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Stuart Bewley: Looking at the camera if right now in the UK, particularly because we are we’re in the middle of this zone right now, I guess, different in China, it’s different, different locations and where you are in America, Matt, but in the UK right now, we have to look through the camera at people’s eyes because we’re not getting it in the physical world. And I firmly believe that what happens in the physical is reflected in the digital, which means that if we’re not getting in the physical where we’re not going to give it in the digital. So we have to reinvent how we do soft skills that have to, I think it has to start on the screen and then, and then eventually make it’s way back into the physical world.
Introduction: Welcome to endless coffee cup, a regular discussion of marketing news, culture and media for our complex digital lifestyle. Join Matt Bailey as he engages in conversation to find insights beyond the latest headlines and deeper understanding for those involved in marketing. Grab a cup of coffee, have a seat, and thanks for joining.
Matt Bailey: Well, hello and welcome to the, I would call it the Coronavirus edition of endless coffee cup and because of the social distancing, and now I live where there’s a lockdown. We can’t have any guests in the studio. And so I’m going to do my best to keep us informed as well as entertained. And one of the first conversations I wanted to do was with Stuart Bewley. Now you may remember him from an earlier podcast about your best voice and how to present effectively. Well, because of all of the remote working that’s going on and people having to use everything from Microsoft teams to zoom to so many of the things, you know, there’s some things we need to realize when we do remote presentations. When we do group working online and we have to use our webcam. So Stewart has been doing some workshops over the past week and we’ll be doing more.
Matt: I’m going to link to his workshops and to his site in the comments or in the, in the section underneath here, as well as our previous podcast. But I think it’d be good to go back and learn a little bit about Stuart and his background. So we’re probably going to do this somewhat often because we’re both on lockdowns. And so we’ll be able to check in and help you with what you need to know when developing your online presence, enjoy the call for those that have done any amount of online training or online activity. It’s like now the demand has just stepped up and people are really starting to when I starting to, that they have to. But it was interesting. I was in a conversation the other day that someone was saying, it’s nice that all this demand is here, but the problem is very few people understand how to make a quality product or understand how to present themselves in a video format or just a webcam format and being on a number of meetings. I’m amazed how many people just turn on the webcam with no thought to what’s going on. And you just, you posted your webinar on pitching and making your pitch online, which I thought was fantastic. Tell me a little bit about that, how that went and what inspired you for that.
Stuart: I think what I’ve really realized is that people are, I think if you just said it, I don’t think people know or even understand that it’s not even in their way of thinking that when you get like getting on Zoom, getting on Teams is fine, but then you’re on it and then you’re on it for hours. And it’s like, nobody has realized what they need to do. And is actually Jenny, my senior coach, she said to me, you know, because we’re offering digital pitch coaching she said, now startups are now having to pitch on Skype or zoom or teams or whatever. So we are seeing what the investor is seeing. And I just went, do you know what? This is an incredibly unique opportunity. I am never in the room when I normally coach our clients on that big pitch, whether it’s for raising funds or working with, you know, the corporate I’m always in the dress rehearsal, or I’m always in the training room, which is a luxurious thing that you might go to, or you might get flown to.
Stuart: But now the screen is absolutely everything. And I just thought people are so unprepared. It’s kind of like getting in a car and not really knowing how it all goes and just going, let’s hope we don’t crash. So I thought, well, if that’s the case, whether people realize it or not, I know that’s the case. So I need to offer free stuff.
A, because I want people to see that it’s a value to eventually pay for what I do. But we also everyone, I think for the first time, perhaps in the history of the business world, everyone, whoever you are is in the same boat of how do we pitch, how do we present digitally? And that’s just fascinating to me. So I thought I’m going to do some webinars and I’m going to let people ask questions and I’m going to get some really basic stuff.
Stuart: Surely everyone will understand this. And to my utter horror, no one did. So I started it last week. Yeah. I, first of all, I got 77 signups, which I was really surprised by that. I had that for me. That’s a lot never having done anything before. The credit that, that was a hunger. And the first thing I said was how we smile, how you sit really matters because Albert Mehrabian is this guru who did this research years ago. He says that 55% of what we present is body language. So on screen, not only do you have a layer removed, which is screen to screen, so you’re not even face to face. So you’ve got a layer removed, which makes everything a little bit harder. And there’s more distraction, you know, what’s behind the camera, what’s the email you’re getting in, but how you sit and stand, even more to the point, even how you smile,
Matt: Oh yeah.
