating them to achieve a similar impact. But let’s ponder this: What do you believe is the real purpose behind this imitation?”
Rafael: “Well, I suppose it’s because their methods and styles are undoubtedly effective. They have a way of connecting deeply with their audience, and I aspire to create that same resonance. But there’s always this lingering doubt about coming across as inauthentic.”
Me: “Your observation is spot on. These masters have refined their techniques over time, making them so effective. But here’s food for thought: Do you reckon they initiated their journey with their distinct styles, or were they too inspired by some predecessors?”
Rafael: “That’s a perspective I hadn’t considered. Perhaps they did have their role models early on.”
Me: “Precisely. Every speaker starts somewhere, often standing on the shoulders of giants. The key is to use imitation as a launchpad, not a destination. Over time, integrate your experiences, your stories, and your personality to mold a style that’s uniquely yours. Think of imitation as the scaffolding. It’s crucial during the formative phase, but eventually, it has to be shed to unveil your masterpiece.”
Treat imitation as a foundational phase. Immerse, learn, then evolve with your distinctive flair for the most profound impact.
2. Champion Authenticity in Delivery
True connection with your audience comes not just from the words you use but from the genuine emotion and authenticity behind those words. Authentic delivery not only resonates more deeply but also sets you apart, making your style distinct and memorable.
Questioner: Liza, a call center manager – “When I’m addressing my team, I often try to neutralize my accent. I feel it might sound more ‘professional.’ However, I’m concerned about losing my genuine touch. How can being authentic in my delivery help in developing a unique speaking style?”
Me: “Liza, your concern is valid and shared by many. But let’s unpack this. When you think of your favorite speakers or leaders, what draws you to them?”
Liza: “It’s their genuine nature, the way they seem to speak from the heart. It doesn’t feel rehearsed or artificial.”
Me: “Exactly. And that’s the power of authenticity. It’s about celebrating who you are. Remember, every time you speak, it’s not just the content but your unique perspective and experiences that the audience connects with. By neutralizing your accent or altering your delivery, you might be suppressing a part of that unique flavor.”
Liza: “I never saw it that way. But what if people judge or misinterpret?”
Me: “There will always be critics, Liza. However, the majority value authenticity over perfection. Think of it this way: Would you rather listen to a perfectly pronounced robotic speech or one filled with emotion, genuine experiences, and a touch of an accent that tells a story of its own?”
Liza: “Definitely the latter. It’s just hard to overcome the fear of being judged.”
Me: “And that’s natural. But over time, as you embrace and champion your authentic self in your delivery, not only will it resonate more with your audience, but it will also become your signature. People will come to recognize and appreciate the genuine ‘Liza touch’ in every speech.”
Embrace your uniqueness, be it your accent, your experiences, or your perspective. This authenticity will become the cornerstone of your speaking style.
3. Mind Your Backstage Rituals
Before stepping onto the stage, how you prepare mentally and physically can significantly influence your performance. Every speaker has their pre-speech routine, and these rituals often serve as an anchor, helping them to get in the zone.
Questioner: Jomar, a sales executive – “I’ve heard about speakers having certain rituals or routines they follow before going on stage. Do you have any, and do they really help?”
Me: “Great question, Jomar. Yes, backstage rituals are essential for many speakers, myself included. For me, stretching is my go-to ritual. It helps me physically relax and mentally prepare. Tell me, have you tried any rituals yourself?”
Jomar: “Not really. Usually, I just review my notes one last time. But sometimes, I feel it makes me even more nervous.”
Me: “It’s interesting how different things work for different people. For me, revisiting my speech at the last minute would have a similar effect. But stretching helps me calm my nerves. The idea is to find what centers you. For some, it could be a moment of silence, a brief meditation, or even listening to a particular song. Have you ever considered experimenting with different rituals to see what puts you in the best frame of mind?”
Jomar: “Honestly, no. But it makes sense. I’ll try a few things next time and see what works best for me.”
