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Beyond Bullet Points - Speaker Engagement and Confidence

Beyond Your Buulet Points Speaker EngagreementEngagement and Speaker Confidence

Engagement is about conversation. Any conversation, whether on a stage, face to face, or this online like this; is a 2-way process.,  It's about give and take and has to  be a conversation. And when it comes to keynotes and presentations it is much more than a bullet list!

Talking "At" People is So-o Old School!

The word engagement has made a come back, and probably as a result of social media. On Twitter people can have a conversation straightaway. You can chat with a big brand or celebrity and you get a level of engagement that is real-time. Consider how President Trump uses Twitter to engage his followers. "Nowadays it's more about ROE - return on engagement. as opposed to ROI - return on investment, " says my mastermind buddy Barnaby Wynter of The Brand Bucket Company.

Recently, I hosted a podcast with communications expert, Steve Bustin. He said; "To me it’s about this idea of a two-way conversation and I’ve done some research into engagement and I’ve started to develop my own theories around it and I think there are five things that you need, really, to make engagement and this is whether you’re talking one to one or one to many it’s the same thing.

1. You need curiosity

I think you have to be curious about the person or people you are speaking to or you are communicating with. As a business you need to be curious about your customers, who are they, what makes them tick. If you’re not then I just think you’re never going to engage with them properly because you’re never going to understand them. I also think curiosity is interesting because I think you can turn it around and say we also as people and as businesses need to be a bit curious.

I think something that makes people go, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that,’ or, ‘Tell me more about that,’ is instantly engaging. That’s why I love the fact that you asked me for three things that people wouldn’t necessarily know about me because immediately you give people a chance to be curious about me and I think if I’m now speaking i have to be curious about other people and that can be right down to things like research them and finding out who you’re talking to and tracking them online and all that sort of stuff. There are strategies for it but it’s also just approach. I think that is one of them.

2. Diversity is important

And this isn’t just in the HR meaning of diversity but you have to communicate in diverse ways through diverse channels, using diverse tools, props, all those sorts of things. Again, if you are just doing one thing it’s going to get very dull, very quickly so I think diversity is important in engagement. If people are bored they’re not going to engage.

3. Be Generous

Generosity is important and is a massively underrated virtue in business. I hear a lot of people say, ‘Oh yes, I give away a free ebook,’ and it’s like, ‘Ok, do I have to give you my email address to get it?’ ‘Oh yes you do, it’s data collection,’ in which case that’s not generosity, that’s a transaction. I am giving you my data in return for something. If you want to be truly generous give it away, because actually then people will come back, people will experience you, will engage with your expertise, with your content and will come back. If you are hiding everything behind some sort of transaction, whether that’s data collection or money or whatever, that is not generosity and I think generosity in a business or in an individual is beautifully engaging and I think companies that do it well, businesses that do it well really see the benefits.

It doesn’t mean you are always going to give stuff away for free but I think that first contact, that the first engagement has to be generous rather than transaction driven.

4. Develop your Personality

The fourth one is personality. I think there has to be personality in everything you do, every way you communicate and that’s not just about jazz hands, it’s not about being kooky it’s about actually being you. It’s about people understanding who you are as a person. It is about having fun, being relaxed, being engaging. I think the people who don’t put any personality into their communication, into their interaction, into their business really struggle as a result.

5. Humanity

Without humanity you’re never going to engage. You have to engage on a human-to-human level. That’s as simple as not being a bot. If you are scheduling your tweets you’re a bot. It is not going to engage, you are never going to engage. I do not schedule social media posts at all. If I’m on social media I’m live. If that means people don’t see my tweets for two or three days because I’m busy doing other things, so be it. But it means when people do see me on social media they know they can engage with me because I’m there. I do think that humanity is right at the heart of it." Thanks Steve!

Keeping it in Balance

Personally I use HootSuite to Tweet. However thanks to Steve's comment about being a bot, I stick to 3 or 4 scheduled Tweets around 9am, noon and 7pm each day; the different time slots cover my international following. I also use HootSuite to send pre-planned Tweets during keynotes to my Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook Page accounts.  More on Social Sharing in Public Speaking.

Using an automated service saves time and effort. It's one less thing to worry about; especially if you run a number accounts with team members. At the weekend my style is less planned; more relaxed, spontaneous, fun and fluid.

Perhaps it is a case of finding out what works for you, then creating a clear social media strategy around that.  It was encouraging and serundiptious to find a digital expert on a train trip back from London this week. Here's what Joana Ferreira had to say on this topic:

"I agree that humanity is important. And that it’s always going to be more authentic if you are Tweeting live or posting live. But especially when you are trying to grow your audience and especially on a fast moving platform like Twitter, Quantity is quite important and being there consistently and in a timely manner is going to get you that audience from an early stage. I don’t think there is anything wrong with actually scheduling your posts on social media so long as you interact live at some point; whether that’s once a day or once every other day. Or simply making sure that you are getting those notifications on your phone so you can reply immediately. As long as it’s you that’s writing the posts and it’s your voice and your tone and your personality then scheduling is not a problem.” Joana Ferreira Senior Marketing Manager at Fast Web Media. No wonder I love travelling on Virgin Trains! I meet such fascinating and talented people! 

The Why Where and When of Networking is about networking on trains, boats and planes :)

For more Public Speaking Confidence click here.