Stuart: And like you’d think, well, you think people would get it. But then I think people don’t know that they don’t get it. So I use this phrase a lot and I used it on the webinar and I said, my friend, David Grant says, your joy is so deep and hasn’t reached your face because you know, it’s like a positive way of say, please, can you smile? So I made that comment. And then I looked because on zoom, like, I guess on like on all these digital platforms, you can see people say, oh gosh, I’ve made that comment and I’m talking, but still people look so miserable.
Matt: Yes, yes. I notice that is wow.
Stuart: And I think, I think, well, that is my, I think people are deeply uncomfortable. And I think they’re hoping that teams in zoom or Google classroom, whatever will be the answer and that they can just rock up and that they can just get on a meeting. Because you know, their loved ones are not well. They can’t leave the home. That’s so much external stress that they bring to the meeting. And I think that hoping that the tech will do everything for them, it’s like the gone part of the brain that used to exist before. COVID-19 that said who you are is still really important.
Matt: Absolutely. It’s, I’m fascinated because I’ve done a lot of remote meetings with other companies and I will be the only one with my camera on everyone else, the camera shut off. And they would joke about that. That, you know, we’re a technology company, you know, we should be doing this at Google when they do their meetings, the camera has to be on, it’s a requirement that they have to have that. Yes. But at other even enterprise level technology companies, they’re not turning on the microphone until now. And they, you know, it’s interesting. Now we have this catalyst. Now we have to have our cameras on and I, and you’re right. People are very uncomfortable with that. So noticeable.
Stuart: Yes. I think noticeable. Or do you know what? I think you don’t notice it until you notice it. And then when you notice it, it’s like this glaring red light shine. And you’re thinking why people wake up, wake up as if your dog is barking behind you. It matters what you’re wearing. It, it matters if you’re picking your nose.
Matt: Some of the things that I’ve noticed, number one is, and I’ll just tell you, you know, so you’re doing these professional. You, you you’re, you’re launching this. I’m going to tell you what my pet peeves are. It’s it’s number one is the eye level is that people are on their laptops and they’re either looking down on it. And so you see up their nose or it’s a camera mounted on top of the monitor and it’s like, they’re staring off into space. And either one, you’re not getting a good view of the face. Very few people I have noticed have their camera at eye level where they can stand and, and see straight on. So regardless of they’re looking and I always move up the, the window as high as I can. So it’s right underneath the camera. Cause I’ve got the built-in at the top of the screen that, that eye contact with the camera, even if you have to cut out big arrows and point them there, it’s that importance of just your face being straight on at eye level rather than up or down. That means so much when you’re having a conversation.
Stuart: And I think that people don’t like being told that I think people think it’s like teaching people to suck eggs, or teaching children to walk or teaching two plus two. It’s like they’re having to go back to school, but they never signed up to go back to school. So that was like a weird resistance. My pet peeve is when people don’t look at the camera.
So they look at the screen at the person’s face, which I know we have to do, but they don’t look at the camera, which means that you are never looking in someone’s eyes. Interestingly today I just actually made a video on it and put it on LinkedIn. I took my kids for my one piece of exercise. So Boris Johnson last night in the UK said, that’s it, stay at home, stay at home. Don’t go out.
Stuart: You can’t leave your home, one daily exercise a day. And so I went to the park and because this is brand new to us and we’re a liberal democracy. We don’t like to be told what to do. We think we’re better than everyone else, obviously this is not me speaking, this is a generalization about the UK. What’s happened is that we were walking past people. And it wasn’t just that they were giving us a two meter wide, but they couldn’t look me in the eye. Wow. Yeah. I was really surprised when I spoke to my wife at lunch about it and she said it’s fear, that people are just fearful. So I put this video up on LinkedIn saying if obviously this might not be the case and there will always be exceptions and maybe we’ll learn. But like if that’s happening in the real world to any degree, then we need to end up in a digital world, give people that back, which is why looking at looking at the camera is right now in the UK, particularly because we are, we’re in the middle of this zone right now, I guess, different in China, it’s different in different locations than where you are in America, Matt, but in the UK right now, we have to look through the camera at people’s eyes because we’re not getting it in the physical world.
