Episode 7

What is a Speaker’s Secret Weapon? Using the Chat Pod

In Episode 7 of Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking, Kirsten talks about connecting with your online audience by using the chat pod. The shift from in-person to online presenting and speaking requires shifting your approach to audience engagement.

Kirsten notes that powerful, impactful online speaking requires more preparation than most speakers realize. She shares tips for getting the audience to participate as soon as possible, including her favorite Dad joke (Kellie uses awful puns in the same way).

Key take-aways:

  • How is audience engagement different in online presentations?
  • How does preparation create audience engagement?
  • Dad Jokes vs Puns: Favorite engagement tips

Join our Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking Skills group on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/14104216/


Rourke Training’s webpage: https://www.rourketraining.com/

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Read a transcript of this episode: https://share.descript.com/view/DMxPopsW4Zj

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kirstenrourke/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kirstenmalenarourke

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kirstenrourke?lang=en

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rourketraining/

Transcript
Kirsten:

Welcome to Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking.

Kirsten:

It's a podcast and a community.

Kirsten:

I'm Kirsten Rourke, speaker, presenter, and founder of Rourke Training.

Kirsten:

And this is Kellie.

Kellie:

Hey there, I'm Kellie, producer, writer, and herder of cats.

Kirsten:

Oh, so many cats.

Kirsten:

After over 20 years of speaker and presenter, I've seen it all

Kirsten:

and I'm sharing it with you.

Kirsten:

Ongoing mastery is about continual improvement of your craft.

Kirsten:

You'll learn tips and hear from industry leaders.

Kirsten:

I'll tell you straight up what works and what doesn't, so you can thrive.

Kirsten:

Let's get started.

Kirsten:

Welcome to episode number seven.

Kirsten:

Today, we're talking about the chat pod.

Kellie:

But we are not talking about aliens from 1950s movies.

Kirsten:

Kellie:

Maybe next season.

Kirsten:

Maybe next season.

Kirsten:

That sounds like fun.

Kellie:

It does.

Kirsten:

So here's the thing about the chat pod.

Kirsten:

One of the things that we've been noticing is that now that there is a

Kirsten:

lot of discussion about working from home, returning to work, hybrid work,

Kirsten:

all of that, what is not part of that conversation most of the time is the fact

Kirsten:

that the way you communicate in-person and the way you successfully communicate

Kirsten:

online require different things.

Kirsten:

And they're not obvious.

Kellie:

They are both able to build relationships and human connection,

Kellie:

just the way that you do it differs.

Kirsten:

And I think that's what's throwing a lot of folks off, because

Kirsten:

I've noticed on LinkedIn, there's been a lot of, kind of, debate and argument

Kirsten:

about how people have to come back in the office because they have to

Kirsten:

be able to build genuine connection.

Kirsten:

And I disagree with that because I've been working hybrid for a

Kirsten:

long time, well before the pandemic struck, but there are certain jobs

Kirsten:

that have to be done in person.

Kirsten:

And there are some people who benefit from working in a face-to-face environment.

Kirsten:

So that's fine.

Kirsten:

However, the future of work is hybrid and there's no getting away from that.

Kirsten:

We're not, the society's not going back.

Kirsten:

They're just not.

Kellie:

The pandemic made obvious some accessibility and inclusion

Kellie:

issues that we can address in a new way with a hybrid work environment.

Kellie:

It challenged a lot of assumptions about how work gets done.

Kirsten:

And when work gets done.

Kellie:

yeah

Kirsten:

And separately, we'll have conversations about where your people are

Kirsten:

working, and what time they're working, and how they're working, and all of that.

Kirsten:

But let's talk about communication and building relationships, and

Kirsten:

specifically the technique of using the chat pod in a meeting or webinar

Kirsten:

to communicate with other humans.

Kirsten:

What's not obvious is that communicating in the chat pod is daunting or it's

Kirsten:

awkward for a lot of people, because what is not recognized is that the person

Kirsten:

on the other side wants to communicate.

Kirsten:

They just, no one wants to look foolish.

Kirsten:

No one wants to be rude, well, most people don't want to be rude.

Kirsten:

And, with the chat pod, you have to start your webinars differently.

Kellie:

Definitely.

Kellie:

You have to start it as an invitation to chat, to just kind of natter in the way

Kellie:

that people do when they get together ahead of the formal program starting.

Kirsten:

And, obviously, different kinds of environments have

Kirsten:

different requirements for how they're doing their presentations.

Kirsten:

There are only two types of presentations or speeches given online.