Me: “That’s the spirit, Jomar! Remember, the goal is to find something that helps you transition from the everyday hustle to the focused mindset of delivering your message on stage.”
Identify and practice backstage rituals that help you transition into your speaker zone, ensuring optimum performance.
4. Elevate Your Language and Vocabulary
The words we choose and the manner we weave them together form the very fabric of our speeches. An effective speaker not only communicates clearly but also resonates with the audience through language, making their style distinctive and memorable.
Questioner: Isabel, a literature teacher – “In my classes, I’ve always emphasized the power of words. But when I speak at seminars, I’m not sure if I’m maximizing that power. How can my choice of language and vocabulary become a defining aspect of my speaking style?”
Me: “Isabel, given your background in literature, you already understand the depth and emotion words can convey. For public speaking, it’s about striking a balance between being relatable and being impactful. Can you recall a phrase or a quote from a book that stayed with you?”
Isabel: “Yes, there are many. But one that comes to mind is: ‘In our darkest moments, we find ourselves.’ I’ve always found it profound.”
Me: “Exactly! Now, imagine using such evocative language in your speeches. Instead of saying ‘Challenges help us grow’, you could say ‘Through the thick veil of our challenges, we discover our true strength’. The latter paints a picture, evokes emotion.”
Isabel: “I see your point. It’s about elevating the language without making it inaccessible.”
Me: “Precisely. And as you consistently use such evocative language, it’ll become a part of your unique style. Over time, attendees might say, ‘That sounds like something Isabel would say,’ even if they hear it from someone else. That’s when you know your language and vocabulary have truly become your signature.”
Isabel: “That’s an enlightening perspective. I guess it’s about finding that sweet spot where language is both beautiful and relatable.”
Me: “Absolutely, Isabel. And as you hone this, not only will your speeches be more impactful, but they’ll also distinctly echo ‘you’.”
Choose words that paint pictures and evoke emotions. Strive for a blend of relatability and profundity to craft a signature speaking style.
5. Master Voice Modulation
The tonal variations, pacing, and inflections in your voice can turn a mundane speech into a memorable one. Mastering voice modulation is not just about technical proficiency; it’s about resonating with the emotional core of your audience and leaving an imprint.
Questioner: Marvin, a radio host – “In my line of work, voice is everything. But when I transition to public speaking, I find it challenging to vary my tone and pacing to suit the content. How can voice modulation help in cultivating a unique style?”
Me: “Marvin, you’ve hit the nail on the head. In public speaking, the way you modulate your voice can become a signature of your style. Have you ever noticed how some speakers captivate audiences with just their voice, even if the content is something we’ve heard before?”
Marvin: “Absolutely. There are speakers I could listen to for hours just because of the way they speak.”
Me: “That’s the power of voice modulation. It’s about matching your voice’s emotion to the content. For example, when discussing a challenging topic, a slower, deliberate pace with a deeper tone can convey its gravity. On the flip side, if you’re sharing an exciting update, a faster pace with an upbeat tone can convey enthusiasm.”
Marvin: “That makes sense. But how do I make it my own? How do I ensure it doesn’t sound artificial?”
Me: “It’s about practice and authenticity. Start by recording yourself. Listen to where your voice naturally rises or falls. Play with pacing. Over time, you’ll find a modulation pattern that feels natural and uniquely yours. As you refine this, it’ll become a cornerstone of your distinct speaking style.”
Listen, practice, refine. Let your voice’s natural ebb and flow guide your modulation, turning it into a signature element of your speaking style.
6. Harness Non-Verbal Communication
Beyond words, our body speaks a language of its own. Our facial expressions, gestures, posture, and eye movements convey a plethora of information, often more than our words.
Questioner: Bianca, an HR manager – “I’ve read about the importance of body language in communication. But when I’m on stage, I’m never quite sure what to do with my hands or how to stand. Any tips?”