Stuart: And I firmly believe that what happens in the physical is reflected in the digital, which means that if we’re not getting in the physical world, we’re not going to give it in the digital. We have to reinvent how we do soft skills that have to, I think it has to start on the screen and then, and then eventually make its way back into the physical world.
Matt: Well, we’ve talked about soft skills before, and I think even now it’s almost like a soft skill plus in order to communicate effectively through that digital media, because now it takes that extra level of awareness of, I may be looking that person in the eye on my screen, but I’m not looking at them on, in their eye as it translates into their computer. And so that extra layer of awareness of, well, how do, how am I coming across? Am I communicating effectively? And am I looking them in the eye? We carry around this social awareness with us to some degree, some more than others. But now there is this layer that we have to almost like, you know, like you’ve done stage work, you, your movements have to be more pronounced. Your voice has to be, you know, more directed and your eyes have to, every movement has to be more in order to communicate. And I think it’s very similar to this and the digital format.
Stuart: Yeah. Which of course we already knew. And interestingly, you talk about Google, Matt, whenever I work with Google a bit and whenever I’m on a call with them, I’m really impressed. And in fact, generally with any American entrepreneur or business that I work with, I’m really impressed with that directness. And I’m really impressed with their volume. And I’ve always been impressed with that, particularly on a WebEx. And I wonder whether I, it goes back to a couple of things. One is just the culture that we come from. So I remember my friend. So I listened to a, when I was an actor, I never made it. You can find me on YouTube. If you search really hard, you can find it. But it is quite hard to find me. And when I was learning about accent, they talked about the English and the American accent and they said, what happened way back? When was it when the English sailed over and discovered America, they went from a very small Island where everything’s like very apologetic. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for breathing, I’m so British. They went to America where like, wow, everything is so big and loud and there’s so much space, we’re free! And so I think our voices reflect the geography of our culture. And you know,
Matt: Its interesting.
Stuart: Yeah, I just think that the question I’m asking this up with you right now is what is the geography of a culture right now? It is actually the room that we’re in because we can’t go out.
Matt: I think that’s powerful because that that’s one thing that’s always fascinated me about the UK is the accent changes 20 miles away. And it, you know, and just, it doesn’t long before you’re in a completely different accent. Whereas here in the U S you, you have to go hundreds of miles. But you know, even though, and this maybe supports your theory, that because things have become so mobile because so people were becoming more they’re, they’re moving around more. I was in Boston for a training seminar, which I loved because I grew up near Boston.
But as I was delivering the workshop, not one person in a 40 person class had a Boston accent. And it was very obvious to me. And I finally asked him like, how many people are originally from somewhere else outside of Massachusetts and the entire room. And, and it just, I, it, it almost bothered me cause I felt like I’m home, but home is different because I’m expecting to hear the, the, the accent that I grew up with and nobody has it, it, because everyone’s so mobile and moving around it was really, I, you know, something I read that really stuck with me for months afterwards, that things are changing. It just, you know, I can’t imagine going to Boston and not hearing the accent.
Stuart: Yeah. Yeah. And now you can’t even go to Boston.