Kirsten:

You are either doing a conversation or inspiration or some mixture of both.

Kirsten:

So, three kinds, but that's it.

Kirsten:

If you're not doing a conversation or you're not inspiring, then

Kirsten:

you're talking AT people.

Kirsten:

And humans are on the other side.

Kirsten:

Humans need to be heard.

Kirsten:

They need to be respected.

Kirsten:

They need to participate.

Kirsten:

How do you make that happen?

Kellie:

Well, it starts with, "Knock, knock, knock, housekeeping."

Kirsten:

"Housekeeping.

Kirsten:

I have towels for you."

Kirsten:

So, housekeeping is the beginning part of a webinar or a meeting where you're

Kirsten:

establishing the ground rules, "We're going to take breaks, or we're going to

Kirsten:

do this, at the bottom of the screen, you will see there is a mute button.

Kirsten:

Please keep it on mute.

Kirsten:

I do have people muted because there are so many people in this session.

Kirsten:

If you want to be on camera, I would love to see your happy, shiny face.

Kirsten:

Please use ."

Kirsten:

Every single week, I'm doing the same patter in my housekeeping,

Kirsten:

especially things like, "Please look at the participants button.

Kirsten:

Now, click on that.

Kirsten:

Find your name.

Kirsten:

Is your name a human name, or is your name a phone number?

Kirsten:

If it's a phone number, I can't check it off the roster.

Kirsten:

Please change it to a human name, ideally yours."

Kirsten:

That's the kind of stuff I set up.

Kirsten:

But during that time, before the webinar really starts, I also really

Kirsten:

lean in to the power of bad jokes.

Kirsten:

You don't have to do this, but if you have the, the style that matches it, if you

Kirsten:

have the capability in your environment to do it, bad jokes are awesome.

Kirsten:

Give me an example of a bad joke, Kellie, please.

Kellie:

Well, I think you need to do your favorite bad joke.

Kirsten:

Okay.

Kirsten:

My favorite bad joke would be, "Tell me, tell me Kellie, what, everybody go in the

Kirsten:

chat pod, now I want you to go in the chat pod and you're going to type the answer.

Kirsten:

What is the favorite letter of the alphabet for a pirate, tell me now?"

Kellie:

"Aye.

Kellie:

It's the C."

Kirsten:

"It's the C.

Kirsten:

You'd think it'd be R, but it's the C."

Kirsten:

And it's awful.

Kirsten:

It's dreadful, but you get people typing the answer and it's perfect.

Kellie:

My favorite version of that is to tell bad puns, the more face

Kellie:

scrunching inducing, the better.

Kirsten:

Okay.

Kirsten:

And one of those bad puns would be

Kellie:

Eight atoms of sodium Batman.

Kirsten:

Hmmmmmm

Kellie:

So, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na Batman, because the

Kellie:

chemical symbol of sodium is Na

Kirsten:

That's really wince inducing.

Kirsten:

Thank you.

Kirsten:

So you don't have to do bad jokes, but you have to do something.

Kirsten:

One of the reasons why you constantly hear people in webinars doing the,

Kirsten:

"Tell me where you're coming in from," which I do all the time,

Kirsten:

"I'm in central Massachusetts.

Kirsten:

And the weather here is kind of not awesome.

Kirsten:

Where are you coming from today?"

Kirsten:

Because in an online environment you want short, simple, ideally one word

Kirsten:

answers when you start people in the chat.

Kirsten:

How is that different from in person?

Kellie:

In person, you're asking open-ended questions.

Kellie:

People can maybe talk the way around to get their train of thought going.

Kellie:

And it's a way of building rapport to let people kind of go on a little bit.

Kirsten:

Now, in person doing the, "Alright, give me an answer to this.

Kirsten:

Do you prefer A, B, or C?

Kirsten:

Kellie, A, B, or C?

Kirsten:

Answer me now."

Kellie:

"B."

Kirsten:

Well, that kind of kills the mood, doesn't it?

Kirsten:

It kind of kills the energy.

Kirsten:

In person, that doesn't work as well.

Kirsten:

But online, it's crucial because they're answering in chat.

Kirsten:

If you do open-ended questions, which is what most people do, you

Kirsten:

will not get the same responses.

Kirsten:

You've got to start people off with brief, ideally, one word answer questions.

Kellie:

But what if they want to type War and Peace in the chat pod?

Kellie:

How come it doesn't work with the open-ended questions?

Kirsten:

Well, generally, there's not enough time because, and here, we're going

Kirsten:

to pause for a second, so you can enjoy the experience that all presenters dread.

