Have you ever taken an online test and gotten an answer you never expected?
Toastmasters Pathways Communication Styles Quiz Project might surprise you.
I once took one of those quizzes and deliberately answered the wrong answer on every question, but the “results” and I say that loosely were that I had answered every question perfectly, which made me a genius.
The Shocking Communication Styles Quiz
Sometimes the answers you get from online quizzes aren’t what you expect. Take the Level 2 Communication Styles Quiz. I got an answer that I might even say shocked me at the time.
I was sure I was one kind of speaker and would have a strong second component. No. Not at all. In fact, what I expected would be my strongest score tied with 2 of the other styles at the bottom of the score sheet. I’m pretty dominantly one style of communicator, according to the quiz.
I suspect that my club was pretty much in agreement with the quiz results.
We often have blind spots in how we communicate with others because… well, it’s just obvious to us that there’s one right way to communicate and we do it that way. Sometimes we have a hard time understanding people who use different styles that what we personally use. This quiz opened my eyes to the lopsided nature of my style and made me reconsider how I might address audiences who didn’t use mine. And since that is the goal of this project, I guess I am a genius.
Classic program Toastmasters, there is nothing in the old program that gives us this kind of information. This might be, in my mind, the most critical reason that Toastmasters needed to update the education program. This information about my communication style and recognizing how to adapt to speak to others was useful to me. Unlike our leadership styles, which I’m told are pretty fixed because of our personalities, our communication styles can be changed up based on how we want to relate to our audiences.
Our Audience Determines Our Communication Style
Which, when you think about it, makes sense. If you’re giving a persuasive sales type speech, you’re not going to be using the same techniques and style as you would when you’re giving a technical briefing. So communication style is about awareness of your audience and the message you want to give them.
This reminds me of a pitcher in a baseball game. The pitcher can just throw the ball, but the best pitchers know the batters. The pitcher will know what the batters can and can’t hit. They will have a strategy to win the game. When we’re the speaker, we need to have a strategy that will reach our audience. Those strategies are techniques that Pathways will be covering more in Level 3, but I hope that you’re picking them up from other speakers in your club.
But however good your speaking techniques are, it still comes down to your audience.
Communication Style Speech Project
After you take the test, your speech project is to
Deliver a 5- to 7-minute speech at a club meeting about your communication style and its impact on your professional and/or personal relationships. If you are uncomfortable discussing your communication style, you may speak about the communication styles you have encountered and how they impact you.
This is one of those speeches with rather confining limits on it. In our last podcast, I talked about the power of constraints and how we get more creative. This is definitely one of those occasions where you’re going to have to think outside the box to produce a speech that represents you.
Because we only have 4 styles of communication presented in this project, finding a way to present this material may be a challenge. I recently heard an interview with John Cleese of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. He said
Sometimes you don’t have much and you have to improvise. That’s sometimes when the very best ideas come through.
I’m hesitant to make suggestions on how to make a speech longer. It’s not a common problem unless you haven’t done your prep work. But you can decide which speech format you want to use. I can imagine several ways to use the different categories:
- Chronological – how do we change how we speak over our lifetime?
- Informational: Compare and Contrast – one style compared to another.
- Demonstration: showing different styles
- Interactive: using the audience to participate.
You can see there are plenty of options for a speech project presentation.
It’s all about the audience. When you know who you’re speaking to, the creation of your speech goes a lot easier.
Think about your audience and practice this project. And give the Toastmaster of the Day a good introduction so your audience will be prepared for you. You can find a link to our Pathways Speech Project introduction form on the website or you can go to toastmasters101.net/intro/.
Communication Style Quiz Project x2
If you’re repeating this speech project, see if you can compare what your style was the first time you took this quiz and what it says now. How have you changed? Did you think you needed to change after taking the speech the first time (I did!) Let me know if you changed – I really want to know.
In our next podcast, we look at the required speech projects and the true start of the Pathways specializations.
Our music is from Incompetech.com which is now incompetech.filmmusic.io. Nice improvement to the website, Kevin!
"Mariachi Snooze" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Podcasting is fun?
The music from Monty Python’s Flying Circus ends in a classic Python fashion: with a fart.
But should I put it on the podcast?
To fart or not to fart – that is the question/whether tis nobler in the podcast to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous District 10, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by dropping the fart, survive.
So, since taking counsel from several friends, I’ve edited out the final fart. I miss it too.