Matt: I can’t go anywhere right now. Yeah,
Stuart: Gosh. Yeah. It is. Heading back to the webinars that I’m doing I’m doing like a six series on them and I’m working through. So I realized that there has to be a paradigm shift, Steve Covey in his book, seven habits of highly effective people, which by the way, they really need to rename that it’s such a long title, but it’s a really interesting book. And I love it. It says in the introduction, we all have to have a paradigm shift. So, you know, you can be told slow down and then you might slow down or you might see a video of a car crash. And what happens if you don’t slow down and suddenly your eyes are open to the reality of your actions at that, the idea of a paradigm shift, I think we have to have a paradigm shift and it has to happen now and if doesn’t happen now,
Stuart: It will happen in a month time or two months’ time by every single person on how we do meetings in, in, in our homes. It’s not just digital. So the reason why I’m doing my webinar is because the first three sessions are going to be about our story. So what’s our story? How do you figure out how to even create your own story? Like the methodology of a story with a beginning and a middle and an end with picture and emotion, how do you stop the communicate that well with short sentences and breathing and all the stuff I learned as an actor from all those years ago, how do you then become like a beacon of light, right? And until you’ve got all those skills in place, you can’t really then speak, I don’t think into the culture of your team that you’re in right now, your company, but once you’ve got those things in place, you can then start to live out really good storytelling skills and then start to influenced the culture. And then, so I think that guys on this call, let’s have a one minute stand up and let’s make sure that we speak in picture because this is what I’ve been doing for the past four weeks or whatever. But I think I have to skill people up to be great to then bring it to that company because, here’s the beautiful thing. Now it’s possible, but an entire company, if they want to engage in it. So really think about that common language and that common story, because everyone’s in the same position,
Matt: Yeah I Just gave this advice to somebody else that now is the time to sit back and really review, what are we trying to do? What’s our message? And are we consistent in that message? And I even gave a little analytics spin to it that, you know, what are the essential measurements we need? Because now everything is being sent around by email. The reports are going to have to become more efficient. We can’t do data dumps anymore because no one’s going to read it. People are working from home, they have access to all of their things. They’re not going to sit and read a 40 page report about, you know, the sales pipeline. It’s got to be distilled into actionable information. And, and I think part of that is that culture. Yeah. It’s that cultural message of who are we? And what’s important.
Stuart: And actually, if you are communicating with stories in face-to-face, then maybe there’s an impact in actually, can we please get this into our text? So, you know, I’ve said this loads of times up at Moravian, but its 55 is body language, 38% of tonality. As in how you say what you say and 7% of content. And if everyone is opting for the safe 7%, then they aren’t thinking that actually 93% of what they want to say is not being understood. Wow. Like it’s getting there, but [inaudible] glass, and you can’t, you know, you can’t hear it. Yeah. It is. It is really interesting. And I’ve, I’ve developed, I’ve, I’ve made up this thing that I’m quite excited about. I called it the box with the idea. I love zoom. I’m a fan of them. If they’re a little bit conky down again, but one of the things it does, it breaks people out into rooms.
Stuart: If you’ve got like big projects. And so I’ve, I can coach a hundred people at a time for an hour, a couple of hours, and I can introduce this thing called a box where basically I take them through the paces of how do you create a story? How do you deliver it really well? And now get in your pairs, get in your zoom rooms and start to pitch to each other. And then they all come back and then they pitch to me and I threatened different obstacles, like speaking the style of Kung fu. And I, I make it fun. I’ll make it challenging. And then at the end, there’s a winner. And the winner gets some free coaching with me. I just told you that they hang on a minute. There’s three of us in amplify at the moment, we could do three, two hour sessions in day, which means technically we could coach 1200 people in a day, which means if in 5 days or in 10 days, I’ve coached 15,000 people. Like that’s an entire company. And I’ve never been able to do that before.
Matt: That is fantastic. I, I, I’m going through something similar as it as well here where, you know, I was looking to start this maybe in the fall of doing a small group online coaching for digital marketing. And now you, you know, I, I was doing some digital workshops already this month, so it hasn’t been a big disruption, but I’m not going anywhere. I have nowhere to go. So, you know, I’m, I’m okay, I’m going to move this up until, you know, and launch it in May you know, taking 10 to 12 people through giving assignments, feedback, office hours, and you work on your own website and all the lessons will be about your own website, but then having a time where the 10 to 12 students can come together and discuss among themselves. Here’s what I learned. Here’s what I’m doing because some people are going to be in B2B.
