6 Presentation Styles

illustration of a presenter at a podium

To effectively sell an idea you need to present yourself with polish. But to increase the success rate of your pitches, you first need to understand your presentation style. 

The pitch. It's the big moment in any creative professional's life. The chemistry meeting went well. You have a handle on the brand. They asked for a big idea.

Since then, the team has been toiling away for weeks. Late nights, endless cups of coffee, arguments, creative differences, brilliant ideas and a lot of hard work. Your masterpiece is ready to be unveiled to the world. It all comes down to this. Is the way you present the work as good as the work?

Be the Best Presenter You Can Be

Every one of us has a natural presenter type, and there are six of them: Storyteller, Counselor, Coach, Teacher, Producer, Inventor. If you can understand your presenter type, the success rate of your pitches will go up. You will know your strengths, be able to face your weaknesses and figure out how to present your work in its best light.

Storytellers, Counselors, Coaches and Teachers

In our initial findings, fewer than 20 percent are Storytellers, Counselors, Coaches and Teachers. Yet they have more natural ability as public speakers, with Coaches and Storytellers making up the majority of senior executives and entrepreneurs. They have, "the gift of the gab." The Coach and Storyteller can connect well with audiences and are inspiring. The Counselor and Teacher are well structured and organized in their delivery. That doesn't mean they don't have weak spots. Storytellers often ramble, and confuse people rather than clarify. Counselors that don't allow their personality to shine through feel a little didactic and dry.

Inventors and Producers

This is the majority of the population, and many creative people. These are the ones that, according to Jerry Seinfeld, would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy. They're usually the introverts, who don't feel a need to be the center of attention and don't seek it. They may have a gift for words but, verbally and on stage, the words don't come quickly, and can feel blocked searching for just the right word in a presentation. That's a scary moment.

Let PowerPoint Be Your Wingman

You aren't alone on stage. There is a cure. Let PowerPoint (or slides, boards, whatever you have on stage with you) be your wingman. If, like a Counselor, you're not very engaging, make sure your slides are engaging and emotional. If you're a little unstructured like a Storyteller, make sure your deck is well structured so that people can follow along. If, like an Inventor, you're a little unsure of the words, let the presentation carry the talk-track for you (without making it into a teleprompter).

Be the best presenter you can be. If you know your stuff, that will be pretty good.

Find out your presenter type by taking this quick survey

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Guest contributor Gavin McMahon is a PowerPoint obsessive. He's a founding partner at fassforward Consulting Group, and blogs about PowerPoint, communication, infographics and message discipline at makeapowerfulpoint.com. You can tweet to him @powerfulpoint.