Following on from previous here are some more examples of personality in public speaking and impact it can have on your ability to persuade.
Another character, Clyde S. impresses people with another personality weakness. He is not quite as crooked as an S. Perhaps he has never been in jail, but listeners feel he must have been on the border line a few times.
S for shady. That tags Clyde well. He has shifty eyes of a fishy color, a smooth tongue, an oily nature. He is deceptive, and when he speaks, listeners feel he always has at least a little
hatchet to grind. Vaguely they wonder if their hats, and coats are
safe in the hall. , ”
He lacks the honest-to-goodaess frankness and straight forwardness of Uncle Hank or Cousin Sue. His manner, and character, causes listeners to feel they should not open their minds and hearts to him.
Harry M. is a dynamic speaker. But he thinks he has a strangle hold on all knowledge. He struts when he speaks, casts arched eyebrows at the common-herd.- “I love me, Oh, so very, very much!” is the impression he makes. His extreme egotism is not a persuasive force because it makes listeners think less of themselves. On the other hand, honest -humility in a speaker is persuasive because it helps listeners feel more adequate. Usually , a speaker can be more persuasive by playing himself down a bit rather than up.
Habitual negativism is not a persuasive element. For instance, Glen T. was as negative as a blue minus sign. Doom rose and set in his vocal tones. He painted the world black, and everyone in it cross-eyed. When he talked he was unable to be persuasive because only a few morbid people appreciate constant gloom.
Contrasting directly with Glen was Walter A., a happy-go-lucky, back-slapping, hand-pumping, sidewalk comedian.
Walt agreed with everything and everybody. He never had a serious thought. He would laugh at a funeral. A carefree, “I don’t give a hoot!” was his constant philosophy of life. He was always too busy dealing out corny wit ever to present a serious idea. Nobody would have expected one from him anyway. Of course he could not persuade.
Surely no one should attempt to cast anybody into a personality mold, while saying, “You should be this way, or like him, or like somebody else.” Imitations do not persuade. “Be yourself,” is excellent advice. But the self a person, develops is patterned largely by his attitudes and habits. When those attitudes and habits, embodied within a personality, incite favorable responses from listeners, persuasion is at work. When the response is negative there can be little or no persuasion. Able character will not always assure persuasive results, but it usually carries a speaker far in that direction.
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