Button? Every? Why? What are you talking about? I’m talking about mastery. I’m talking about helping people. I’m talking about being professional, truly professional!
Consider this, what would you think of a keynote speaker who was introduced and walked up on stage and directly walked to the back corner of the stage? They are standing in the dark and out of the spotlight. Hmmmmm, Interesting! But wait, they are talking and we can barely hear them. The microphone volume is set too low and is too far from their mouth. They show their slides and they look like they are using clip art from the 1990s. Hold on, the presenter was not making a point by standing in the dark corner of the stage? They are delivering their entire presentation from back there. What?
How do you feel about that presenter? Do you question their professionalism? If they don’t know where to stand, aren’t aware of how the microphone sounds, and use outdated clip art, how can I believe what they say? Maybe their content is old. Maybe it is not even their content. People expect that if you are a speaker or expert you are experienced on stage, know the tools you have, how to use them, and are striving to be a thought leader.
So, what is press every button? Hold on, one more thing! When I first started in stand-up comedy, I was so excited to sit in the living room of my mentor, Vinnie, and be taught. When I and the other wannabe comedians walked into class, there in the center of the living room was a classic microphone sitting on top of a mic stand. Exciting! I was a sponge! I was eager! What will we learn today? Punch lines? Joke writing? Nope, the first thing he taught us was how to take the mic out of the mic stand. Really? Yup, and we had to do it again and again. And again! I felt like Daniel-son in Karate Kid. Excitement turned into boredom. Boredom turned into frustration.
I honestly didn’t get it and seemed like a complete waste of time. Why did this matter? It matters! I later learned the importance of the first few seconds on stage. Your audience is sizing you up. It may be wrong, but it is the truth. How can you look confident in the first few seconds if the first thing you do on stage is fumble with the microphone? Vinnie was teaching us what mattered, mastery!
“Professionals aren’t always perfect, but they master what matters.”
Think about it, how often have you heard it said on a Zoom call, “We can’t hear you; you’re muted!” Or, you heard the presenter say, “Wait a second, where is the share button?” Augh, I get it! You have to not just learn it; you have to master it! It has to become second nature, that’s what true pros do. The homework Vinnie gave us was to buy a microphone and a mic stand. We didn’t even need the speakers to plug into, just the mic. Then, at home, we were to set it up and pull it out of the mic stand over and over again. Mastery may not be exciting during the repetition but, let me tell you, at that moment on stage it shows.
A couple of years ago when I started using Zoom, I realized even though I had an account and I used my account, I hadn’t mastered it. On New Year’s Day of 2019, I was homesick and couldn’t get out of bed so I made the decision that I needed to master Zoom. All-day long I watched a Zoom tutorial then I went into my account and played with what I had just learned. Then I’d watch another tutorial video and go do that in my account. Again, and again. By the next day, I was different. I had more confidence and learned so much as a result of my day-long focus by repeatedly gaining a new perspective and applying it.
Here is what I didn’t do. I didn’t press every button on Zoom. I didn’t get curious as to all that it could do. We know our content and our audience, so why not master the tools we use to serve them better. For example, Ed Tate told me about breakout rooms. What? Oh boy, how did I miss that powerful tool that was already in my account? I didn’t press every button. My bad!
I invested in a new soundboard and a professional microphone to upgrade my sound. When we ran our next Virtual Workshop, I decided to play music through the soundboard when we started and after each break to bring the energy up. It sounded great on my end but horrible to all of our attendees. Yikes! I later hired a sound expert to help me figure it out. He showed me an advanced sound feature in Zoom. Ooops, I didn’t press every button. Again, Ouch! Seriously, have you gone through all of the buttons in your “settings” to see what else the tool can do? Yes, we are all busy, but this effort will be multiplied every time you use the tool. By the way, Zoom is always changing. Have you looked at all of the settings recently?
It’s important to note that this isn’t just about Zoom. This is about any tool of your trade. If we are professionals, we need to invest the time and master the tools we use. Why? Because every time we interact with our audience and the little investment in time truly multiplied. Every audience member, whether live or online, is sizing you up. Do you look and sound like the expert they want to follow and recommend? Our best marketing is how good we are in front of an audience because it is multiplied.
Right now, I’m in the middle of moving over to a new marketing program called Active Campaign. I’ve learned my lesson and now I’m pressing every button! I’m watching tutorials, I’m making mistakes and I’m signing up for as many one-on-one sessions as they’ll let me. We can’t learn the tools we need just enough to use them; we have to know them inside and out until our use of them becomes second nature. We have to press every button and master them.
That speaker on the back of the stage in the dark who is not using the mic properly and showing clip art seems like an extreme example. It’s not! If you want to be perceived as a professional, ask friends to give you their honest perspective. No mentor or friends that cared about me “nice me” into growth. The truth can hurt, but don’t take it personally. It’s about serving your next audience better.
What tools do you use? Invest the time into pressing every button and play with it in practice. Schedule the time right now. Using the right tools is not enough if you are a true professional. Master the tools you use. We need to seamlessly use them like it is second nature. Press every button.
Are you guilty of this like I was? Please comment and let all other readers know. We need to inspire each other through transparency. What tool do you need to master?
Please add your comments/read other comments, on this blog post.