Four Voice Types

present with people Mar 11, 2024
Be You




I just wasn’t comfortable being me. So, I became someone else.

For years I tried to be someone else when I stood on a stage. I thought that was the only way I could truly speak like a leader and communicate effectively. Can you relate? Have you ever been there?

I tried to be someone who wasn’t funny but instead would dazzle the crowd with technical words and depth. The reality is, I’m the opposite of those things. I am funny. I am simple. I tell stories and weave leadership and communication skills throughout the story.

I’m not going to wow you to the point where you say…’that was deep’. I love listening to those kinds of speakers and they have helped me immensely. But, that’s not me.

If you want to learn how to speak like a leader, you have to just be you. Whether that’s how you write posts on social media, communicate in a meeting or present in front of people, stop trying so hard to be someone else. It is okay to learn what you can from other leaders, but when we start to copy, it takes away from how we were wired to communicate. Not to mention, it’s just weird.

Just be you.

Let me ask you a question. Do you know how you are wired to communicate?




One of the best speakers on the planet, Jeff Henderson says that one of the most effective techniques for understanding how you’re wired is to discover what he calls your “dominant presenter's voice.” These are the four present voices of leadership:

  1. The Teacher: You have great content and depth. You love to dive deep into a subject and present ideas that your audience may have never heard before or thought. The weakness for this voice is that you may not have a strong connection with your audience. 
  2. The Motivator: You are action oriented and enthusiastic. The first part of your presentation is easy because you’re passionate. But, in time, you can lose that passion or the ability to keep your audience engaged at the same level. 
  3. The Storyteller: You connect with the audience on a deeply personal and emotional level. If you’re not careful, the weakness for this voice is that you can lose focus and direction. You have to make sure your story has a great purpose and connects with the big idea statement. 
  4. The Visionary: You help us see things in a new and exciting way. You bring a dream to reality and get people to follow along. The weakness is sometimes the ‘how’ is lacking and creates a breakdown in your audience's minds. 

I wonder who came to your mind as you read through each of those. And I wonder which style is your dominant voice. At times, each of those voices and styles will make their way into your speaking, but there is great freedom when you figure out the one that is most comfortable.

Once you figure out your dominant voice, lean into it. You may use the other voices as well, but try to really lean into the one that comes naturally to you.


By Jason Raitz - President, Speak with People

Jason loves watching baseball, listening to Whootie and the Blowfish, and decorating his walls with posters. He is married with five kids and currently lives in Florida.