Serving your audience #Huddle12
Monday, June 11, 2012 at 10:03AM
Jeff Belkora in leadership teamwork decision-making productivity software customer service

My professional mission is to help people grow in their capacity for leadership, teamwork, and decision-making. I'm proud to be affiliated with the organization CAMPUSPEAK as one of the speakers on their roster. CAMPUSPEAK connects individuals and organizations on campuses nationwide with experts who contribute to student growth and development. The speakers, facilitators, and consultants at CAMPUSPEAK address  issues such as leadership, diversity, career planning, character development, student physical and mental health, hazing, drug and alcohol abuse, and many others.

In addition to serving students, CAMPUSPEAK invests in the roster's professional development through a biannual Huddle, where we learn from external experts and from each other. I want to briefly share some of the lessons I took away from Huddle12.

This summary itself is an effort to enact one of the themes of  Huddle12. We generally don't make enough time for reflection. Neen James and Justin Jones-Fosu reminded us to schedule appointments with ourselves, for example when returning from conferences, in order to protect time for reflection. So here I am, reflecting...

Another theme was the importance of non-verbal communication. Michael Grinder taught us some very concrete principles and techniques on the effective use of pauses, gestures, objects, and space. For example, when arriving at an agreement with someone, you don't really want the agreement to be between you and your counterpart. You want your counterpart to make the agreement with himself or herself. So you externalize the agreement in a document, and when referring to it, invoke the document object, located in a space, with a gesture. You can do this in presentations, and appeal to people's imagination. Michael presented many other ways to make pauses, gestures, objects, and space the focus of our communication. If you are looking to learn pragmatic techniques for enhancing the power of your non-verbal communication, Michael is the best I've learned from so far. Michael mentioned being inspired by, among other sources, Michael Caine's book on acting, which I am going to check out.

Neen James reminded us to think in terms of serving our audience when we are communicating. I found this to be a powerful frame, compared to informing, educating, persuading, motivating or even inspiring. Along these lines, David Mathison taught us powerful ways to play the game of social media, but reminded us that our deepest relationships and interactions are to be found with a small number of friends, family, and colleagues. We learned all about measuring and increasing our Klout scores (a quantitative measure of online influence), but also how to understand the limitations of Klout, both literally and figuratively.

The thing I like most about CAMPUSPEAK is that the organization and its representatives are all mission-driven. When you are mission-driven, you measure yourself against that mission, which is often hard to quantify. Maybe I'm rationalizing, because my Klout score is rather low, but the lesson I really took away is to develop our own scorecards (which may be qualitative as well as quantitative), and then use David's techniques to harness social media and networks for the mission. As an example, you can raise your Klout score by tweeting questions that many people will comment on (e.g. boxers versus briefs?), but have you advanced your mission? If you're looking to learn about social media and networking, while keeping it all in perspective, David is the best I've learned from to date.

I got to spend some time with Mike Dilbeck. I am such a fan of his Everyday|Hero campaign and the Response Ability project. Mike has taken academic work on bystander behavior and made it his mission to spread the lessons of that research. We've all heard about dramatic situations where bystanders could have intervened, but instead ignored calls for help and a victim died in a crowd. The same principles that apply to dramatic situations also apply to more everyday situations, where you might see someone getting drunk, or saying something discriminatory. How do we teach people to intervene rather than stand around? The earlier you intervene, the easier it is. And the more you intervene early, the more you develop that muscle, so it's there when you need it in more difficult situations. Mike also taught us about social media and networking based on his recent successes. He has combined offline and online activities. For example, he's been traveling to conferences teaching workshops and certifying trainers to carry his message forward. Good old fashioned one-to-many-to-many kind of social networking. But he's also using a ton of video and is moving towards having students self-administer the training they need online. He mentioned a bunch of sources of inspiration that I am going to check out, including Scott Stratten of Unmarketing ("stop marketing, start engaging"), and Brendan Burchard of Experts Academy. Some of his favorite tools include Mailchimp, Infusionsoft, joinspeaker, Kajabi, Audio Acrobat, and the Yeti microphone. It's great to get both strategic and tactical tips from someone who has been there and done that.

Somewhat similar to the issue of overcoming bystander inertia, we learned to form accountability partnerships to make changes stick in our own lives. For example, I am now scheduled for an accountability checkup with my partner, Hudson Taylor. (Hudson is an amazing guy who is on an a personal mission to get rid of homophobia and other forms of discrimination in the college athletic scene.) We'll be calling each other to check in on our resolutions. Having a buddy is such a simple but powerful step. Again, I heard this idea from Neen James (in her workshop), Justin Jones-Fosu (in his book), and Tom Healy. I'm grateful for the repetition - that's another principle of making change.

Speaking of needing a reminder, Rick Barnes reinforced the importance of value-focused thinking - putting the why before the how or the what. Among many other things, Rick teaches campus organizations how to recruit members through better articulation of values and mission. It's so interesting to me that many leading organizations do spend significant time on strategic planning, but so few of us do that for our individual lives. It goes back to making time for reflection, which is what you hear from personal productivity specialists ranging from Stephen Covey to David Allen. So important, and so rare.

We concluded the biannual Huddle with a rapid-fire session, in which we all shared a most valuable tip or tool. Some that stood out to me included Triberr (gather your tribe and communicate with them efficiently); unfollowme (for when you hit your Twitter limit); pdanet (I use this too, it's awesome); the health and professionalism reasons to always use a microphone; scottevest; the dreamzone sleep mask; saying "I get to" instead of "I've got to" (like I choose to instead of I have to); Using your "panda paws" (palms) to give a massage instead of "monkey fingers"; using your passport as well as driver's license even when traveling domestically; exercising with; improv tips; the power of benchmarking or modeling role models; and some other more intimate tips that will just have to stay in Vegas, where we were huddling.

Erica Upshaw and Cara Jenkins used their rapid-fire time to remind us of the importance and healing powers of altruism. (Among other things, Erica is preparing a new campaign around preventing substance abuse by setting positive conditions in middle school.) We prepared a message for one of our colleagues who is being treated for cancer, and made donations to preferred causes. 

The Huddle12 theme was "the intelligence to inspire" and indeed we ended on an inspirational note. I can't wait for Huddle14.

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