I have taken the Myers Briggs Personality Test (MBTI) around 15 times, and it consistently comes up with the same answer; Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging or INFJ. This is the rarest of personality types.
So is professional communicator and business storyteller, the craziest profession for someone with this personality type? No it suits me down to the ground. What it requires is that I work at it. Malcolm Gladwell is an introvert who is a true world class storyteller. How does he and I (yes I really enjoyed putting myself in a sentence with Gladwell) speak well? Simply by working at it and turning it into a performance.
“Speaking is not an act of extroversion. People think it is. It has nothing to do with extroversion. It’s a performance, and many performers are hugely introverted.” ~Malcolm Gladwell
There is some small pockets of evidence that introvert CEOs outperform their extrovert colleagues. What is clear though is that when an introvert speaks, they speak deliberately and for a reason. This helps them deliver on point. One the best recent examples of this is Douglas Conant, the former CEO of Campbell’s Soup self describes himself as an introvert. He has leveraged his introvert talents; commitment, attention to detail, empathy and quiet persistence to become and excellent public speaker. He has done this to such a degree that he is now one of the most in-demand public speakers in America.
So where do stories come into this?
Because the brain hardware was fixed around 500,000 years ago our dominant learning style is through stories. A speaker who knows this is half way to ensuring their message is heard.
If a presentation is to be as satisfying as a great meal, then stories are the appetizer. They prepare our mental palate for what is to come. The current master at using stories to open minds is Jack Ma. He strategically begins almost every new topic he talks about with a story to anchor it in the minds of his audience.
One of the great tricks in any presentation is to balance education and entertainment. Too much of either and you can be perceived as either a boor or a clown. Stories do both. Because of our story brain we are simultaneously educated and entertainment. Anyone who uses stories in their presentations is getting the education entertainment balance right.
There is no need to Speak Like Steve Jobs or Speak Like Barack Obama. There is only a need for you to speak like you, a polished, practiced and prepared you.