Personality tests are all the rage right now. Especially the Enneagram. I love the way Typology Podcast Host, Ian Morgan Cron, explains it. The Enneagram is made up of 9 “types,” it is a tool meant to help you understand “how you show up for life.”

Which, incidentally, involves how you tend to prepare and show up for any presentations you give. If you don’t know what your Enneagram type is, you can take the official test here. The type names and key motivators are taken directly from the Enneagram Institute.

Type 1: The Reformer

Key Motivations: Want to be right, to strive higher and improve everything, to be consistent with their ideals, to justify themselves, to be beyond criticism so as not to be condemned by anyone.

Public Speaking Strengths
  • A comprehensive view of information
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Ability to prove claims
Public Speaking Tips
  • Don’t become your own worst critic or call attention to mistakes
  • Avoid using to many details
  • Show warmth during your presentation, have some fun

Type 2: The Helper

Key Motivations: Want to be loved, to express their feelings for others, to be needed and appreciated, to get others to respond to them, to vindicate their claims about themselves.

Public Speaking Strengths
  • Stellar audience analysis
  • Strong appeals to pathos (emotion)
  • Willing to endure personal sacrifice for your ideas
Public Speaking Tips
  • Don’t over process audience feedback
  • Expect that others might not display your same level of commitment to the presentation
  • Don’t overextend yourself in serving your audience

Type 3: The Achiever

Key Motivations: Want to be affirmed, to distinguish themselves from others, to have attention, to be admired, and to impress others.

Public Speaking Strengths
  • Confidence (all the confidence!)
  • A natural charm driven by the need to be admired
  • Intense performance-driven preparation
Public Speaking Tips
  • Don’t oversell yourself; it can come off as cocky
  • Remember to present for your audience, not for the acclaim it might bring you
  • Don’t let your drive to be the best make you unapproachable

Type 4: The Individualist

Key Motivations: Want to express themselves and their individuality, to create and surround themselves with beauty, to maintain certain moods and feelings, to withdraw to protect their self-image, to take care of emotional needs before attending to anything else, to attract a “rescuer.”

Public Speaking Strengths
  • Incredible creativity and out-of-the-box thinking
  • Emotional strength that allows you to connect with your audience
  • The ability to set the tone or mood of your speech
Public Speaking Tips
  • Don’t get lost in the big picture, provide details
  • Balance pathos (emotion) with logos (logic)
  • Make sure your creative ideas make sense in the grand scheme of the presentation

Type 5: The Investigator

Key Motivations: Want to possess knowledge, to understand the environment, to have everything figured out as a way of defending the self from threats from the environment.

Public Speaking Strengths
  • Strong skills for reasoning and logic
  • The ability to read the room and make improvements to the speaking environment
  • Depth of knowledge and understanding
Public Speaking Tips
  • Don’t present lots of heavy information in a sequence, break it up
  • Make sure your delivery is engaging
  • Think beyond reports; don’t be afraid to tell stories

Type 6: The Loyalist

Key Motivations: Want to have security, to feel supported by others, to have certitude and reassurance, to test the attitudes of others toward them, to fight against anxiety and insecurity.

Public Speaking Strengths
  • Thoughtfulness toward your audience and their perspectives
  • A natural ability to appear trustworthy and authentic
  • Conviction for ideas you care a lot about
Public Speaking Tips
  • Don’t focus too much on audience feedback that you perceive to be negative
  • Focus on your audience rather than your own anxiety
  • Remember to address the solution as much as, or more than, you address the problem

Type 7: The Enthusiast

Key Motivations: Want to maintain their freedom and happiness, to avoid missing out on worthwhile experiences, to keep themselves excited and occupied, to avoid and discharge pain.

Public Speaking Strengths
  • Off the charts charisma and energy
  • The ability to entertain your audience for long periods of time
  • The ability to put a positive spin on things
Public Speaking Tips
  • Make sure your engaging delivery is coupled with solid presentation content
  • Take intentional time to practice and prepare, don’t rely on your ability to “wing it”
  • Don’t sugarcoat tough topics or be afraid to address the difficult stuff

Type 8: The Challenger

Key Motivations: Want to be self-reliant, to prove their strength and resist weakness, to be important in their world, to dominate the environment, and to stay in control of their situation.

Public Speaking Strengths
  • The ability to command the room and draw attention
  • A natural presence of authority
  • You speak from a place of strong convictions
Public Speaking Tips
  • Be flexible and adaptable
  • Make sure to consider other points of view as you develop your content and answer audience questions
  • Soften your language and delivery style when talking about difficult topics

Type 9: The Peacemaker

Key Motivations: Want to create harmony in their environment, to avoid conflicts and tension, to preserve things as they are, to resist whatever would upset or disturb them.

Public Speaking Strengths
  • The ability to see all sides of an issue
  • Natural able to relate with many diverse audience members
  • Strong charm and likeability
Public Speaking Tips
  • Don’t get stuck on too many details, edit yourself
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things when you present
  • Remember that your opinion and presence matters, stand strong in your convictions


If you dig the Enneagram and love taking self-assessments, check out Badge. It’s the assessment we’ve created at Ethos3 to help you discover your presentation persona. Take it now.


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