Do you ever struggle with describing your business clearly and succinctly to friends and family? Do you have a hard time coming up with “good content” for your blog or social media? Do you wish you could do speaking gigs but aren’t convinced you could pull together a compelling talk?
Well, a couple weeks ago I attended a podcasting workshop, hosted by the brilliant Pam Slim and Rob Lawrence at the Main Street Learning Lab in Mesa, AZ (which, by the way, is perfection) and I learned a few new tricks that helped me gain clarity in my own messaging. And I’m dying to share them with you..
During this workshop, we were learning everything we needed to know to produce our own podcasts. (Yes, I’m making a podcast!) One of the exercises was for each of us to record an “Episode 0” for our soon-to-be masterpieces. We were each paired with another participant who interviewed us about our business and the podcast itself. As soon as I sat down in front of the mic, I felt a buzz of nervousness. My brain started racing about what the heck I was going to talk about and how stupid my voice was going to sound and why anyone would care anyway and...and...and.... But there was no turning back now. I wiggled my foot on the stool anxiously and awaited the hand signal to begin.
Guess what happened?
Magically, words that I’ve never before said and connections that I’ve never before made suddenly came pouring out of my mouth. Who knows, maybe my voice did sound stupid, but the words I was saying actually made sense! And just saying those words was helping me to understand my whole purpose for doing this podcast in the first place. It was like I was convincing myself in that very moment that it mattered.
Just plain old spoken words.
Although I learned the practical skills for producing my podcast, here were the more important (and unexpected!) lessons I took away from the workshop:
Have More Conversations
We all have conversations about our business as part of normal operations and sales, but when it comes to talking about your business, more is more. Try to find as many opportunities as you can to have quality conversations. For me, these might be conversations like...
Asking people questions about how they organize their businesses and where they get stuck.
Finding out what people’s real pain-points are related to their back-end operations.
Telling stories of the businesses that have made things work better
Helping people see why all this process stuff matters for their business (because it really really does)
What kind of conversations can you have? The more you practice talking about what you do and asking insightful questions, the better you’ll get at it. And that means you’ll be better at conveying your message to your ideal customer and helping them get to where they’re going. Kind of a win-win, I’d say.
Record Your Conversations
Once you start having conversations on the regular, Rob suggested that you start recording them too (With permission, of course) - Conversations with family, with friends, with clients and soon-to-be-clients. He talked about how many amazing insights and content gems happen organically as you go about your day doing your thing. And when you have a particularly enlightening conversation, he suggested paying a service to transcribe that conversation because you can take those little gems and turn them into social media posts, blog posts, and if you put enough of them together - even a book!
And I can totally see it. How many times have I told someone the story of what I do and how I got here? How many times have I helped someone walk through the operational challenges of their business? And yet these messages seem to shift and morph every time...it’s never quite right. But if I were to start recording, I could also start listening. And in listening, I could craft a message that is clearer and more powerful, instead of trying my best to remember that one brilliant thing I said last time.
So here we go…
For me, these learnings all come down to being more intentional about the conversations I have every day. I’m excited to jump in, but I have to admit, I’m a bit nervous. This medium of voice is so much more personal than the written word. You can hear my uncertainty, my dorkiness, my “trying to sound professional but probably not” tone...all of it. Recording myself sharing my ideas will require a much greater level of vulnerability than I’ve ever needed to have here in my living room as I cozily type in my jammies. This will take practice.
Nevertheless, here we go. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on my podcasting journey. I hope you’ll be listening...