In this post, I want to talk about using enthusiasm in your communication and presenting. For the backstory of why I chose this topic today, I am the founder of TechSnips. We are a small start-up that brings in different IT professionals, developers, technology professionals of all kinds and then coaches, mentors, and trains people to do training courses, snips, little videos, things like that, screencast and just generally how to present themselves better in a manner that students can understand and people watching their videos can understand and make their presentations more engaging. As part of that, myself and my VP of content Anthony Howe, we’ve learned a ton over the past eight months of doing this and I’ve noticed a lot of trends that I want to talk about.
Lack of Enthusiasm
The first one is lack of enthusiasm. That’s the big thing I want to talk about today because it seems like tech professionals are left brain introverted, kind of quiet. We really don’t speak our mind and be really authoritative a lot and we tend to just kind of stay monotone, stick to exactly what we need to do, nothing more. The reason I can talk about this is I am exactly like this and, to be honest with you just talking like this kind of talking up, figuring out how to come out of my comfort zone a little bit. That’s one of the reasons why I started these CarTalks because I’m forcing myself to show more enthusiasm than I would normally have. You know, the facial gestures and the hand signals and everything like that. I’m typically pretty subdued in a lot of the things in my normal life and this is an opportunity for me to practice. That’s one of the reasons why I think TechSnips is so good for a lot of people because it gives them an opportunity to practice and to get feedback from myself and other people, other contributors in that community.
You Are Going to Feel Stupid
There are a few tips that I want to tell people, to TechSnips contributors now or maybe people that will be contributors in the future, or really just anybody that’s wanting to communicate with more enthusiasm and to be more engaging, so people actually understand and hear what you’re talking about. The first tip that you’re going to feel on a screencast when nobody is around, you’re going to feel really stupid talking. You’re going to feel like really crazy like. “This is an awesome episode of CarTalks everybody, I’m really excited about this!” You have to keep the message personal but, you have to kind of up the enthusiasm a little bit.
So, you can’t be overly over-the-top, this extroverted sales guy or something that I’m completely not. You would come across as fake. But, you want to keep it as personal as you can but kind of take it up a notch or two in the enthusiasm level because if you do, it becomes much more engaging and still realistic. You don’t sound fake like you are just adding on the fake layer of enthusiasm just because you sound stupid.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Another one is practice. Practice, practice, practice doing the same thing over and over again. Find every opportunity to talk like this because eventually what you’ll find is once you come to a certain routine you won’t talk like this all the time. Like, I’m talking now, normally my conversation level is like this. I sort of talked pretty monotone and I’m generally giving a conversation or talking to somebody, but you know when I’m doing a CarTalks I kind of take it up a notch and it engages you and it kind of grabs people’s attention a little bit better. Yet, I don’t feel like I sound fake. So, the first tip is to keep it personal but take it up a notch or two and try to be engaging.
The second tip is to practice. Find every opportunity you can to talk to bring up the notch and be more engaging and enthusiastic. I use CarTalks as an example as a way to practice a lot. A lot of people are using TechSnips, the videos go on YouTube, do training courses, do user group presentations, get feedback from other people. Ask them how engaging you are, were you entertaining, exciting? Did they learn, and was it fun to learn?
Make It Fun
That’s another big one, the third tip is try to make it fun for other person to understand what you’re talking about, to learn more about what you’re trying to teach because if you make learning more engaging and fun then you will get your message across and you’ll be a lot more popular in terms of somebody that is an expert, somebody who knows everything there is to know about a topic and can answer any questions that you have but he’s talking like this, “I’m an expert in whatever I do, I can do anything. I’m much smarter than you.” Yeah, this is not the way to talk if you want to be a great author, a great presenter, a great communicator.
Do Not Be Cocky
Another one is like I just mentioned and not act like you are smarter than the other person. You know you can be enthusiastic, but you cannot be enthusiastic to the point where like, “I am so enthusiastic because I am awesome!” You can’t come across as cocky, you need to come across as authoritative and confident, but you don’t need to come across as cocky. Let me give you an example, so let’s say that I’m trying to teach somebody about how to create a text file in Windows. So, to create a text file you right-click on the desktop and create a new text file. So, let’s say I’m going from the cocky point of view. So, create a text file, all you do is right-click on the desktop and then click new text file. It’s pretty easy.
Obviously and Just
Another one is using the word obviously. Well it’s just completely obvious, you know if it’s obvious when you’re stupid if you’re not beginning it, so you know obviously you right-click on the desktop and you click new text file. “Just” is another word. Just do this or obviously do this versus ‘to create a text file in Windows, first we need to find the desktop, to do that blah, blah, blah, then you right-click on the desktop and what you’ll see is a menu that comes up once the menu comes up then you just click on a new text document or new text file and you’ll see that a new text file is created.’ So, you still use the same level of enthusiasm and the same level of vigor, but you don’t sound like you’re using that enthusiasm or whatever to sound like you’re egotistical or cocky because it sounds terrible.
Those are a few tips that I’ve provided to you today, there are all kinds of other ones. I need to share in a blog post or something some of the review requirements and guidelines that we have for TechSnips but the biggest problem that I’ve seen with people in the IT space is just we need to take a page from sales and marketing because nearly everybody does not have the kind of enthusiasm that they need to have. Nearly everybody, 95 percent of the people are just extremely boring, you just fall asleep even if the content is the most interesting content in the world, you just want to fall asleep and just click off and do something else because they’re not engaging, they’re not entertaining, they’re don’t inject little jokes or little quips or go off script sometimes. They all sound robotic and sound like they’re reading from a script.
We all need to loosen up a little bit and have a drink or something before we do a screencast or a talk or are talking to a bunch of people, communicating with people. Just loosen up a little bit and it’s going to take some practice if you’re not that kind of mentality, but I assure you if that if you continue to practice, continue to get feedback, continue to get better at this, you’ll learn that it’s not quite as hard as what it may seem.