by Peter Watts
The fields of social media, sales, and public speaking, can all benefit when they work together.
If public speaking can be thought of as blending a fine champagne, then the art of crafting social media is more akin to producing a cognac, distilling your message into something intense and immediate.
- It teaches us to think in compelling sound bites
- It teaches us to think in headlines that capture attention
- It teaches us to give a story legs, with reasons for the audience to send the story viral.
- It makes us think about the story-boards behind that story. Where does the message fit with our communication goals? Are we being consistent in our voice?
Disciplines for effective social media are disciplines that equally apply to public speaking. They are also disciplines that are sometimes forgotten by presenters.
A course in social media skills would be valuable learning for many!
Public speaking meanwhile, has ideas to contribute to the world of social media. At the heart of powerful speaking are techniques of word-play passed down since the times of the Greeks and Romans. These techniques of rhythm and repetition, contrast and combination are as wonderful when written as when spoken.
The Romans referred to them as being “the hidden darts”. Their role in a message is to make language stand-out, locking into the mind of the recipient.
In his book “Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little“, Christopher Johnson details how we can bring these techniques to social media messages. He states:
“We need a rhetoric for the web age – a rhetoric of the micromessage.”
This rhetoric of the web age will eventually evolve by itself, but it can come about more quickly if public speaking practitioners and social media professionals increasingly join forces and share their skills.
The disciplines of public speaking and social media are intensely complimentary. At their heart, each have the same goal: to produce audience action through the vehicle of a message.
As Johnson continues:
“A message…is like a key that opens doors.”
Public speaking has been opening doors for millennia. By understanding and combining the skills of social media, we can now open doors further and wider than ever before.
Sales meanwhile, are never afraid to ask for the business. Professional sales people maintain sight of how the product fits to the customer’s needs, and through that understanding develop the unique customer insights that lead to value. They also understand that for every customer journey, there must be an end-point; the sale. It is through awareness of the sales discipline, that public speaking and commercial social media efforts can continually focus on their goal.