Friday, April 24, 2015

The weekend read

It's Friday, communicators, the day that's like dessert at the end of a long meal week. To celebrate, I've curated a collection of delectable ideas, leads and reads, shared them via @dontgetcaught on Twitter, and curated the best of the lot here for you. Sweets to the sweet:
Sample these additional treats: sign up for my free monthly newsletter, buy my new ebook on moderating panel discussions, or let me know how we can work together in 2015 with an email to eloquentwoman at gmail.com.

Got a panel coming up? Whether you're a conference organizer, speaker, or moderator, you'll have a better panel--and a sparkling discussion--if you plan with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. At just $3.99 in all ebook formats, it's like having a coach with whom you can prepare and bring on stage with you.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Live-stream video apps: Will they reshape your comms strategy?

It's here: Apps now make it easy for anyone observing an event to broadcast it online, in real time. Online video, always the strongest of social options, just got more powerful.

If you haven't yet caught up with the advent of easy live-streaming, right now it seems to be a battle between Periscope, Twitter's live-stream app, and Meerkat. Both broadcast live streaming video to Twitter, and when Periscope launched, Twitter cut off Meerkat's access to its social graph, creating a flurry of publicity for both apps, including:
For communicators, once you get beyond test-driving these apps, it's time to take a step back and consider the impact Periscope and Meerkat will have on your efforts. What will your company or organization do when users broadcast your event for free? That's already happening in the music industry, where singer Katy Perry, speaking of concert live streams, says "embrace the future." Will you be ready for that in your industry or sector? Are you training your executives to understand the nature of the fishbowl they're in when they speak in public? Even though some observers doubt that many people will jump to live-streaming what they are observing, all it takes is one to make a difference, and you should be anticipating that one. In the real tradition of "don't get caught," you should be ready to march forth without having to slam the live-streamer for the mistakes your spokes-folk make in public. After all, they're sharing your stuff. Make the content great.

Live-streaming apps also are expected to have an impact on the news business, and with it, media relations. Some think Periscope and Meerkat will be the new Twitter for reporters, an appealing place for news junkies and reporters to hang out. And Periscope could make Twitter an even more powerful news source, thanks to the veracity of live-streaming video: It's more difficult to doubt a tweeted report if there's real-time video rolling in it. As Journalistics puts it, "every smartphone is now the camera crew – a crew that is already on-site, ready for you to cut over to their live feed and take you to the scene as the story develops." Time for you to build that assumption into your strategies, training, and mindset, communicators.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Paul Riismandel)

Got a panel coming up? Whether you're a conference organizer, speaker, or moderator, you'll have a better panel--and a sparkling discussion--if you plan with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. At just $3.99 in all ebook formats, it's like having a coach with whom you can prepare and bring on stage with you.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The weekend read

As this weekend gets started, I'm at the Spring Speechwriters and Business Communicators conference in Cambridge, UK. I helped get things going with my workshop on what goes into a TED-quality talk on Wednesday, followed by learning from colleagues at the conference yesterday and today. But I still had time to share my finds of the week via @dontgetcaught on Twitter and curate them here for you, communicators. Let's get that weekend started, no matter what time zone you're in:
Want more? Just sign up for my free monthly newsletter, order my ebook (below) or let me know how we can work together in 2015 with an email to eloquentwoman at gmail.com.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Douglas Pfeiffer Cardoso)

Got a panel coming up? Whether you're a conference organizer, speaker, or moderator, you'll have a better panel--and a sparkling discussion--if you plan with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. At just $3.99 in all ebook formats, it's like having a coach with whom you can prepare and bring on stage with you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

You're a top communicator. Why would you need a speaker coach?

(This is a post I originally published in 2012--and stand by today, with a few additions. Is it time you thought about your own professional development as a speaker, instead of pushing other people on stage?)

In every communications director post I've ever had, I saw myself as a behind-the-scenes person, a strategist and advisor. And in every one of those posts, my image was the opposite: Fellow executives described me as the out-front person, and made all sorts of assumptions about my public speaking and presenting skills. It felt as if those bars were set higher for me. No one would expect the finance director or the head of operations to hit one out of the park in a presentation, but the communications pro? Had to be excellent. So I learned, quickly.

No wonder I get puzzled queries from communications pros about public speaking, many at my blog The Eloquent Woman or in the training sessions I conduct across the country. They're apologetic, or defensive, or just confused. "Shouldn't I already know how to present? After all, I'm a communicator," or "Why don't I feel more confident about speaking? Shouldn't I be a natural at it?" or "It's too late now--I've been doing this for years." And while they might create a budget to provide such training for other executives, rarely do they pay for their own coaching or training.

Here's the truth: Just as you weren't born a writer or strategist, you weren't born a great public speaker or presenter. It's a skill we give short shrift to in the business world. Plenty of people give presentations, but few are taught how--or what they could do better. If the skills are learned at all in a formal setting, they're rarely updated for new technologies or best practices, even though the art of presenting has moved light years from what you may have started out with. And just like others, you might be an introvert who needs a different approach to presenting, or a young executive who needs to establish credibility, or a seasoned pro who's picked up some bad habits and needs to unlearn them.