Matt: Some are going to be in B to C, some are going to be healthcare. Some are going to be technology. Because part of digital marketing really I have found is understanding what other people deal with and how they work through those problems, because someday you’re going to have those. And so it, it’s a really great way of having that interaction. So yeah, I mean, I’m moving the launch date up on this because it’s needed and the opportunity is there. So it’s I’m glad to hear you’re working on that as well. I think that’s powerful. And it gives companies a way to really kind of hit that reset button right now, instead of just, you know, because right now a lot of people don’t want to hear sales messages. No one knows when they’re going to get back to work. And part of it is when they do get back to work, it’s going to be hit the ground running. Or is it going to be limited in some way? No one knows what’s going to happen in two weeks.
Stuart: Do you know what I’m? That is weird. That’s so weird. We’ve never been in a place where no one knows what’s going to happen in like, even tomorrow, like last night, I don’t know what it’s like in America, but when Borris Johnson, he got on the TV and he just said, basically, you can’t leave your homes. I was like, I just sat down and went. I’ve never experienced this before. Which means everything is different. Which again, back to how you do digital meetings, I think people forget that there is an outside world that is hugely effecting the world online. So one of the things that I’ve, again, I think that the reason why I’m doing six weeks as well is I want to give people the opportunity to be able to continually come back to the skill that they need, which is how the heck do I do digital meetings?
Stuart: Because if you’ve got a stakeholder or a loved one, or you’ve been told you, can’t leave your home, you’re going to bring that to the zoom. And you’re going to bring that lack of energy. And I’m not just going to bring the whole meeting down. I think the problem is because we are in our own homes, we forget that we’re at work and therefore we become a little bit lackadaisical or we get a little bit too relaxed or, you know, worst case scenario. I’m sure. Hopefully no one does it now, people in their pajamas, but all of that takes away the energy. And then you add the stress of what’s going on in the world. And you’re like, you’re coming at minus 10. And the problem, when anyone comes up on a minus 10 on a meeting, is it, they bring everyone down to the lowest common denominator.
Matt: Wow. I can.
Stuart: So I think we almost have to be, what the highest common denominator is right now. How many times can I smile in a meeting? How many times can I nod? How many times can I pivot my eyes back to the camera? How many times can I even think about what I’m saying? Like the way we say things. So there’s that I’m going to read something out to you here. So this is a book, right? And just the book fairs. It’s not exciting line. It says London has always been a vibrant and highly influential city. So that said one way, London has always been a vibrant and highly influential city.
This is me really thinking about how to say that a bit dramatic, just to warn you. London has always been a vibrant, highly influential city. Obviously, completely over the top, but what I did, I looked at the text and I went, you know what, I’m just going to go to town on this. And I think if people before they got on their digital meetings, if they took a toilet break, if they did a stretching exercise, if they got a gardener, a window, if they stepped their window, if they sat down and if they over pronounced one or two sentences on that oh, slightly over-exaggerated, that would bring the energy to the digital meeting.
Matt: Absolutely. How you say, well, that’s what my, I love it. It’s what my grandmother always told me that Matt, it’s not what you said. It’s how you said it. And that has stuck with me. It is so true in every situation you know, in sales, in presentations, it it’s, it’s how you say it that people remember.
Stuart: Yeah. Yeah. I know. If I picture the thing that I have been banging on about this year is that now science proves that basically our brains are wired for picture. So you and I received two thirds of information. So what I’m giving you now, we receive it and translate that into a picture, which means that if I’m not giving you at any point a picture, if I’m not hinting at a picture, if I’m not even trying to paint a picture, I will say words on your brain will go, where’s the picture. And it will go off and find it. So if I say the results for Q2 while the best picture that, but you might be thinking about the results of the of the soccer match. They got canceled because of COVID-19. And you’re thinking about a soccer match, and you’re thinking about a stadium. And all I said is the results of Q2. And in like half a second, you’ve gone somewhere else. And as a speaker, I will not know that you’ve gone somewhere else. So I always say to every person that I coach, you just have to constantly be saying to yourself, am I painting a picture. It’s irrelevant. It’s irrelevant. If you’re exhausted, it’s irrelevant. If it’s the CEO of the company, it’s irrelevant. If it’s a conflict scenario, even more important if it’s conflict. But if you’re not trying to paint the picture, you will lose your audience and you won’t know you’ve done it.
