Perfecting the Performance Persona

Light as a feather…stiff as a board…

Does either of these extremes describe your presenters?

Helping senior leaders deliver a compelling performance can be a tough job. But in order for their message to come through, they need to find the authentic voice that lets them shine.

Everyone has a role they naturally play. And it is this role that informs our onstage persona. When a presenter is at odds with this natural function, the audience senses the disconnect and spends more of their time dissecting this dichotomy instead of concentrating on the content.

This is where you can be of the most help.

Go one step beyond helping them craft their message and help them uncover their onstage persona by asking the following questions:

  •  When are they at their best?

Ask presenters to imagine a time when they were at their best. It doesn’t have to be business related, but it should feel authentic.

  • What role do they play?

There are 7 functions that we can serve in any situation. One of these functions is your presenter’s natural persona.

  • Teacher – Your presenter recalls an instance when they had to explain something or impart some life lesson.
  • Coach – Your presenter had to motivate a team through a tough situation…or just enjoys working with his or her son’s little league team.
  • Entertainer – Your presenter may have an artistic streak reserved for the weekends. Or maybe they are known around the office as the one who can always make everyone feel good through “performance’ – even in a small setting.
  • Salesman – Your presenter had to convince someone, using facts or anecdotes (or just their supreme powers of persuasion).
  • Counselor – Your presenter had to offer comfort, support or advice.
  • Connector – Your presenter brought ideas or people together.
  • Doer – Your presenter is someone who gets stuff done, for example, was given a big project with an impossible deadline and still managed to come through with flying colors.
  • How would that persona present the speech content?

This is where your communications expertise comes in. You will now help translate the message for the presenter’s most natural persona.

  • If a Teacher, make sure to add plenty of explanation.
  • If a Coach, use plenty of motivational language.
  • If an Entertainer, inject some levity.
  • If a Salesman, provide  a setup and payoff for key points.
  • If a Counselor, give reassurance for any bold statements.
  • In a Connector, find similarities to show the overlap between subject areas
  • If a Doer, sprinkle in examples of the speaker or employees taking action

Presenters want to do well on stage, but self-analysis is a trick business. By helping them define their offstage persona, you’ll ensure that no matter what they say onstage, they’ll be speaking the language of leadership.

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