Guest post by Vickie Musni
As communicators, our job is to deliver a message — to share information, instructions, stories, lessons and motivation. I’ve noticed many communicators lean one way or the other on the Speaking/Writing spectrum. No matter your preference, we need to do both in order to reach our audience and deliver our message effectively. Speaking and writing come in many different forms, so look for ways you can leverage your favorite to help you in other areas.
Watch, and RECORD.
Be observant. And be diligent about recording what you observe. So many everyday moments have the potential to become a great story, article, speech or blog. It doesn’t matter if you take notes by typing into a phone app, recording a snippet of audio, or writing in a little notebook you carry in your purse. What matters is that you find a method that works for you and get in the habit of recording. Write down the funny things that happen or little things you observe. Snap a photo or take a screenshot and save them to a separate album or file. The important thing is to train yourself to actively look for life lessons AND be able to go back and find the photo or quote when you need it.
Do what you are best at first.
Love to write? Look through your notes (or photos or recordings) at least once a week and WRITE about what you saw. Journal. Write blog posts. Publish a LinkedIn article. Even if you aren’t sure what the finished product will be, write out your thoughts on the subject, the lesson you learned, that moment that made an impact on you.
Do you prefer to TALK about what you have seen? Tell the story to a friend or family member. Go Live on Facebook talking about what you saw. My personal favorite is to turn a story into a speech to give at Toastmasters. (Visit www.Toastmasters.org to find a club near you.)
Remember that speaking doesn’t have to mean paid speaking, and it doesn’t have to mean in front of a live audience in a room with you. Speaking can include podcasting, creating videos for YouTube or other social media platforms, giving interviews or short, informal sharing. If you love to speak, find ways to talk about your experiences as a way of exploring which stories have the most potential to be developed into something more.
Whether you consider yourself more of a writer or more of a speaker, focus on what you love most first. Then challenge yourself to try something new.
Turn each story into something “else.”
When you start with the medium you prefer, it will be easier for you to organize your thoughts, flesh out the story or identify the lesson. After you’ve done that, it’s time to take that same piece and turn it into something else. Can you make that article into a speech? Or turn that speech into a blog post? Can you make a collection of blog posts into a book? Use a service like Dragon to transcribe the audio from your video or recording to help you create a written piece if you need a little help getting started. Once you’ve polished a story in your “preferred” mode, it will be easier to try a different medium.
Set little goals.
Have you ever set a big goal for yourself and given up on it early on? (Think January: This year, I’m going to do ______ every day.) What if you just started with this week, or even TODAY?
I’m going to create one 3-minute video today.
Today I am going to record 3 interesting observations that could turn into an illustration.
This week I’m going to write one 5-minute speech.
Build gradually as you turn these little goals into new habits. Use this method to work on your “secondary” skill set. I consider myself a speaker first, and I really have to work at writing. I wrote my last book by telling myself I had to write 750 words a day, first thing in the morning, for three weeks. Use this to try out new methods of communication. If you try something new for one day, challenge yourself to do each day for the rest of the week. Start little, and then do just a little bit more.
Leverage social media communication for both speaking and writing.
Your audience will have different preferences for how they like to receive information. Speaking and writing – in person and virtually – overlap now more than ever. As you are writing and speaking, recording or note-taking, look for short catchy phrases that are easily shared. Use a free site like Canva.com to turn those sentences into a shareable graphic for social media.
Take ONE sentence from that article you just wrote, the speech you just gave, or the video you just recorded and turn it into something you can post on your favorite platform. Link to the related post or video. Give your audience a choice in how much information they are ready to receive. As you look through the above suggestions, be sure you are maximizing all of the opportunities that social media offers communicators.
Of course people tend to have “favorites” when it comes to social media platforms too. Make sure you continue to do what you are best at first. But as you are trying to turn it into something “else” make sure you are using the best platform. Did you know that articles published on LinkedIn are completely searchable? Instead of sharing the link to your blog post by itself, consider publishing content as a separate article on LinkedIn with a “for more information” link to your web site at the bottom. Then use that same “story” to record a Facebook live video. Download that video and put it on your YouTube channel.
Vickie Musni is a wife and mother of four who happens to also be a speaker, writer and local business owner. Juggling many roles has helped her learn some secrets to being more efficient and productive, especially when it comes to time spent online. She is passionate about personality types and sharing what she has learned in her 20+ years as a business owner with others. Connect with her at vickiemusni.com.