Becoming a fabulous and engaging speaker is easy when you have the right tools. The best speakers and messengers are those who are able to make mistakes, embrace their imperfections and tell a good story. Being aware of the four possible personality types can be a really helpful way of constructing a speech to cater for a diverse crowd. Using the 4-mat system (devised by Bernice McCarthy) for delivering information satisfies your audience on all possible levels of engagement. 4-mat is a great way to make sure your speech or workshop engages everyone inclusively. These are the four major personality types Bernice McCarthy has identified. If you can satisfy each of these, you’ll be an all-round favourite with your crowd!
1. The Divergers – these are the ones who need to know why before they can begin anything. Trainers and speakers need to give them a reason why they need the information contained in the workshop straight up as this satisfies their natural tendency to consider a situation from all different perspectives. Divergers are often counsellors, personnel trainers and humanities or social science professionals. Always start your speech or presentation with ‘why’ your information is important to satisfy this part of your crowd first.
2. The Assimilators – these people need facts to get a conceptual understanding first. They are the people who ask ‘what’ something means and what it is you know about the subject (its historical basis, its factual concepts). They love having details and specific information in a logical concise form. Elaborate on ‘what’ your information is, its history, its facts, after you’ve explained why it’s important.
3. The Convergers – these people love to ask how things work. They are best at finding practical uses for ideas and theories and love to try things out. Trainers and speakers need to give these people juicy hands on activities so that they can practically apply information to see how things work. This is the ‘how-to’ part of your speech. It should be delivered with bullet-point precision and real-life demonstration.
4. The Accommodator – these are the people who love to find out if what they know can create new possibilities. They love to ask the question ‘what if?’ and tend to love taking risks and learn by trial and error and self-discovery. At this part of your workshop or talk, you open up the field for questions to satisfy the accommodators’ curiosity.
A good speech or workshop will cycle through the 4 mat model in the following order: start with ‘why’, followed by ‘what’, illustrated by ‘how to’ and complete with ‘what if.’ This way of organising and delivering information has the added advantage of giving you a compelling storyline which you can cycle through again and again.
Knowing the 4-mat model is also a powerful way to deliver information if you find yourself being caught without notes or for times when technology fails and you don’t have power-points or technical assistance to prompt you. You start with ‘why’ your topic is important, you define ‘what’ your topic means, you run through the ‘how to’s’ and then you take questions for the ‘what ifs’. Naturally cycling through these 4 aspects means that you don’t overlook any major chunks of information. This model allows you to gently slip into the realm of expanded awareness and powerful influence without having to stuff around with bulky notes and power-points. Next time you’re having trouble organising your information, give this a whirl!