Me: “Bianca, you’re not alone. Many speakers initially grapple with this. The first thing to remember is that your non-verbal cues should complement, not distract from, your words. How do you usually communicate non-verbally in a one-on-one conversation?”
Bianca: “I suppose I gesture naturally, depending on what I’m discussing. If I’m explaining something, I might use my hands to illustrate a point. And I think I maintain eye contact most of the time.”
Me: “That’s a great start. On stage, it’s just about scaling that natural behavior. Use your hands to emphasize points but avoid repetitive motions that could distract. Stand confidently, but feel free to move and engage with different parts of your audience. As for eye contact, it’s a powerful tool. It makes your audience feel seen and engaged. The key is to be genuine and let your body express what you feel and mean.”
Bianca: “So, it’s more about being genuine and less about following a set of ‘rules’?”
Me: “Exactly, Bianca. Authenticity always shines through. The moment you start being too conscious or mechanical about your gestures, it might come off as insincere.”
Let your non-verbal cues be genuine and fluid. They should enhance, not overshadow, your verbal communication.
7. Structure Your Speech Clearly
Every speech is a bridge between the speaker and the audience, constructed meticulously with words and emotions. The architecture of this bridge, its structure, is pivotal not just for clarity, but also in shaping a distinctive speaking style.
Questioner: Danilo, a startup founder – “So we’ve talked about the importance of structure, but how does it help in cultivating a unique public speaking style?”
Me: “It’s all about the blueprint, Danilo. Take a building, for instance. Many structures might have similar foundational elements – like beams and pillars – but it’s the design and details that set each one apart. Now, when I structure my speeches, I have a particular approach: I begin by understanding where my audience is coming from, delving into the solutions they already have in mind. I then affirm their thoughts, and eventually guide them toward a potentially better way of doing things.”
Danilo: “So, your structure isn’t just about introduction, body, and conclusion. It’s more about connecting, affirming, and then guiding. That’s a fresh perspective.”
Me: “Exactly, Danilo. That’s my signature approach. Over time, regular listeners might recognize this pattern. They’ll anticipate that initial connection, the affirmation of their views, followed by fresh insights. This becomes a part of my unique style, my brand as a speaker.”
Danilo: “It’s fascinating how structure can be so transformative. I always saw it as a tool for clarity, but now I see it’s also a canvas for individuality.”
Me: “Spot on. Your structure is both a guide for your audience and a stage for your unique voice and style.”
Go beyond traditional structures. Develop a blueprint that resonates with your audience and showcases your individuality as a speaker.
8. Incorporate Engaging Content
To cultivate a unique speaking style, the substance of your message matters immensely. Engaging content isn’t merely about delivering facts but weaving them into a narrative that’s both informative and captivating.
Questioner: Carmela, a school principal – “I often need to address parents and students. While I have the data and information, I feel my speeches lack that spark. How do I ensure my content is not just informative but also engaging?”
Me: “Carmela, you’ve touched on a key aspect of cultivating a speaking style. Data is important, but it’s the story around the data that captures attention. Think of it this way: Instead of saying ‘80% of our students improved their grades’, how about ‘Let me share a journey where 8 out of 10 of our students overcame challenges and soared higher’? See the difference?”
Carmela: “Yes, the second approach feels more alive and relatable. But how do I consistently integrate this approach into my speeches?”
Me: “Start by identifying the core message or emotion you want to convey. Is it pride? Determination? Hope? Then, wrap your data and facts around this core, crafting a narrative that not only informs but also moves your audience. This becomes a hallmark of your speaking style.”
Carmela: “That makes so much sense. It’s like turning numbers and facts into stories that resonate.”
Me: “Exactly, Carmela. And the more you practice this, the more it’ll become second nature, shaping a distinct and engaging speaking style.”
Transform data into stories. Make your content not just heard, but felt, molding a signature speaking style.
