Food For Thought – The Art of Engagement with Gavin Megaw

At Cubo, we always think bigger. So we’re very grateful that the first speaker in our new Food For Thought events series thinks bigger too.

We came to hear Gavin Megaw, director at @hanovertweets and @playbook_agency, give a talk about public speaking. What he gave instead was a bigger picture look at ‘The Art of Engagement’ – something he tells us should not be confined to public speaking, presenting or pitching but should be the cornerstone of all communication with others – whether that be colleagues, clients or parent/spouse/child negotiations. That’s big.

My 3 top takeaways:

Be clear, concise and compelling.

Through (1) Content (2) Body Language and (3) Tone.

Engagement is determined by content (7%), body language (55%) and tone (38%) – but we all spend our time perfecting content and forgetting to practice or improve our body language or tone.

The barriers to engagement are very real in the modern world. An audience’s temptation to check their phone for emails; the latest news alert; or even a WhatsApp from granny are all hard to resist and make our job harder, whatever the content. We need to give ourselves the best shot of cutting through and resonating with our audience.

Before any meeting, remember why you’re in the room and what you’re bringing to the session. Lay out the 5 or 6 core questions that you could be asked and define your 3 key messages to answer those questions to reinforce why you’re in the room. We all switch off to politicians or business leaders who skirt around troubling questions – so make sure you answer yours directly!

Content, body language and tone must be authentic – be yourself and be genuinely passionate about your 3 key messages. There’s nothing worse than an inauthentic, underprepared know-it-all who thinks they can wing an answer on the spot – your audience will see right through it.

Look to change how you sit, use simple language and slow down your speech when delivering key messages – this will make your audience stop and listen, even if they’ve switched off beforehand.

Huge thanks to @GavinMegaw for coming down and kicking off our ‘Food For Thought’ series in style here at Cubo. An inspirational hour and a great example of how to be clear, concise and compelling – giving us all the necessary tools to improve our communications. Thanks Gavin.

Jocelyn Kirby, Senior Account Executive @ Cubo