Ask anyone who has been spending time on Clubhouse what they think of the social-audio platform and you’ll hear a range of responses:
- “I have never been so addicted to an app.”
- “There are so many interesting topics and speakers — I’m learning so much.”
- “It’s interesting but I haven’t found the right room yet.”
- “I enjoy smaller rooms. The bigger Clubhouse rooms are too chaotic.”
- “I’m exhausted because Clubhouse is cutting into my sleep.”
I love Clubhouse and find it to be super stimulating and interesting — it’s the ultimate human experiment. It is one of those platforms that takes a bit to figure out how you want to use it, what your preferences are, and what topics most resonate with you — but that’s true of any social platform. What I love about Clubhouse is the depth of connection and conversation, and the power of the voice to create an intimate and meaningful experience (well beyond what’s possible on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.).
A little over a month ago, Clubhouse raised $100 million at an astonishing $1 billion dollar valuation from one of the most well-known venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, Andreessen Horowitz — if that’s any indication of its growth trajectory. At this rate, it’s reasonable to assume Clubhouse will not only become the dominant audio-social platform but also create a whole new path for public speakers.
In the context of Clubhouse, industry leaders are becoming drop-in audio speakers.
I have been hosting a variety of Clubhouse rooms and panels over the past few months, and I’m already noticing a handful of best practices that separate engaging speakers and participants from those who are unproductive (or long-winded).
Here are a few things you can do to be a better drop-in audio speaker.
1. When hosting a room, make sure to state the intention of the room often.
We call this “resetting the room.”
When you first launch a room on the platform, it’s helpful to tell audience members what they’re listening to, who will be speaking, and why. However, as time goes on, new audience members will have joined, and others who were there at the beginning may have left, so it’s important to “reset the room.” Quickly state again what your room is about, who is speaking, and what the topic of discussion is for the group. It’s also helpful to clarify the format of the room (e.g., we’re doing a round of questions for the panelists and then we’ll be doing Q&A with the audience so please prepare a clear question for the panelists).
This helps new listeners feel up to speed, and increases the likelihood they’ll stick around.
2. Curate speakers who you know will provide significant value to listeners.
One of the most valuable things you can do to enhance the experience of a room is to bring excellent speakers.
These can be friends, co-workers, colleagues, industry peers, or even thought leaders in your network. Clubhouse listeners judge the rooms they step into very quickly, so it’s important that anyone who is speaking in your room is someone who, first, has interesting things to say, and second, is providing valuable insight related to the topic at hand. For example, if you are hosting a room on health and wellness advice, it’s better to curate true experts in health and wellness as speakers versus people in unrelated disciplines (that might have opinions about health and wellness).
3. Feel out the energy of the room, and always be thinking, “What does the group need most right now?”
Whether you are a speaker or a listener, this rule holds true.
Part of what makes Clubhouse so unique is that it really does feel like you’re inside a dinner party or (for the bigger rooms) a convention center — it just happens to be in your phone. And the same way you show up to an event and can “feel” the energy of the room, Clubhouse rooms are no different. So once you feel the energy of the room, ask yourself the question “What does this group need right now?” And act on that.
In some cases, it may be that the audience is eager to participate so it’s time to do Q&A (i.e., when you see lots of “raised hands”)
In other cases, that might mean prompting questions for the panel or encouraging someone specific to talk.
And sometimes it’s as simple as focusing on active listening so you can provide the best guidance to the speakers and audience.
4. Embrace serendipity and go with the flow.
Some Clubhouse rooms are intentionally curated as panel discussions, meaning people show up to listen to people share their thoughts on one central idea.
Some experiences on the platform are more organic and less controlled. There might be a handful of speakers or moderators, but the conversation goes off in directions nobody planned for. And this can be fun and unexpected! I’ve found it’s those serendipitous moments can be the most engaging for the audience — it’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment since it isn’t recorded. You had to be there to experience it.
5. When someone else is speaking, look at their bio to get context.
Your Clubhouse bio is the fastest, easiest way to give people context as to who you are, what you’ve done, what you’re currently working on, what you’re most likely to speak about, and most importantly, what you care about.
Whenever someone is speaking and I like what they’re saying or the sound of their voice, I’m checking out their bio, clicking through to Instagram, and learning more about them. It’s helpful to know whether this is someone speaking from experience, or just someone shooting from the hip and sharing his or her opinion. Conversely, if you are a speaker, it’s very helpful for listeners for you to explain a bit about who you are in your own bio so that they have context around what it is you’re sharing and why. (And I recommend linking to both IG and Twitter with DMs open so people can communicate with you.)
6. “In one breath, ask your question…”.
A best practice everyone should be aware of on the platform is the “one breath rule.”
The one breath rule is a gentler way of reminding people that it’s disrespectful to hog the stage — and this is true for both audience members and speakers. Sometimes when people are getting a bit long-winded or if there are lots of raised hands (i.e., people that want to come to the stage and ask questions), asking them to “share their question in one breath” helps them focus and get more concise. This helps everyone in the room be just a little bit more conscious; suddenly they’re not just thinking about own individual experience, but also the collective experience we’re sharing.
7. Don’t believe everything you hear.
And finally, just like any dinner party, event, or big industry conference: remember, everyone has an opinion.
Clubhouse is fun because it exposes you to a wide range of people, voices, perspectives, and insights. But it’s your responsibility to take everything shared with a grain of salt. Sometimes, you’ll hear something that will absolutely be what you needed to hear that day, and you’ll think to yourself, “This app is amazing.” Other times, someone will share a piece of advice you really disagree with — and that’s OK too. Take it for what it is, decide how you want to interpret it, and move on. And again, consider the source: often people are speaking in an authoritative way but from personal experience — it can be hard to find the true “experts” if they’re lost among a sea of people claiming to be experts. Do your research and follow the people that feel real, credible, authentic, and experienced.
If Clubhouse has done one thing right, it’s that it has done a fantastic job of gathering some of the world’s most interesting people into a social setting where people can feel like they’re all in the same room. Even industry icons like Oprah and Elon Musk have spoken on the platform.
So, if you are thinking about participating and speaking more on Clubhouse, do it in a conscious way. And I hope these tips might be helpful in your journey.