The line to the main room at the RISE Conference in Hong Kong piles out the door. The ambient noise rings of excitement. Earlier that day, Gary Vaynerchuk strolled through the conference with a gaggle of adoring entrepreneurs following his every move, trying to get his attention, and soaking up his every word. Now, he’s about to give his much-anticipated talk.
Why is everyone so interested in what Gary has to say? Because he is not afraid to tell you exactly what he thinks. In his youth, he turned a struggling wine business into a multi-million dollar success through his relatable sales skills and pure hustle. Then, he became an early adopter of social platforms and communicated his way to the top. A prolific venture capitalist and diehard Jets fan, people like Gary because he is real and holds nothing back.
I first met Gary at Expert Dojo in Santa Monica, where he was interviewed by Joe Famalette from Startup Grind LA. I have since read his books, consumed massive amounts of his online content, enjoyed his entertaining livestreams and, most recently, interviewed him at RISE.
Many people say he is a great entrepreneur, maybe even one of the best in our time. In our chat he dubbed himself the “Pied Piper of Startups.”
I don’t disagree, but above all else, I think of him as a great communicator, like myself.
His style is authentic, aggressive — and though he turns some people off by his crass comments and constant use of profanity, I think it’s also why so many people hang onto his every word. His overall message is one of optimism and inspiration, with a genuine desire to help people become better versions of themselves.
Gary covered a lot in his 30-minute keynote talk, but what stood out most to me was his insights on leveraging communication to build content that sells itself. Here are 5 ways to increase your communication skills, to bring more awareness to what you are up to.
Step 1. Understand The Truth about Content
Developing content online is one powerful way to communicate. What is always true, and will forever be true, is that quality content always has a competitive advantage. But the twist is, content is subjective — the market decides what’s good and bad, not you pondering what’s good and bad over beer with your best friends. Gary shared that you need to spend a lot less time debating what is “quality” and instead, start thinking more about your natural way of communicating your content. The focus should be creating and/or producing stories for people to consume that bring awareness to what you do, via a medium that works with your strengths.
If you are a musician, a SaaS platform tech, a social media company, or just a human being, you must think of yourself as a media company that creates content. When you wrap your head around the this, you begin positioning yourself for success.
For example, with my company InfluenceTree, I consulted for a digital marketer on how to better communicate his message and his brand. We discovered that all he really needed was to reposition his marketing style by focusing on his speaking directly to clients — this was his strength. By putting his efforts towards reaching out and connecting with potential leads, he successfully landed a few 6-figure clients after a month of weekly strategy meetings. Changing your focus to what your strengths are, can be a multiplier for your business.
Step 2- Determine Your Communication Strengths and Double Down
You need to figure out which medium is most natural for you. Too many people are trying to be good at something they think is emerging, like livestreams. Instead of worrying that video delivery is emerging or popular, ask yourself if video media is the right content platform for you to create.
The same mediums of communication, which are the framework to awareness to any product, service, movement or anything else, will always remain the same. What you (and your organization) need to do is figure out if you’re a writer, a voice, or a video producer. Focus on this first, and once you know how you best communicate, move to contextual platforms that allow you to distribute your message that way.
This concept of creating content based on your strengths is the core of human communication. The people that drew the best pictures in caves won. The guy who made the best smoke signals on a mountain won. And it’s a tried and true contest over and over again. The only thing that changes are the mediums, but everybody mistakenly focuses on content. Everybody talks about how content is king. Meanwhile everybody’s missing out that context is the queen, and she runs the household.
We need to respect context enough in the current landscape of communication, because that’s where the magic sits. So to tap into the magic and focus on the best ways to communicate your content in a way that makes the context speak volumes to your intended audience.
I have realized that my strength is in communication through words, verbally. Ever since I focused on speaking, I spoke more. As I spoke more, I got better and had more fun. Now, speaking gives me the opportunity to even write this article, as a result of speaking in Hong Kong and China.
Step 3 – Don’t Dismiss the Nuance when you Communicate via social media
Once you have a clear idea of how you best communicate your message, be careful to not dismiss the nuance of individual communication platforms, because these platforms are what bring awareness to what you have. Don’t ignore hashtags, don’t dismiss filters, don’t dismiss the importance of how long your post on Medium should be, don’t dismiss the first three seconds of your YouTube video.
Don’t dismiss, don’t dismiss, don’t dismiss.
Each word in every Facebook post matters. The default thumbnail in your videos is not always the one that will get the best engagement. All of the small nuances on each of the individual social media platforms matters. Effective communication by using all the tools at your disposal is what brings awareness to what you have.
On Twitter, I do this by making Tweetnados where ever I go. It is strategy to I created to spark massive engagement at conferences around the use of the official hashtag. Learn how I leverage Twitter’s native functions and nuance features to create millions of impressions on my tweets.
Step 4 – The Best Way To Sell is Not To Sell
When you communicate, you don’t want to turn people off. The quickest way to turn people off is to try and sell them something. The best way to sell is not to sell, but instead produce content with context that is relevant to your audience and have a key understanding of how to distribute it.
The Internet is the greatest thing that has ever happened to the human race, but the popularity of entrepreneurship means it’s a dangerous field due to the vast number of people that have entrepreneurial tendencies, but aren’t necessarily entrepreneurs. Deliver value first, build a customer base of individuals who value your content, then work on monetization after you have people lined up at your door.
My business partner, Leonard Kim, is amazing at this. He provides nearly everything he knows in every single post he writes. He delivers as much value as he can in his articles and when he is a guest on podcasts. He does not try to sell people on his personal branding courses, but instead shares personal branding golden nuggets wherever he goes. People who see value in his content then seek him out for his expertise. It is a simple equation that works for him. He does not sell. He just delivers value.
Step 5 – Work Your Face Off
Just because you say you’re an entrepreneur, doesn’t mean you’re a successful entrepreneur. People talk about working smart, having the right strategy, and having the right product. Gary is stunned by how much pushback there is when he talks about working hard. Aside from people that have inherited money, there are zero people you know that have built a successful business without working their face off. It is important that part of your communication strategy is a commitment to working your face off.
Working hard is the one utterly controllable aspect of your game, and if you really want to be successful, really maximize every minute. That doesn’t mean neglecting your family, your health, or any other aspect of your life that isn’t your business. But don’t be the person that is running their mouth about what you’re going to accomplish, then not take actions to actually get it done.
My other partner Rachel Pedersen works is the archetype of an entrepreneur who works her face off. She has grown three businesses through bootstrapping and applied strategies, growing from $0 just two years ago to over $60,000 in recurring monthly revenue. She is a mom who is not only building multiple businesses, but is also hustling to take care of her family. Working your face off is a choice. Be like Rachel and choose to work harder than everyone else, and you will rise to the top like her.
Take these communication tips and better position yourself to stand out in the crowd. I believe that communication is your skeleton key, and it will open up any door you want. If you can identify your communication strengths, leverage the nuance on platforms when you post, create value before asking for the sale, and work your face off, you will communicate in a way that brings valuable awareness to who you are.
When people know who you are and seek you out for your product or service, that is when the magic happens.
Do you have any more insights on effective communication to stand out? Share them as comments.