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Have you ever listened back to your voice on a recording? How about watched a video of yourself delivering a presentation? It can be an uncomfortable experience, but it's also a great way for us to learn how we seem and sound to other people.
Whether it's in person, on the phone or in the social media-sphere, "voice" is critical. It's what distinguishes us from others and in the same way that we would actively seek out personal presentation skills training, our team at Progress believe it's important to take this approach to your social media voice too.
Which is why we were delighted that Todd Van Hoosear, VP Public Relations and Stakeholder Engagement at Hart-Boillot, and a lecturer at Boston University College of Communication, was able to join us at Progress Exchange 2013. During his wide-ranging presentation on Social Media for 2014, he spent some time focusing on the use of voice in social media.
Taking the starting point that Twitter is a conversation tool designed to inform, engage and entertain, it makes sense that when using Twitter as an individual, we need to use our individual voices. Todd explained how:
Click to Tweet: Opinions in the Twitter world are more interesting than facts.
Want a fact? In all likelihood you're going to consult an information source. You wouldn't use Twitter to find out last year's financials for a company you're considering investing in, or for stats on your favourite baseball team. People want to know what you think, not what you know.
Click to Tweet: Becoming a trusted source is a very valuable position
Ever followed someone on Twitter only for your newsfeed to fill up with RT's and ads? It doesn't take long to figure out they're not someone you can rely on to inform, entertain or engage you. We're more likely to trust those that we know, and this includes people we may have met online but not in person. For people to get to know us, we need to share a little. Through our online engagements and the valuable or entertaining information we share, we begin to builds trust and as in real life, it can take time but it's definitely worth it.
Click to Tweet: Remember that PR is storytelling
If you think about our CMO's post on storytelling here you'll know how highly she values this skill when it comes to business. When people hear a story they can relate to, or one that captures their imagination they are more likely to listen. In a sea of digital communication a good story-telling voice will always shine out. But why did Todd make this point? Well, because he thinks:
Click to Tweet: Social media is the ultimate cocktail party
Those of you who are regulars on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ will probably relate to the description of social media being like a big party where you can dip in and out of conversations, meet new people and enjoy some entertaining company. As with parties in real life there are inevitably bores, (and some folks you may not want to meet again) but then there are people who you can't wait to get introduced to, and who you'd happily spend time with. Todd's theory is that these people are 'the hit of the party' and that:
Click to Tweet: The hit of the party is often the best storyteller
Of course they are! It's not going to be the person delivering a monotone stream of data. It's going to be the person with the engaging personality who can draw people out of themselves, make them laugh and emotionally connect with them. The ones who tell stories that create the 'Oh yes! I know that feeling!' moments in us or 'I recognize that kind of person!' which leads on nicely to:
Click to Tweet: Stories require characters
What is a story without a character we can react to? Whether it's rooting for the good guy or really hoping the bad guy gets killed off before the end of the movie, characters make a story. People need to be able to recognize something about you that they can connect to, but that doesn't mean you have to be perfect - far from it because…
Click to Tweet: Great characters have flaws
We all do, don't we? So why pretend we haven't?
Todd's final point summed it up beautifully, he said:
Click to Tweet: Don't be afraid to show your own and others flaws - chances are they're going to be found anyway
This of course doesn't mean that we should take to Twitter to confess every minor mistake we've made since childhood or to point out other people's errors. He meant that because we're human, we have flaws and we make mistakes.
So get out there, make your voice heard, express your individuality and as for those little mistakes? It goes to show we're only human after all.
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