By Dave Mastovich
Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to get back on the road and do in-person speaking engagements.
Keynotes, half-day workshops, all sorts of chances to get in front of audiences and spread the No BS Marketing gospel to leaders in business, healthcare and senior living organizations.
I take the time to help people to communicate better on Zoom as one part of the workshop.
Although we’re back to using some live and in-person work, the hybrid approach is going to be the way for the foreseeable future because of all the changes associated with a global pandemic.
That means Zoom, WebEx and all those other ways of meeting online are going to remain a viable communication vehicle.
The beginning of just about every online meeting starts with what I call “tech and talk.”
This is the first 7 to 10 minutes of people getting on — someone joining the meeting right on time, and someone else coming on a minute or two minutes late.
Inevitably, somebody has a tech problem. People begin to talk and somebody says, “You’re on mute.”
And then there’s small talk. What happened yesterday in the news or at work. Somebody ran into somebody else. A cool show was on TV.
A better approach is to take those 10 minutes and leverage the power of storytelling to improve the productivity of your meeting, to enhance the stories that you tell, to improve the storytelling abilities of everybody, and to make each other aware of all the good stories going on at your company.
Say you have a regular weekly meeting that has four, five or six people in it. Instead of letting the tech and talk grind out seven to 10 minutes, start off the first portion of the regular meeting by saying, “Today, we’re going to go around the Zoom, and each of us is going to tell a quick story about a client or customer success in your particular area that you’ve seen in the last 60 days.”
That’s not a difficult task to come up with that story. In fact, most of the people, and their leaders probably will have two or three stories and have to choose which one.
It’s also not a difficult task to tell that story in a minute or two.
So, you say to everybody, “We’re going to take a minute while everybody thinks of their story, and then we’re going to start with…” You pick somebody to start the actual exercise.
What happens inevitably, one of the stories just about everyone might’ve heard. That’s OK.
You gain from repetition of message. We all need to hear things again and again until it becomes a part of our mindset and our memory.
Week No. 2 comes around and you say, “This week, we’re going to each talk about a client or customer challenge that’s happened in the last two months. If it’s been all great, that’s a success story. If not, we write it down and we say we’re not going to hijack this meeting, we’re going to put that in a list of things to get to.”
You might have identified a problem that not everyone was aware of. And then in the other ones, you hear about the problem and how it was solved. So again, it becomes a client success story.
The third week, you say, “What’s a specific task that everyone on your team knows is important to drive what you guys do?”
Everybody then has to talk about what they do. It’s educating each other and you get creative and you keep coming up with these questions for four or five, six weeks.
Your tech and talk now has a purpose. It helps you to become more intentional about storytelling. It helps leaders to realize that they have to focus on clarity and brevity. And they’ll be able to tell stories better.
It helps educate everybody about each other and what everyone does, which is important for communication and productivity.
And because you’re hearing about successes, that is a motivator. And because you’re hearing about challenges, that is a challenger.
It is all-around beneficial, and you’re able to do it during those 10 minutes of tech and talk.
Author and marketing trailblazer Dave Mastovich has helped companies transform their messaging and improve their Marketing ROI for decades. He’s founder and CEO of MASSolutions, host of the No BS Marketing podcast and author of the book Get Where You Want to Go Through Marketing, Selling and Story Telling. His blog, Light Reading, has been featured in over 50 media outlets with readership of more than 1 million.