Kirsten:

The moment of silence,

Kirsten:

3 seconds, painful as hell, if you're the presenter.

Kirsten:

Not awesome if you're the audience, either.

Kirsten:

You have to stop talking.

Kirsten:

This is obviously not my gift most of the time,

Kellie:

Kirsten:

but you've got to give people a chance to answer.

Kirsten:

Now, you have a way of doing that with long form questions that you

Kirsten:

do with your students, don't you?

Kellie:

I do.

Kellie:

I will say, "Here's an open-ended prompt.

Kellie:

I want to hear from everybody.

Kellie:

We're going to take the next five minutes so you can type.

Kellie:

I'm going to sip my tea," which I do very dramatically in class

Kellie:

and take very long pauses, but I tell them to wait to hit send.

Kellie:

So everybody's typing at the same time, nobody's missing anything.

Kellie:

And then when we're ready, everybody hits send at the same time and

Kellie:

we are all reading together what everybody has written, which means

Kellie:

nobody is missing anything while they are typing and other people's

Kellie:

answers are flying by in the chat.

Kirsten:

Yeah.

Kellie:

So we are enjoying together whatever their responses are.

Kirsten:

Because trying to type to get your answer in while you're

Kirsten:

reading what's going on is a competition and that's not the goal.

Kellie:

And people get anxious and then they start to shorten what

Kellie:

they're saying and you're killing the momentum you're trying to build.

Kirsten:

And then there's typos and, again, nobody wants to look or

Kirsten:

sound foolish unless they're me, and they have no dignity to speak of.

Kirsten:

If you're someone who has dignity, then lean into that.

Kirsten:

But if you're someone more like me, for whom goofiness is just a way of

Kirsten:

life, then go ahead and find really bad dad jokes, or really bad puns

Kirsten:

and bring those in occasionally or do the things like, "All right,

Kirsten:

everybody, we're going to be starting.

Kirsten:

Um, back in five minutes, I want you guys to take a break.

Kirsten:

When you come back from break, I want you to answer in the chat pod, what on

Kirsten:

break is your favorite drink of choice?

Kirsten:

You are an adult.

Kirsten:

It can be anything you choose.

Kirsten:

If you say water, I will be making fun of you.

Kirsten:

Okay.

Kirsten:

Five minutes.

Kirsten:

See you guys back."

Kirsten:

Anything that gets people to understand that their presence matters because

Kirsten:

you are communicating with humans.

Kirsten:

What is Rourke Training rule number one?

Kellie:

If your presentation is in no way affected by your audience,

Kirsten:

it should be

Kellie:

a video

Kirsten:

a video, okay.

Kirsten:

If you're talking AT people, if you are reading your script, if you are

Kirsten:

reading, God help you, if you're reading your slides, why are they there?

Kirsten:

Why are there humans watching you do that?

Kirsten:

If you're communicating with humans, communicate with humans.

Kirsten:

You can practice your material, but it needs to be impacted by the fact

Kirsten:

that there's people in the room.

Kirsten:

Now, if you are doing a presentation like I typically do, which is either

Kirsten:

a training environment, or you're doing a webinar where you're trying

Kirsten:

to build rapport and you're doing conversational, then you do a lot of

Kirsten:

call and response with the audience.

Kirsten:

However, if you're like Kellie's husband,

Kellie:

who is a CTO and is often doing all hands, stand-ups,

Kellie:

vision-presenting kind of communication,

Kirsten:

then that is an inspiration.

Kirsten:

You either have communication or you have inspiration.

Kirsten:

You can mix them, and a lot of times you will be doing a little of each, but those

Kirsten:

are all you get in an online environment.

Kirsten:

Anything else is honestly a waste of the attendees' time and yours,

Kirsten:

because if you are not connecting with other human beings, you are

Kirsten:

missing the entire bloody point.

Kellie:

Let's talk for a minute about how someone who's giving an

Kellie:

inspirational kind of presentation can still connect with the audience.

Kirsten:

In any inspirational presentation or speech, in any presentation or speech,

Kirsten:

period, you have to do your homework.

Kirsten:

You have to think strategically before the event about the audience

Kirsten:

that you are expecting to have.

Kirsten:

If it's a generic audience of open, whatever people, then you do a lot of

Kirsten:

assumptions about the general population.

Kirsten:

But if you're doing an all hands presentation, you know what kind

Kirsten:

of teams, what kind of groups are going to be attending.

Kirsten:

What are their goals?

Kirsten:

What are their needs?

Kirsten:

What is your vision?