9. Interact with Your Audience
A signature speaking style is not just about broadcasting your message but also about fostering a two-way communication. Engaging directly with your audience, recognizing their responses, and tailoring your delivery in real-time can make your style truly stand out.
Questioner: Rico, a community leader – “I’ve been addressing our community for years. But I often feel like I’m just talking at them, not with them. How can I make my speeches more interactive?”
Me: “Rico, that’s a keen observation. Interaction is a game-changer in public speaking. Have you tried posing questions, even rhetorical ones, during your talks? Or maybe sharing anecdotes and asking if anyone has had a similar experience?”
Rico: “I’ve posed questions, but I haven’t really waited or encouraged actual responses. And no, I haven’t tried sharing anecdotes in that manner.”
Me: “Well, there’s a start. By prompting responses, you create a dialogue. It breaks the monotony and makes your audience feel involved. Plus, their reactions give you real-time feedback, allowing you to adjust your speech on the go. This dynamic style of speaking, where you’re attuned to your audience, can become a hallmark of your unique style.”
Rico: “It sounds more challenging but also more rewarding. It’s like turning my speeches into conversations.”
Me: “Exactly, Rico. And remember, conversations are always more memorable than monologues. Embracing this approach will not only enhance your connection with the audience but also carve out your niche as an interactive speaker.”
Turn speeches into dialogues. Prompt responses, encourage participation, and shape your talks based on real-time audience feedback.
10. Project Confidence and Poise
Confidence isn’t just about believing in what you’re saying, but also in the way you carry yourself and deliver your message. Poise, on the other hand, is about remaining composed, especially under unexpected challenges. Together, they can greatly amplify the impact of your speech and solidify your unique speaking style.
Questioner: Joanna, a young entrepreneur – “Every time I present my business ideas, I get extremely nervous. My hands shake, and I often forget what I want to say. How can I appear more confident and maintain poise?”
Me: “Firstly, Joanna, know that you’re not alone. Many great speakers have faced those initial jitters. Remember, confidence isn’t just a trait; it’s a skill, and like all skills, it can be developed. Do you usually rehearse before your presentations?”
Joanna: “Yes, but even with rehearsals, when I see the audience, the nervousness kicks in.”
Me: “It’s natural. Rehearsing is just step one. The next step is to familiarize, not just with your content, but with the environment. Maybe visit the space where you’ll speak, or if it’s a virtual presentation, get comfortable with the tech. Also, instead of seeing the audience as judges, view them as learners eager to hear what you have to share.”
Joanna: “I’ve never thought of it that way. That does change the perspective.”
Me: “Exactly. And about poise, it comes with experience and the understanding that things might not always go perfectly. If you miss a point or face a hiccup, take a deep breath, pause, and carry on. With time and practice, you’ll find that not only will your confidence grow, but your unique style as a calm and composed speaker will shine through.”
Embrace rehearsals and familiarization. See your audience as eager learners, and remember that perfection isn’t the goal, connection is.
Cultivating Your Unique Speaking Style
Public speaking is more than just relaying information—it’s an art. It’s about creating a connection, sharing stories, and making an impact. While tips and techniques can guide us, it’s our unique style that leaves a lasting impression on our audience. Each one of us has a distinctive voice waiting to be uncovered, refined, and celebrated.
If the questions and discussions in this guide resonated with you, it’s a sign that you’re on the path to discovering and cultivating your speaking style. Embrace the journey, celebrate every progress, and continuously strive to hone your craft.
For those eager to dive deeper and accelerate their growth, I invite you to experience the transformative power of the Public Speaking Masterclass. And if you believe your team or company could benefit from mastering the art of effective communication, let’s collaborate! Bring the Masterclass to your company and witness the collective growth in confidence, clarity, and connection.
Your voice has the power to inspire, educate, and move the masses. Don’t let it go unheard.
Cultivate your unique speaking style and let your voice be the beacon that lights up every room.
Let’s connect and make an impact together!