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THE Leadership Japan Series by Dale Carnegie Training Tokyo Japan

May 5, 2021

The Clubhouse global audio conversation App is hot, hot, hot.  It is only available on Apple iOS so far, but the landgrab is on and massive hours are being invested in this bonseki style activity.  What is bonseki?  This is an original Japanese throw away art, where you create designs in the sand, on a tray and then toss it all out at the end.  That is your Clubhouse conversation, thrown out each day, with no distribution and no repurposing, as yet. Clubhouse might be the next great thing or it may be superseded by copycat platforms launched on Face Book, Twitter etc.  The concept though looks like it will become a permanent feature of our lives, in the same way podcasts have done.  Be careful though fellow leaders, we are now walking on the high wire with no safety net.  We have put our leader personal and professional brands at risk.


If you are asked to give a talk, you usually have time to think about it, prepare, gather visual aids and rehearse.  Despite that most leaders make a mess of the opportunity.  Impromptu talks are at the top of the scale of difficulty for speakers.  Even the most skilled are challenged by this format.  We often see it with expert panel discussions.  The leader does a fine job then falls apart once the questions start arriving and the conversation goes free style.  When they have full control, it all adds luster to their professional and personal brands.  Speaking off the cuff though, sees leaders descend into babbling, swimming through a sea of filler words like ums and ahs and meandering explanations of their point.


Welcome to Clubhouse.  This is unscripted, uncontrolled and ever moving.  If you have been a mediocre public speaker to date, chatting on Clubhouse, exposes your lack of skill to the whole world, rather than to just the confines of a meeting room venue. We are so judgmental today.  We listen to a leader and we extend that first impression to their entire organisation.  If they are terrific, we think everyone down there is smart and capable.  If they are a dud, then we assume the place is full of hopeless types.


When we get our chance to speak on Clubhouse are we conscious that our leader professional and personal brands are at risk?  Most people are working from home, feeling isolated, so for some this is a chance to talk to others and they go for it.  They are not tuned into how they are coming across or the impression they are creating.  At the opposite end of the scale are the thrusting, ever upward types, who are going to build an empire on Clubhouse. They want to have legions of fans come to their Rooms, so that they can sell them something.  They are blowhards seeking to dominate the conversation and show everyone how smart they are.


An alarm goes off in our heads when we hear these modern day snake oil salesfolk.  So how do we navigate between the wall flower who only listens, those making bumbling efforts to string two words together and those dodgy sales sharks who are cruising around the Clubhouse pond looking for victims?


Once you have found the subject matter that interests you and the right group, take two tools with you into the Clubhouse Rooms.  Have a timer set to three minutes to let you know when to shut up and allow others to talk.  This shows consideration and community and Room peers will respect you for that.  On a note pad have some key bullet points you want to speak to.  The conversation moves continuously and the points may change, but always have points ready rather than talking about the first thing that pops into your mind.  Go for considered contributions, rather than unfettered spontaneity.  Rehearse what you will say before you go live.  Even though the actual content may vary slightly the act of practicing will make you sound smooth and relaxed. We like smooth and relaxed


Start with a confident voice and make your points persuasively using voice modulation, pauses, word highlighting, storytelling and no hesitation fluency.  Be clear and concise.  Start by thanking the hosts for allowing you to speak and find areas to praise about the previous speakers. We prefer polite, cooperative people to self-centered self-promoters.  Remember this is your leader brand we are talking about here.  How do you want to be thought of?  Don’t let it unfold.  Decide how you will be perceived as a leader and plan for success rather defaulting to an unplanned mess.  The time invested will make such a difference and it is not hard.  Having some solid self-awareness is the starting point and everything else will move forward and go smoothly from there.