Being a communications pro doesn't mean you're perfect, after all. In fact, I've seen communicators so used to putting their experts out in front that they stumbled when they had to do the honors at a speech, presentation or media interview. Maybe that's too comfortable a position for those of us working "behind the scenes."

If you're busy coaching others, you may think it's shameful to get coaching yourself. But as my coach tells me, "it's a poor chef who fails to keep her knives sharp." And as I found out, some of the resistance to getting coached, at some level, may be a fear of your own power as a speaker. Why not find out about that skill, before you dismiss it out of hand? You'll also find that you're viewed as more trustworthy by the speakers you are coaching if you yourself have been through the process and are an active speaker.

Professional development opportunities--good ones--get harder and harder to find as you advance in any field, and that's true in communications as well. Over time, I've found that the skills I've developed in public speaking and presenting are the ones I use every day, just as much as I use that other skill we spend so much time developing, writing. They work at networking events, in one-on-one conversations, in speeches and presentations, when I have to give impromptu remarks or introduce someone--or just explain what it is I do. And if you believe, as some do, that we'll all be entrepreneurs and free agents at some point, take it from me: Presenting well and with confidence will make your business thrive.

These days, I offer training in media interview skills, public speaking and presenting, among other services, and I'm happy to tailor communications training for communicators. While you're scheduling training for your experts and fellow executives, maybe it's time to put some on the schedule for yourself. You can choose to customize that training, by the way. Ask me about a session that gets at your weak spots, prepares you for a bigger audience or a different presenting task, or gets you ready for your next professional move. I've been there, myself, and I'd be happy to help you. Email me at eloquentwoman AT gmail DOT com to find out how we can work together on your presentation skills.

Got a panel coming up? Whether you're a conference organizer, speaker, or moderator, you'll have a better panel--and a sparkling discussion--if you plan with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. At just $3.99 in all ebook formats, it's like having a coach with whom you can prepare and bring on stage with you. Already bought it? Give it a review on Amazon.com.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The weekend read

This week, I'm across the pond in London, where I held forth at Public Speaking Question Time with Denise Graveline, taking on an all Q&A program for the Fabian Women's Network. But it's time for you to jump into the pond that we call the weekend, communicators. There, you can swim around in the great finds, leads and reads I shared this week via @dontgetcaught on Twitter, curated here every Friday just for you. Get your feet wet, at a minimum, with this pool of delights:
Here's a vast lake to explore: sign up for my free monthly newsletter, order my new ebook shared below, or let me know how we can work together in 2015 with an email to eloquentwoman at gmail.com.

Got a panel coming up? Whether you're a conference organizer, speaker, or moderator, you'll have a better panel--and a sparkling discussion--if you plan with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. At just $3.99 in all ebook formats, it's like having a coach with whom you can prepare and bring on stage with you.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Flickr Commons hits 100 institutions: A visual motherlode & case study

The Flickr Commons--a collection of images that are out of copyright--just welcomed its 100th institution to share old photos in the collection, freely available for use. A seven-year-old project that started as a pilot, the Commons is now an incredible resource for the institutions and users alike.

Here's the great thing about pilot projects, carefully done and beautifully measured: They make it possible for the rest of us to copy what works. Here's the short summary of what Flickr Commons has done:
The Flickr Commons was started in 2008 when we joined with the U.S. Library of Congress for a pilot project. Since then, it has grown to include galleries, libraries, archives, and museums around the world, from small volunteer projects like the Costic─â Acsinte Archive, to the millions of images uploaded by the British Library
In total, there are more than 4 million images in the Commons. The collection has been viewed more than 1.3 billion times and the Flickr community has added 53 million tags, 1.5 million faves, and 220,000 comments.
It also reports great numbers for participating institutions in terms of both views of and engagement with their photo collections. Engagement with photos includes free help for the institutions as users are identifying who's in them, who took them, the photographic equipment used, and more:
The Library of Congress, for example, noted in this blog post that they have had 178 million views to their account, as well as more than 60,000 followers. They have also had great feedback from the Flickr community, including useful metadata added to nearly 7,000 of their images. “For the Library of Congress, Flickr is still the best way to get new, verifiable information to describe our old photos,” said Helena Zinkham, Chief of the Prints and Photographs Division.
But you don't need to be a major national institution to see great traffic. The San Diego Air and Space Museum's photo collection on the Commons (including the spectacular shot above) has had 90 million views and more than 1 million tags added to its photos.

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't find good, free photography to use. Not with this collection around. But more important, have you added your own out-of-copyright photos to the Commons? It's a great way to tap into your company, university or nonprofit history, and build a community of fans you never knew you had. Your founding story and throwback photos are a great way to engage former employees, historians, alumni and more.

Got a panel coming up? Whether you're a conference organizer, speaker, or moderator, you'll have a better panel--and a sparkling discussion--if you plan with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. At just $3.99 in all ebook formats, it's like having a coach with whom you can prepare and bring on stage with you.