You didn’t sign up for it. But if you’re spending much of the day on Zoom and on conference calls then, congratulations, you also have a broadcasting gig.
To be effective in your job, you now need the skills of a broadcaster. Think about it: Chairing a conference call meeting is a lot like anchoring a radio newscast. Getting called on in a Zoom meeting requires many of the same skills as a TV reporter live shot. A meeting I had last week where I was on a screen and the rest of the participants were in a big conference room was a lot like a TV “talkback.”
Being successful in your job now requires being “on.” Hiding in an office or cube for hours at a time isn’t happening and, if you’re at home, the equivalent isn’t either. We now have to put in our time, on the air, so to speak.
I shared some of this with Steve Herz, who represents broadcasters and helps them build their careers. He’s the author of the new book, written pre-pandemic, “Don’t Take Yes For An Answer,” which contains some of the best career communication advice I’ve ever read. Steve is a pro I trust and when we caught up earlier this weekend, he agreed it’s time, more than ever, to build skills similar to what effective broadcasters use.
From representing sportscasters, for example, Steve says he has learned that their job, like yours often, is about “energizing other people… If you think about a broadcaster, it’s someone who is talking…and there’s a certain ‘on-ness’ to them. They’re speaking with a little more volume and a little more pace. That’s the thing you’re going to have to do.”
In his book, Steve encourages all of us to improve our connections with people (which are the key to business success) by using authority, warmth and energy when we speak. That’s a good checklist to use to make sure we’re being effective in the squares of Zoom or when not on mute on calls. He says, if you can’t figure out ways to be “on,” the stakes are high, especially if you’re in professional services. “You’re just not going to be as effective at your job.”
Admittedly, that can be tough with the long, yet productive, days for many in the current environment. How can you convey energy if you’re lacking it yourself? Steve has some good advice. He says energy can come by considering why you do what you do. He really got me thinking, as we talked. The best professionals, he says, see themselves as problem-solvers. “Once you have that mindset, you find a way to summon energy.” Also, it seems, that’s how you can establish authority.
“People who are tied in emotionally to this idea of serving someone else and that you have a purpose to what you’re doing… then your job becomes a lot easier.”
While work time is now showtime for so many of us, Steve also shares good advice. It’s still vital to be human because that is how true connection is formed. Don’t be a robot. Let your guard down and talk about real life. That’s where the warmth comes in. But, like a good broadcaster, “ask good questions, listen well, have a good conversation.”
As you think about your next work day, take a few moments to, as we old broadcasters say, “Stand By.” The way you communicate really is your key to success.