Kirsten:

How can you express that their goals and needs are part of your vision?

Kirsten:

Maybe things are moving in the timeline, maybe things are shifting, but you're

Kirsten:

all aiming for the same higher purpose.

Kirsten:

You're aiming for the same visionary end.

Kirsten:

And here is how we get there together.

Kirsten:

If you don't think about them and tie them in, you're talking

Kirsten:

AT them and it should be

Kellie:

a video.

Kirsten:

Yes.

Kirsten:

I think we're all on board with that.

Kellie:

One thing you can do in an inspirational style presentation is think

Kellie:

of the needs of the different team leads who are there, present option A, B, and

Kellie:

C, ask everybody to dump into the chat, A, B, C, which of these is your higher goals?

Kellie:

Or make a, make a poll, and have them respond to the poll so that you can

Kellie:

incorporate that feedback and say, "This is how option A, which is the

Kellie:

most popular option in our polling, blah, blah, blah, connects to vision."

Kirsten:

Okay.

Kirsten:

It's all about strategic thinking.

Kirsten:

Everything done in this, if you are a leader, your voice matters, your vision

Kirsten:

matters, which it does, then you're either doing communication or inspiration.

Kirsten:

And all of those require thought in advance, that requires strategic planning.

Kirsten:

Your audience should shape what you're doing.

Kirsten:

And your audience should impact what you're doing live in real time.

Kirsten:

If you're doing an inspirational presentation, then you are going to

Kirsten:

set your housekeeping up in advance and say, "I'm going to be talking

Kirsten:

about the vision of the company.

Kirsten:

And we will have a period where I'm going to be asking you to give me your feedback.

Kirsten:

We will have polls.

Kirsten:

And at the end, I'm going to do a Q & A.

Kirsten:

Here is what I'm going to be looking for."

Kirsten:

Set the expectations so people know what the hell they're supposed to be doing.

Kellie:

And that way, they're ready when you ask the question to have some

Kellie:

kind of framework for their answers.

Kellie:

They're not doing their thinking only as you've just asked the question.

Kirsten:

Or you could also use breakout rooms.

Kirsten:

What's the downside of the standard breakout room, Kellie?

Kellie:

Often, most software when you send your participants into breakout

Kellie:

rooms, they lose the chat that's been happening in the main room, which

Kellie:

sometimes means they lose the directions of what they're supposed to be doing.

Kellie:

And so they get to the breakout rooms and everyone isn't sure what happens next.

Kirsten:

Now you can, in a lot of tools, send a chat to the breakout rooms.

Kirsten:

But, what you need to do is do housekeeping again in the

Kirsten:

middle of your presentation.

Kirsten:

Before you send people to break out rooms, you have to stop and explain, not in one

Kirsten:

quick sentence, please, "I'm going to throw you into breakout rooms and then

Kirsten:

you're going to talk about whether the strategic vision of X is really dah,

Kirsten:

dah, dah for your company, and go."

Kirsten:

Nobody is going to follow that unless they are somebody who does it for a living.

Kirsten:

The last webinar that I was in where I was an attendee, we got thrown into breakout

Kirsten:

rooms and in every single breakout room, I was the only person who knew what was

Kirsten:

going on, because I do this for a living.

Kirsten:

And so in every single session I went, "Okay guys, so here's what is being asked.

Kirsten:

Let's do this," and I had to lead the group.

Kirsten:

What you have to do with a breakout room is you have to go slower.

Kirsten:

You have to stop and go, "All right, everybody, we're going to

Kirsten:

go into breakout rooms at a minute.

Kirsten:

I want you to do X, Y, Z.

Kirsten:

In the chat, are you guys clear what the rules are of what I'm asking of you?

Kirsten:

Yes, no, squid, give me an answer."

Kellie:

"Squid."

Kirsten:

"Okay, squid, let me repeat the rules."

Kirsten:

Now you don't have to be goofy.

Kirsten:

You might be someone, again, who has dignity.

Kirsten:

That's cool.

Kirsten:

I admire that.

Kirsten:

I'm not one of those people.

Kirsten:

So you have to figure out what goes within your voice and your presentation style.

Kirsten:

But humans want to communicate with you.

Kirsten:

If they're in a webinar, they want to be involved.

Kirsten:

They want to participate.

Kirsten:

They don't want to just sit there and watch you talk at them.

Kellie:

One thing that I've seen done in a training session that I was part

Kellie:

of, and it was a formal occasion where cracking jokes was not really appropriate.

Kellie:

What the webinar leaders had done was prepare ahead of time a series

Kellie:

of Google docs with directions.

