I spent 3 days taking a PR&Communications class at Duke’s Executive Education Center with Dorie Clark https://www.linkedin.com/in/doriec/, an Author, Speaker, and Professor who specializes in communications, re-inventing careers, and career advancement techniques.
Dorie’s Summary: There are many important leadership skills, from setting strategy to driving performance. But you’ll never be able to make full use of those skills if you can’t communicate effectively. Communication is the accelerant that enables you to connect with others, share your vision, and create meaningful results.
Aside from learning new vocab like the word perspicacity, here is also what I learned:
Day 1. Public Speaking: Be Zen, Don’t Show Distress
The audience wants you to succeed. If you fumble or make a mistake, just continue and don’t telegraph distress. No one knows what you were going to say, anyways. The new research on mirror neurons confirms that emotions are contagious. If you stress, they will too.
Content: Don’t overwhelm listeners with words, data, and too many pics. One point per slide. Discuss unique experiences and how you reflect upon them.
Structure: Keep it simple and clear. Follow this format. What is the problem, Why does it matter, What are the possible solutions, What is the Call to Action?
Repeat key points. A politician has to repeat something 7x before a person remembers them.
Key Trick: Start In media-res or in middle of things. Lead with the climax. Then go into the story. Think of a mystery novel and start with the suspense such as, ‘I had my back to the wall and gun at my head then I broke his kneecap and escaped!’ Backtrack from there.
Body: Stand strong like an athletic stance and don’t be afraid to move and come back to a strong stance. Be cognizant of hand movements. Keep hands in the box: Chest to hips and no more than 6 inches out.
Key Trick: Do the Square Dance. When making salient points, rotate to different parts of the room/stage in a square format.
Voice: Modulation is key. Let something pop when it’s important, use a lower tone when more grave and pause to let the audience think. Consider an acting or singing class to learn how and when to project. But, don’t scream above the crowd! (Reference: Howard Dean 18 Second)
Check out a great presentation by Steve Shapiro TedXNasa. In only 6 minutes he says a lot and grabs your attention with the idea that Problem Solving Isn’t Rocket Science.
Day 2. Crisis Management: Respond Rapidly, Create Plans
Follow this process.
1. Do not drag on the situation: A common mistake is for executives to drag the story. There are 3 responses to a crisis: 1. I didn’t do it 2. I did it & I was justified 3. I did it and I’m sorry. If you did it, Just get to 3. Try to make an outcome of the story a 1-day event. The worst scenario is dragging the outcome 1, 2, and then 3.
2. Respond rapidly even if you are still getting information. Control the terms of disclosure.
3. Use your team and constituents to create a plan. Don’t forget the rolls of your legal, PR, HR, and finance team. Loop them in immediately and begin planning.
4. Be clear, speak the facts. Clearly, identify steps to prevent recurrence of the problem.
Key Trick: Tell people what to do. People like to be told what to do and even more so in crises. So take charge and be clear with action items.
Day 3. Social Media: 5 Minutes Per a Day Yields Results
When Dorie started, she wrote 10 blogs for many months of about 700 words. Then she was picked up by the Harvard Business Review and Forbes. Dorie answers the question,’why bother?’ She says, creating Social Proof is very important to verify your actual self in an interview or in-person meeting. It also shows dedication to your area of expertise. This is a must-do activity.
Social Proof is essential both online and in-person. She cites in-person networking as an example of social proof. If you network alone, it is difficult for a person to tell if you are boasting or being humble. So, take a wingman to events. Your wingman should introduce you to your strongest achievements or points. You do the same for them. This immediately creates credibility with a stranger.
Here’s how to do it online.
Create your brand by sharing information how you want people to think about you. To illustrate this brand, curate and share content that is important to or representative of you. Then, create unique content. Focus on LinkedIn and Twitter then expand. As people follow, like and share your content, it will provide social proof to potential partners or employers of who you really are.
Don’t expect results immediately. There is a difference between what’s not working and what’s not working, yet. Be patient, follow the breadcrumbs and work on it for 12-24 months. Not only will new career opportunities find you but your new found knowledge and discipline will help you on current assignments. She cites an example of a salesperson who writes an article on a topic and then references the article in client pitch. That could be a very powerful sales tactic.
LinkedIn: The Most Important Public Perception
People search by keywords so make sure your description has good keywords.
Make a good profile about who you are and where you are going.
Key Trick: Most people are good and describing the past and future (where they want to go). However, people don’t explain the present and how they are transitioning. This transition point is a key aspect to add to the LinkedIn Summary.
Get good professional pictures. Use Dorie’s as a template. https://www.linkedin.com/in/doriec/
Spend 5 minutes per day sharing content or adding content. Make sure you share content that is representative of your future path.
Twitter: Broader Reach and Faster Sharing
Along with LinkedIn, using Twitter will augment your reach.
Again, spend 5 minutes per day reading Tweets and re-Tweeting ones you like. Add some unique thoughts or content.
Stay on brand 90% of the time. Otherwise, make a new account for off-brand activity.
Facebook/Instagram: Stay on Brand except for Instagram
Don’t add extraneous stuff to Facebook that’s too much off-brand. But, Dorie likes cats so adds cats to Instagram. It is part of her online brand, gets likes, and followers. It helps to know she is actually human and not super-hero for career guidance.
Other good reads and references:
Scott Stratten – Unmarketing
Michael Port – Actor http://heroicpublicspeaking.com/
John Jantsch – Duct Tape Marketing
Ben Michaelis – http://drbenmichaelis.com/
Andy Molinsky – Global Dexterity
Erin Meyer – The Culture Map