Mar 22, 2022

Your Public Speaking Personality

Standing in the front, what do you experience? Sweaty palms? Shallow breath? Excited butterflies?  

Undergrads in a intro to comms class, mid-level managers in a status meeting, to experienced speakers on the stage…

We all have to stand in front at some point. Our self-awareness through the Enneagram is the superpower. We can lean into our personality strengths and address the difficulties our personalities bring so when step out front, our message is heard.

I’ve created a few tips rom Enneagram wisdom for you so you can improve your presentations. These tiny nuggets of self-awareness can change a speaking experience from adequate to powerful.

Quick defining of terms for these tips. 

A presentation is any time you are in front of a group sharing an idea that you have prepared. This may be a pitch to a client, an idea for your boss, a new process for your team, or your TEDx for hundreds.

An audience is your listeners.

Cool cool? Ok, onto the tips…

Public Speaking Tips for Each Enneagram Type

Enneagram Eights:

You can come in with powerful, bold statements and immediately command the room. Be careful in your presentations to not move into command and control posture of issuing orders. Find places to ask questions and share some vulnerability with your audience. Also, if there is a Q&A time, wait through the awkward pause. Many people need to ponder, shape the question, and then decide if they want to ask.

Pro tip: Do an internal slow count to 8 or even 15 before moving on. 

Enneagram Nines:

You are wonderful at sharing multiple options and points of view. You can be a gentle quiet presence bringing calm to a room. But you can lose your audience if you don’t offer a clear point of you that is yours. My coach Sally Z always says your take on the topic. If you’re in front, people want to know what you think. And we need to hear it! 

Pro tip: Edit your story with the most important detail you want people to walk away with.

Enneagram Ones:

You have a strong teaching style with clear points that your audience can follow. But you can move into finger-wagging moralism with too many details if you’re not careful. Your audience wants to follow you, but they don’t want a lot of shoulds with 82 subpoints to each point.

Pro tip: Use a story to illustrate your point instead of more details or steps.

Enneagram Twos:

You are a hospitable, warm speaker. People often feel like they’re chatting with you over a drink because they’re so connected to you. If you’re not actively aware of your language, you can slip into excessive flattery or a little too sappy. Then your audience shifts from feeling invited to feeling sold or even manipulated because you’re shifted from sharing your idea to getting them to like you.

Pro tip: Lean into your knowledge and authority on your topic to stay with the point of your talk.

Enneagram Threes:

Naturally, you can woo an audience by being the person they need. You can sense what the room wants and you deliver. If you move too far, you can flip over into self-promotion. A look how great I am that I am what you need, which then disconnects you from your audience and your idea.

Pro tip: Make your stories and information are grounded in truth and your emotional connection to the story.

Enneagram Fours:

Your talk style welcomes the deep emotions that move an audience. You often bring a healthy invitation into sitting with an emotion. But your comfort level with melancholy can move your stories to heavily into lament or even glorify trauma and difficulty. Not everyone needs the intensity of emotions to connect with your idea. And they may even disconnect because it’s too uncomfortable for them.

Pro tip: Share the stories in your talk with someone else who sees the world differently. Get feedback from them if the story makes the point you want.

Enneagram Fives:

Your ideas are well-researched and chock-full of data to prove your position. You deeply understand the intricate and complicated nature of your idea. But don’t make every presentation your final treatise on the idea. You can lose your audience if you equate complicated with delivering value.

Pro tip: Have intellectual compassion for your audience. Make the complicated accessible with a story to illustrate your data. (Also, use your humor!)

Enneagram Sixes:

Bring the audience into your idea with your powerful questions. Ask your audiences the big important questions, so they can engage with you. Stay away from questions that feel overly doubtful or pessimistic.

Pro tip: At the end, plan to leave the audience with hope. 

Enneagram Sevens:

You are a fantastic storyteller who can usually riff on a story to communicate your point. At the same time, you can use sarcasm or humor too soon in a story, before the emotional connection to the idea is fully felt by the audience. When you’re sharing an idea, use humor after the audience has made the deep connection.

Pro tip: Rehearse. Edit. Rehearse. While your natural talent can take you far, practice will help your share your idea so the audience receives it well.

Jenn Whitmer TEDx speaker Jenn Whitmer Keynote speaker on TEDx stage. Red dot, white room, studio lights

Knowing yourself changes the entire process of standing out front. From building a presentation and choosing the right stories to rehearsing and delivering your presentation, using the Enneagram connects the audience to you and magnifies your message.

So I’m curious, how do you feel about speaking in front of people? Comment below and let me know.


Want to know more about a TEDx experience? Join my TED TEAM and join me on a live Q&A party about my TEDx talk in March. Sign up now!



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