Kellie:

And so as we got into our breakout room, each breakout room got a link

Kellie:

to a Google doc with the directions for what we're supposed to be doing.

Kellie:

And then we were ready, we had something we could refer back to in case we felt

Kellie:

lost, and it was a very smooth way to handle giving direction so that each group

Kellie:

could do what we had to do in just the couple of minutes that we were assigned.

Kirsten:

So, this all takes practice.

Kirsten:

All right.

Kirsten:

This is a different way of communicating.

Kirsten:

Communicating face-to-face, you have tools that you've been using your entire life.

Kirsten:

If you have vision, you have the ability to see people, then

Kirsten:

you're watching people's body.

Kirsten:

You're watching the color of their face.

Kirsten:

You're watching their expressions.

Kirsten:

Thank you.

Kirsten:

Kellie's sticking out her tongue, so helpful.

Kirsten:

If you have hearing, you're listening to tone.

Kirsten:

You're listening to how somebody's speaking.

Kirsten:

Are they speaking quickly?

Kirsten:

Are the speaking a little bit more slowly?

Kirsten:

What is the context of their words?

Kirsten:

In a large webinar, you might not have either of those.

Kirsten:

You only have the chat pod, which means you have to do a ton of either

Kirsten:

setting up in advance times when you are going to have people give you

Kirsten:

responses in polls, or in Q & A, or in whatever, or call and response.

Kirsten:

Call and response is a lot of, "Okay guys, I've been talking for about 10

Kirsten:

minutes and I, I'm from New England.

Kirsten:

I have a tendency to speak a little bit quickly.

Kirsten:

I'm going to do a speed check.

Kirsten:

Go in the chat now.

Kirsten:

How are we?

Kirsten:

Are we too fast?

Kirsten:

Are we too slow?

Kirsten:

Are we just right?

Kirsten:

We're doing the Goldilocks scale.

Kirsten:

Everybody go on the chat.

Kirsten:

All right, come on.

Kirsten:

I don't see anybody yet.

Kirsten:

I can't go forward until I know where we are.

Kirsten:

Oh, good.

Kirsten:

Thank you, Tom."

Kirsten:

All right.

Kirsten:

You've got to do the song and dance, because people want to be

Kirsten:

pulled in and being an attendee is an energy draining experience.

Kirsten:

If you are regularly presenting anywhere, not regularly attending,

Kirsten:

you have lost the connection of how hard it is to sit in the room.

Kirsten:

Please attend more things as a person in the audience.

Kirsten:

Once you've been in a two hour, or God help you, four hour or,

Kirsten:

uh, please don't do this, all day webinar, that is draining as hell.

Kirsten:

The person leading it has to be putting out energy, has to be using their

Kirsten:

theatrical presence, their voice, their body, their hands, to pull you in.

Kirsten:

Otherwise you're draining people.

Kellie:

Voice and body is what we'll be talking about next week.

Kirsten:

What a perfect transition.

Kellie:

Isn't it though?

Kirsten:

Thank you for that.

Kirsten:

And I think we've hit about all the right marks.

Kellie:

I think so.

Kirsten:

Please go into LinkedIn and find the Ongoing Mastery:

Kirsten:

Presenting & Speaking group

Kellie:

link is in the show notes

Kirsten:

and please check out the show notes because we always

Kirsten:

have some fun extras in there.

Kirsten:

Please share, subscribe, like the podcast.

Kirsten:

We obviously are trying to build a community here.

Kirsten:

And come find us, let us know what your absolute go-to worst joke is,

Kellie:

or pun

Kirsten:

or pun.

Kirsten:

Jokes or better

Kellie:

pun

Kirsten:

joke

Kellie:

pun

Kirsten:

Okay.

Kirsten:

We'll agree to disagree.

Kirsten:

We can put a poll up in the group and see what people think.

Kellie:

I think so.

Kirsten:

And we'll see you guys next week.

Kellie:

Cheers.

Kirsten:

Thank you for joining us for Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking,

Kirsten:

the podcast for everyone who wants to work on their own skills and lift up others.

Kirsten:

If you enjoyed this episode, continue the conversation on our

Kirsten:

Ongoing Mastery LinkedIn group.

Kirsten:

The link is in the show notes.

Kirsten:

Share the love on social media and tell your friends about the podcast.

Kirsten:

Be sure to catch our next episode,

Kellie:

and hit the subscribe button.

About the Podcast

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Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking
Presentation and Speaking Skills for Business Leaders

About your host

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Kirsten Rourke