Unless you’ve been off the grid so far in 2021 (and frankly, things have been so crazy we couldn’t really blame you), you’ve almost certainly seen or heard the current frenzy of FOMO* around Clubhouse.

Clubhouse is the voice-only networking platform that seems to have driven the online business world mad, by pulling out the big gun of marketing strategy…

So far at least, it’s an invitation-only membership.

This creates a huge sense of importance and value, a fear of scarcity or being left behind, and a huge hit of dopamine when you’re admitted through its doors and look around you to see who you’re rubbing shoulders with. 

*FOMO – the fear of missing out. Not something I usually suffer, to be honest, because it often disguises something a bit elitist…and I gave up trying to be cool or cutting edge a very long time ago  – but, in full disclosure, I‘ll admit I was really pleased to receive my own invitation into the Clubhouse a couple of weeks ago.

I’ve caught up with some familiar faces and made some lovely new friends. 

And, yes I admit it, I’m enjoying the novelty of hanging out with the cool kids for the first time in my life.

From a networking point of view, it’s fab. It’s interactive, and people are making new connections, and sharing stages with people they might only have dreamed of chatting with. 

And it’s really flexible – you can just wander in and out of ‘discussion rooms’ at will, to see what takes your fancy from a very diverse menu of conversational topics. You don’t have to register like you would a zoom webinar. 

You can host rooms yourself and see who turns up. Some rooms are higher value than others – unsurprisingly – but there’s no denying there is a whole heap of free learning available in there.

But we are communication and impact strategists through and through – and we see a few potential issues for you if you’re thinking about how to use Clubhouse to promote yourself and your business. 

So, whether you’re eyeing up Clubhouse as a potential platform for your business, or you’re in there already and figuring out how to use it to your best advantage, you might want to consider a couple of things and make sure you work with them.

Sound or vision?

The first issue is a really practical consideration, and it’s about inclusivity. Clubhouse is audio only, so it’s a no-go, of course, for anyone who is hearing-impaired…and for anyone who is not instinctively an aural communicator.

Essentially, we usually have a preferred lens through which we perceive the world, and through which we process that. This falls into three groups – visual (what we see), aural (what we hear), and kinaesthetic (what we physically feel). 

If your communication preference is around speaking and listening, you’re going to love Clubhouse. If you’re more visual, it’s possible – dare we say likely – that you won’t. 

Perhaps more importantly – the same will apply to your audience.

This single-format might rule out more of your potential followers and customers than you might think. Various studies recently, from the likes of Forbes and Digitday, tell us that high percentages of people consume social media videos with the sound OFF, which is why video captions are becoming more important. A sound-only platform is stacked up against that potential preference.

No going back

The second thing to weigh up when you’re thinking about Clubhouse as a communication tool for your business is that nothing is recorded. 

You can’t go back for a replay. It’s that FOMO again – and it’s why there are people reporting a growing Clubhouse addiction! You’ve got to be there, you’ve got to be present. 

More importantly, though, for you as a content provider, it means you can’t get a second, third, fourth or fiftieth bite of the content cherry – which in other communication formats or on other platforms can be a fantastic way of increasing the number of eyes you get on your message and on your business. 

All that said, if you want a live discussion about something, Clubhouse looks brilliant. Whether you want to get data, engage, clarify, whatever your reason for wanting a live, real-time conversation – this is a great place to do it.

Good communication is balanced

Remember though that there is no communication format that is BEST. There may well be one you personally prefer, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to appeal to your audience and maximise your impact. 

We ask our clients all the time – which do you think is best, written or ‘face to face’ communication. (In this context, we take Clubhouse to be ‘face to face’, because it’s in real-time and unrecorded.)

In answer to that question, some people make a very firm choice between the two….but some people quite rightly say: it depends what the content is.

Face to face – or in Clubhouse land, voice to voice – conversation allows instant challenge, questions, clarification, a sense of involvement and connection, and so on. But it doesn’t allow anyone to go back and remind themselves what you said about that thing, or to check a fact or a brilliant quote they didn’t quite catch. 

And written or recorded content, on the other hand, suffers the downside of NOT having all that engagement, debate and real-time connection. But it can be referenced and verified, repurposed and revisited.

The perfect strategy for maximising your impact is a blend of both, completely in line with what you’re trying to achieve. 

(That’s) why we’re publishing this as a blog, having already shared this content by video…we know people consume content very differently!

So just bear in mind that Clubhouse could be amazing for you on one side of that seesaw, but it leaves you right out of balance if it’s your only or your primary platform.

And that leads nicely to the third thing you might want to think about when you’re choosing where to prioritise your time and focus on social media.

Your impact is so much more than just your words

If we look at some of the psychology, the neuroscience behind business communication and influencing others, we see there are three things that weave together to convey meaning to someone.

This means there are three factors that make up the impact you have on others.

Those three things are: what you say, what you sound like when you say it, and what you look like when you say it. That’s your words, your voice, and your body language.

Would it surprise you to know that body language accounts for more than half your message? To be precise, 55 per cent of your impact is conveyed in your posture, your movements, your facial expressions.

So when you’re on an audio-only platform, half your message may be lost.

To be clear, we’re not passing a judgement on Clubhouse. We’re both members ourselves and we’re plotting now how best to use it to help others.

But communicating for impact is our profession and has been for many years, and we just think you need to be aware of the gaps. Then you can decide if those gaps are ok, or at least think about how you balance them out. 

Of course, for some people, these gaps are positives. We get that this might be a more comfortable place for introverts, for example. And if physical visibility is an issue, Clubhouse is the answer to your prayers. (It’s certainly my platform of choice when I’m sitting in my pyjamas with biscuit crumbs down my front.) 

Just…be aware of how you’re reaching the people you want to engage, influence or persuade. 

Maximising your impact is not difficult, but it is a skill. And when it comes to any social media platform – not just the hottest gig in town right now – you will get the best results when you’re really intentional about the way you use it.

As always, we’d love to hear what you think…about Clubhouse, about different communication styles, about how other people have most impact on you. Please drop us a comment below or come and see us on our Facebook page…and please would you be kind enough to share this blog with anyone who wants to maximise the impact they have on others, and achieve that really intentionally? Thank you.

Until next time,

Lucy & Emma xx

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