Matt: That’s the Wonderful. Well, speaking of a painting, a picture Stewart, let’s talk about the screen and what people see on the screen from your camera. You’ve got to, and I look at it, you know, to use your background, it’s a stage and you’ve got to set the stage. Again, when people look at their selves on the camera, they probably aren’t happy with what they see, but yet they don’t know what to do. And, and one thing I have found that has worked really well is I now have repositioned so that my camera, where my laptop, or I also have a standing desk with a camera they’re up against windows. And so I have the natural light of the window coming in on my face rather than the window in the background. Because if the window is in the background, all the light will come from there and it will make you look really dark, but positioning your camera in a window or, or in front of a window, allows all that natural light on your face. And it makes a completely different picture. It, it lightens it up. The emphasis is on you and the background then is much darker.
Matt: That helps paint a better picture. And then also think about what’s in the background, you know, no bright lights, no windows, you know, if you’ve got a bookcase in the background, fantastic turn off the TV, you know, those types of things, but think about the stage that you are setting in the camera, because that’s part of that picture that you’re painting. Don’t give people distractions.
Stuart: Hmm. I like that a lot. I liked that a lot because that was for me, if you’re really thinking, and if you’re thinking about the background and hopefully you’re probably thinking more about you as well, rather than just rocking up. The light thing is really cool because I, whenever the, when, whenever light’s behind me. Yeah, it does make the whole image look a lot better, but I was, I can never figure out until now what that is. Yeah. That’s really good. It’s interesting. I’m going to be doing some recording of them on some films, right? Some little videos. And having that, finding that background is challenging because the question is, what the look you want to have say is, and I’m sure many of us will start recording more and more videos and perhaps even, you know, curriculums and all of that. I think the challenge then to think about the background at that point is probably the plainest background that you can do that, you can keep consistently well-lit if you are doing a series of videos. But I think when it comes to your right, zoom, teams is finding that background’s really important.
Matt: Part of this comes from having a daughter who’s a photographer. And so, yeah, she is explaining to me, just the importance of the lighting, that when you go get your picture taken, the photographer has at least two to three, maybe four lights, and there’s a light there’s lights directly on your face. There’s lights underneath to get rid of those shadows underneath your chin. And also the background is lit. And so sometimes not even just in front of the window, I’ll put another light in front because the more your face is lit up, the more those shadows are gone, the better you look on camera. And then even having that background lit up a bit can help really create more contrast the more contrast in your faces, the easier it is to look at. So just, just these minor things, rather than, you know, slumping in your chair with a window in a background, everything’s going to look dark. You’re going to be almost featureless besides the major features. And no one will be able to see your reaction. It’s going, like you said, it brings the energy down.
Stuart: Yeah. Yeah. And for me, I’ve got blonde hair, which means if you’ve got blonde hair and blonde eyebrows and [inaudible] cause as you might as well do radio, cause no one would see you when you’ve got light hair, just a random thought. But when you’ve got light hair, light eyebrows and it’s even more important to be well lit because you look washed out. Yep.
Matt: Yes. And I noticed that, I mean, there are times I look at my own camera and I feel like, Oh my goodness. So, you know, I’m pale we’re all going to be pale after the next few days.
Stuart: We’re all going to look tired matt. Right?
Matt: Yup. Yup. It’s, it’s been interesting these times here. And so yeah, it, it, it’s going to change the way we work. I think a lot of companies will realize that, you know what, maybe, you know, hopefully there was some productivity increase through something like this. But I think people are going to be more comfortable with telecommuting or with using freelancers. It’s going to be interesting to see how this changes but at the same time, our behavior, our awareness has to change with it.
Stuart: Yeah. Very interesting. And I’d love to keep checking in with you to have conversations about what we’re observing, because I think every week there was another mega trend that we’re observing and I think it’s really important for people to hear and understand the landscape that they’re in.
Matt: I think it’d be great. And I’ll take you up on that offer. I think I’d love to check in with, you know, at least once a week here as we go through this and, and let’s see what we can do to help people pitch more effectively and have better meetings.
Stuart: That’s sounds great.
Matt: Alright, Stuart, thank you so much for your time.
Stuart: Always a pleasure Matt.
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