Digital Communication in Publishing
Posted on August 2, 2020 in Oxford
The world is changing. It has been changing rapidly for the last 15 years.
Two of the most game-changing disruptions have been the technological revolution and the social revolution (this second one being, to a degree, a consequence of the first one). The Publishing industry has not been immune to these two cataclysms. A new reality requires a new communication toolkit and although the software is being ‘imposed’ on us, the communication hardware you must use is yours and yours only to decide. The next 3 paragraphs cover the Why, the How and the What of communicating in this brave new world.
WHY is digital communication important to you?
Learning how to speak your way through this new reality is important to you because this new reality is crowded (there are thousands of fellow humans doing a job exactly like yours and the robots will be doing it soon), because being able to speak effectively online, on camera, will save you and your employer time and money, because (as we have all experienced over the last 4 months) the unexpected and the unthinkable can happen and you need to be ready to adapt and because being capable of speaking confidently on video, on social media and on Zoom (or whatever application you use) is a priceless opportunity (I repeat, PRICELESS) to craft, build, sell and monetize Your Personal Brand. Digital Communication is a publicity window, your own personal advertisement space to tell the world why you matter, why they should listen and why you do what you do. I must point out that my concept of personal brand is not related to the fabricated reality some are keen to ‘project’ on social media. For me personal brand is about your values, your principles, your identity. And if these can add value to your network, to your employer, to your community, to the marketing campaign, book or journal you are working on, then you need to use digital communication competently.
HOW can you be more competent in digital communication?
The first revelation to make, which is far from revolutionary, is the need to apply what I call the PPP rule. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare! In the context of your job in Publishing, this means two things:
- Knowing who you will be communicating with
- Knowing the technology they will be using
Secondly, you must apply common sense to what you say: brevity and relevance are key to success. Those of you educated in the West will have a tendency to speak a lot which doesn’t mean you speak better or clearer. Less is More! If you can reduce your thinking to 1, 2 or 3 key points your communication will benefit and those listening will thank you for it. Simplify! If they want to know more, they’ll ask.
The final point in how to make digital communication more effective is related to body language. If you are on camera (and you should be in most instances, unless you are part of a very large webinar or meeting) your eyes, hands and the use of silence will provide you with the gravitas and the authority that can be so difficult to obtain when communicating online. Use your hands to emphasize ideas, make them visible on camera; open your eyes and look at the camera, connect with ‘the other side’. It will make you more energetic, more personal, more human and more persuasive. If you can bring in strategic pauses while you speak, even better. Occasional ‘pit stops’ to breathe, think and digest will be celebrated by your brain and your audience and both your eloquence and your overall communicative impact will benefit as a result.
WHAT specific actions can I take immediately to begin improvement?
The first action to take your ‘speaking online game’ to the next level from tomorrow is the PPP Rule 2.0. Remember the Prepare, Prepare, Prepare rule earlier in this article? This is her sister: Practice, Practice, Practice! Take advantage of the many danger-free situations in everyday life to practise some of the recommendations I am making. Use online conversations with friends, FaceTime calls with family or junior-level, stress-free meetings to experiment with your strengths and weaknesses and try what works best for you. Learn by doing, learn by watching (yourself). I know it’s painful but don’t worry, nobody is going to die.
Nurture relationships, both before and after the big online communication events you will face. If you wait until the big on-camera job interview, or the YouTube video premiere that is going on your employer’s website, or the high-profile video conference with your Leadership Team, it’s too late. Email people before you communicate with them online, send them a note on LinkedIn, connect on social media or even call them to introduce yourself and explain why and how you add value. Afterwards, follow up and add additional information and calls to action to complete that full communication circle.
Finally, find your style and your narrative, your story. If all you do is to share data when you communicate online, you’ll bore your audience and they will switch off. Instead, tell your story.
Summary of the keys to success when communicating digitally:
- Use digital communication to build your personal brand: talk about your principles, values and your identity (and how they fit within your role, project, job, story, employer…).
- Be brief and be relevant: cover a maximum of 3 points and aim to solve problems and remove barriers for others when you speak.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. Every day is an opportunity, don’t wait until the big ‘on camera’ interview or meeting. By then, it’s too late. And nurture relationships before and after you communicate online.
This blog post is based on Carlos’ recent webinar on Digital Communication in Publishing, hosted in collaboration with SYP Oxford. You can watch a recording of the webinar on our YouTube channel.
Carlos Gimeno is a public speaking coach, having held held management and leadership roles with Taylor & Francis, Wiley, Cambridge University Press and the Ingram Content Group throughout his 16-year career in publishing. In 2017 he founded Cg, a Public Speaking Coaching consultancy from where he educates and coaches this and the next generation on the craft of Public Speaking.