As a former CNN anchor and correspondent, I spent years developing my skills for writing and delivering stories so I could capture my audience’s attention through a screen. For a long time I was a media person through and through. I got to meet amazing people and I visited fascinating parts of the world. Media was my job and I absolutely loved it. But times changed so I moved on to seek out newer and exciting challenges.
But the interesting thing is, that I now have to think of myself as a media person all over again. Today, I still serve an audience, but my audience is not on TV. These days, I speak, coach and develop leaders and teams via online courses and internet-based training. My ‘channel’ is now Zoom, Teams etc. and my ‘viewers’ are the paying clients of my virtual training platform Language of Leadership.You have to increase the visibility of your personal 'online channel' so people want to learn from you – Gina London Tweet this!
You’re on camera
What about you? I’m guessing that you used to do all of your training face-to-face. But if your business model is anything like mine these days, you are now more than likely running many (or most) of your workshops and programs via your webcam.
Your clients are now all small square faces on your laptop screen. Your living room / kitchen / bedroom is now a ‘broadcast studio’ and you are ‘on camera’ almost all of the time. Right?
You effectively have your own ‘pay-per-view’ channel where people ‘subscribe’ or ‘tune in’ to be developed / coached trained by you. And that’s how things might be for a while to come!
Think like a broadcaster
On television, people have a choice of channels: CNN, BBC, Channel 7 etc. And just like TV, your customer has a choice of thousands of ‘channels’ (other trainers and coaches) that s/he can choose. If they don’t like yours, they’ll go and find something else.
You are now competing with solution providers across the planet. Trainers in Singapore, Coaches in Belfast, Facilitators in LA. So you need to do everything to increase the quality and visibility of your business ‘channel’ so people want to ‘tune in’ to yours instead.
So if you are now working from home as a facilitator, trainer or coach and you’re working behind a camera, it’s time to start to thinking like a premium ‘broadcaster’. Here are some ideas to stay visible!
6 steps to client visibility
- Adopt a see-me attitude
- Schedule regular broadcasts
- Ask questions live
- Take ownership of connecting
- Aim for short and sweet
- Get personal
1 Adopt a “see me” attitude
When you are working remotely, it’s really important that people frequently see you. When you are ‘live on camera’, your clients get to experience the next best thing to meeting you in person. That means that you must work visibly.
So turn your camera on even if you’re not required to do so. Dress (at least from the waist up) as if you’re coming in to their office. Your appearance may influence your productivity and your impact will always be much greater and more memorable when people can put a face to your voice.
2 Schedule regular ‘broadcasts’
You might be inclined to ‘put your head down’ and wait for your clients to check-in with you. That’s a mistake. Your clients are likely to be juggling competing priorities. They may forget about you so don’t let them. Out of sight fast becomes out of mind.
Ask your client: “can we set weekly check-in calls?” Use a tool like Loom to send your clients quick video messages. “Hey, Lula! Here’s some new feedback.” Then share a screen shot of assessment results. “Here’s an overview of the scores from the 1st workshop. Pretty good, right?..”
3 Communicate ‘live’ where possible
If you can, ask your client to jump on a video call for 5-10 mins. Send them your personal Zoom room link. You don’t always need a scheduled meeting. You’ll get more done via camera than by sending 3 or 30 emails back and forth. Minglr is an example of software currently being developed to facilitate ‘ad-hoc videos conferences’ without the need for invitations and scheduled talk-time.
Remote working depends more on autonomy than in-person meetings yet oftentimes people confuse autonomy with, “I better figure everything out on my own.” Your success is linked to your ability to communicate and get things done as efficiently. Communicating live and as ‘face-to-face’ as possible with your client will improve this and reduce misunderstandings.
4 Take ownership of connecting
It’s in your interest to be proactive. Take the first step in introducing yourself to stakeholders, to decision-makers and to your delegates. Don’t leave it to people to reach out to you. This is your gig. It’s your contract. So it’s your responsibility to get in touch and stay in touch.
Before your project kicks off, make a list of the people you need to get ‘FaceTime’ with. Make a list or spreadsheet of the ‘cadence’ with which you need to reach out. For example, you might connect with your delegates twice a week then connect with their line manager once a week and the CEO once a month. This is where stakeholder mapping can be really helpful in helping you prioritise and customise your high-visibility messaging.
5 Aim for short and sweet
Keep remote interactions brief. Focus on an agenda rather than aimless chats that your clients will come to dread and avoid. This means respecting peoples’ time. Everyone working online has some form of Zoom fatigue so keep your visibility check-ins short. Christoph Riedl and Anita Williams Woolley writing in the Harvard Business Review suggest that when you communicate in short bursts, people are more likely to be attentive and willing to respond to you.
It’s easier to say yes to your meeting request if you suggest 10 to 15 minutes – and stick to it. Punctual, frequent, short. That’s the key to maximum attention. Just like on TV, regular short broadcasts are more welcome than marathons. Almost nobody has time (or patience) any more for 3 hour on-camera monologues! Not on my channel or your channel either.
6 Get personal
2020 marked a sea-change in how people relate to each other over the Internet. People are working from home and all kinds of personal locations. You are just as likely to be be ‘beaming into’ someone’s kitchen or living space as you are likely to be communicating with them in their corporate office space.
To get to know your stakeholders at a trusted level, you have to connect with them at a personal level. When you know how your audience ‘tick’, you can speak to them as individuals and they will be more likely to engage with you. People are going to feel comfortable giving you ‘air time’ on their screens when they feel a connection with you. Get personal. The small stuff matters when building trusted relationships.It’s time to think of yourself as media owner and increase your ‘visibility’ – Gina London Tweet This
Most trainers learned to train and facilitate in classrooms. But communicating on camera and communicating onsite are completely different skillsets. It has taken me years of experience to be able to learn how to present ‘on-screen’ to a remote audience.
This is why organizations like SAP, McKesson, Heineken, Deloitte and Salesforce trust me to work with their senior leadership teams as a communications expert. If you need presenting to camera training, now is the time to get it.
Thanks to Zoom, MS Teams, WebEx etc., you can now serve almost any client audience worldwide through your training ‘channel’. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there is no shortage of other training and coaching providers trying to capture your audience.
To stay top-of mind, you have to be consistently and strategically visible. The most successful media channels are those with the most viewers. It’s time to think of yourself as media owner and increase your ‘visibility’.
What other ideas do you have to increase your visibility? Share your thoughts with me