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Drop the Megaphone

. Rod Rakic

drop the megaphone

"Do you want to talk about strategy or tactics?"

This is how I opened my recent guest lecture to IMC 454 at the Medill at Northwestern University.

This is Robert Mark's graduate school class on "Communication Skills & Persuasive Messages" a course, "designed to improve students’ skills in developing and delivering marketing communications conversations using both traditional and 21st Century social media technologies."

The overwhelming response was these students wanted to talk about strategy. When talking about technology, or marketing, and especially social media, people tend to confuse strategy and tactics all the time. My talk titled, "Drop the Megaphone," didn't give the highlights of the power of Twitter, or 6 steps to building a great Facebook page, we didn't step through process of how to make a viral video. (gack!)

Instead, I focused on what seemed to motivate this audience... so I went right for the wallet. I offered this bit of advice:

Buying attention is expensive. Earning attention is hard.

I asked them, "Which solution do you want to offer employers? Which makes you more valuable? Would you rather be good at something that is expensive to do, or would you like to be good at something that is hard to do? Choose now."

The thesis of my presentation was knowing how to communicate to an audience is important, but it is the ability of a communicator to engage with an audience that really makes for a standout value proposition to an potential employer.

Rod talking

Let's face it, buying the attention of an audience by investing in advertising doesn't prove that you have something to say, it proves that you are capable of writing a check.

I just feel smarter anytime I get to talk about Metcalfe's Law, the work of Shiv Singh (@shivsingh), and Michael Leis (@mleise) all in the same talk.

As is often the case with being in the room with a bunch of smart people, the questions and conversation during and after the lecture were the best part of the experience.

The best part of teaching, is that you often learn something about the subject matter in the process. I love that.

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