In the first workshop of DLDw13, Susan McPherson gives instructions on how to find your voice. McPherson is an expert on corporate social responsibility, but today, she’s in Munich to help people find their own special interest.
Her first recommendation is to find your niche. Know what you know and feel good about that – no one can be the best at everything.
Next McPherson talks about uncovering your voice. “You want to be authentic in who you are. You don’t want to be the complete opposite,” she says. Try and fake your tone, and you may strike people as one of those bad online dating surprises, when the person you meet isn’t at all whom you expected.
“We all have a voice. The challenge is figuring out which channels to use to share that voice,” McPherson says. To decide, think of your goals. What is it you want solve? What is it you really care about? And are those messages coming through in your communication?
We should always be conscious of our intent, she says. Both in what we communicate and how we communicate it. While she encourages people try different channels of communication initially, ultimately McPherson does not think it is necessary to use all tools available. “If you love Twitter and that works for you, it’s fine to only use that.” The saying quality over quantity, can count even in today’s world of information overload, she says.
McPherson illustrates her points with examples of different people, their particular interests and the platforms they use to express those.
To the audience question, how there can still be room for a person's life to take place when they're constantly hooked to these communication platforms, McPherson reiterates that mass is not always a must and draws an analogy to a dinner party. “You don’t talk all the time when you're eating with others. You also listen and laugh.” Her point: these channels are not just about you putting out information. They are also there for you to respond to other people’s messages.
This links to her last piece of advice, which is “how to avoid being a shameless self-promoter”. If you use these communication tools to engage with others successfully, and you may be surprised where they bring you. McPherson herself met someone via Twitter recently. A few months later she was attending their wedding.