I’ve been on Clubhouse since November 27th, but didn’t fully start using the app in that addictive-not-sleeping-talking-about-it-on-Facebook sort of way until last week. But as I do with anything I dive headfirst into, I’ve amassed a ridiculous level of information in a short period of time, so for those who are just getting on or trying to figure out how to navigate the app, I’m going to share what I’ve learned about hosting rooms.
But first, a few notes….
How To Get On The Platform
Right now it is an invite only iOS exclusive experience, so getting an invite is a bit tricky. Whenever someone joins, they are given ONE invite. Keep in mind who you give that invite to. If they get on the platform and start contributing valuable info, your profile will get brownie points and the app might bestow on you some more invites. In addition, hosting rooms on the app and using the app often trigger more invites.
There are a lot of theories to how to get on the app, but for now – here’s the best way. Go to Clubhouse, download the app, and reserve your username. Then find someone who’s already on the app and exchange text numbers. It’s important you have each other as contacts (and maybe even text back and forth a bit). The idea is when the user opens up the app, it *might* trigger a notification that says,
“So-and-so is on the waitlist and one of your contacts. Would you like to invite them in (don’t worry it won’t count against your invites).”
Try this! Keep in mind, this advice probably won’t age well if you’re reading this post a few weeks or months in, since they are planning to open the doors publicly soon.
How To Use Clubhouse
There are a ton of guides and resources out there already on how to use the app, so I’m not going to focus on that for this post. You can do a simple Google search, or better yet – attend one of the “new clubhouse user” rooms and learn the ropes while on the app. That’s how I did it, and it’s very effective. Some of these rooms run 24 hours a day so there’s a ton of info there.
The most important thing you want to do is to create your bio. It’s keyword sensitive and there’s plenty of room to write all the awesomeness you want, so make sure to take a little time on your bio. Write it in your NOTES app, format it, and then copy and paste it into the app. Get yourself a nice photo that isn’t too far away or close up since this will be the primary way people recognize you in a room.
Lastly, because there is no direct messaging, you’ll want to hook up your Twitter or IG account in your bio so if people want to connect with you, they can click that link and send you a DM (right now that’s the only link on the bio). Some people are adding text numbers or email contact info as well.
Now let’s get to the meat of this article which is, how to host an awesome room on Clubhouse!
What Are Rooms and What Are They Good For?
This is the core feature of the app: Rooms. In its simplest form, a room is a place where people can come in and talk. Think of Zoom, but no video, no chat, no texting, no reactions, no recording, no computer. It sounds pretty stripped down right? It is, and that’s one of the most beautiful parts about it. You can have private rooms (closed to the public where you “ping” people into the room), or public rooms.
Inside a room there is the host (top left corner), then the speakers (these are people that the host pulls onto the stage at the top of the screen), and then the listeners. The host is a moderator and can assign other speakers to be moderators, and moderators can mute and unmute people, as well as move people from the audience to the stage and back.
Now, just because it’s called a room and all rooms essentially function the same way, does NOT mean there aren’t a million nuances to how rooms run, because there are.
Types of Rooms
How the room functions is 100% up to the host of the room. Here are just a few types of rooms you may want to host, and again, even though there is no official “room type” it’s incredibly important that YOU KNOW what you want out of the room so you can manage the audience that trickles in.
Presentation Rooms: These rooms should have only one or two people on stage with everyone else in the audience. Make sure the title of the room and the host makes it clear that they (or the speaker they bring in) is here to share and speak. Think of it similar to a sermon at church or a speaker on stage. If you plan to take questions at the end, keep the hand raising feature turned off until the presenter is nearly done. Then you can start letting people on stage to ask their question.
Casual Convo Rooms: These rooms are exactly as they sound, just simple casual conversation around a topic. It really doesn’t work well in a big room so if you’re planning to have everyone on stage with the ability to speak and interject, you may want to do a closed room to keep the size small.
Mastermind Rooms: These rooms are usually led by a small group of people, and are on a specific topic. The idea is to have a few experts, but also to bring audience members on stage to ask questions and give feedback and ideas. In my opinion, these are some of the most engaging rooms on Clubhouse, but also super difficult to moderate well. We’ll discuss that in a bit!
Q&A or Town Hall Rooms: These rooms usually start with a bit of information/teaching or announcements, and then are followed by an orderly Q&A style queue where people come on stage, ask a question, and then return to the audience. When you first join Clubhouse, join one of the beginner rooms and you’ll see it’s running much like this.
Specialty Rooms: These rooms are any room that doesn’t follow any of the above formats. For example there are reading rooms, music rooms (where people perform or just listen to music), affirmation rooms, dating and matchmaking rooms, etc. As you fall down the Clubhouse rabbit hole you’ll see how creative people get with their rooms!
The takeaway here is this: I literally made up these categories because it encapsulates the patterns I’m seeing on Clubhouse and it’s important to set the intention of what you’re trying to do before you host the room. If you plan to do a presentation and pull 15 people on stage, they will feel annoyed that they have the ability to speak but can’t because you’re talking for 45 minutes straight.
Room Moderation Best Practices
Once you’ve got the idea or topic for the room, plus the way you plan to facilitate it, the next thing to know is that moderation is key. My suggestion is to find a cohost that has more experience so you can practice with someone who can help before you single handedly run your own room.
Eliminate Backstory: Tell your audience (and remind yourself) that there is no need for backstory when they start speaking. People have no idea how long they talk when they give backstory, so explain that at the beginning, and EVERY time you notice a bunch of people show up in the room. The bio works as a backstory. No need to give it in the room. Make this rule SUPER clear from the get go.
Restate Your Question: Whenever you bring people onto the stage to give an opinion, restate the prompt for each person so it helps keep the conversation on track. For example, the other day I hosted a room about Clubhouse and every person that came up I said, “Hi ________, what’s been your favorite room on Clubhouse and why?” This way, any new people coming into the room will quickly be able to catch up, and your speakers will stay on topic.
Ask Your Question: If you are hosting a room where the audience is asking the questions, then do this: “Hi ___________, what question do you have about (insert your topic)?”
Avoid Inside Jokes: If you are hosting a room with a few friends, remember that inside jokes only feel good to the people on the inside. To everyone else, it sets a ton of “I’m an outsider”. Resist talking to your co-hosts and not engaging the audience. No one wants to just sit and watch other people have fun.
Reset the Room: This simply means that every so often, restate the purpose and guidelines of the room. This way as people come into the room, they can get caught up on the vibe and energy and get more out of the room.
Keep a Queue: So this depends on whether you are doing a casual convo room, a mastermind room, or a Q&A style room. When you want to facilitate a discussion where a bunch of people can interject throughout the convo, you want to have no more than 9 or so people on the stage with the ability to talk. I’ve seen rooms with more but it’s tricky. Keep in mind that the people who remain on the stage often get more follows, and there’s also a spot in the room where it shows everyone the speakers are following so it’s definitely a visibility play. If you aren’t planning that type of conversation, then it’s important to keep a queue.
What this means is that you pull people on stage in batches. Get a few people up, and let each person speak in order. Then as soon as they are done, put them back into the audience. You can turn on and off the hand raising feature so people know when they can raise their hand to join you on stage, vs. when it’s time to be a listening audience member.
Manage Time: This one is so hard, but you can set the intention for the length of time you plan to speak, the length of time you plan to converse, or the length of time you plan to do Q&A. You also want to encourage people to keep their comments to a certain time limit. I’ve seen rooms where one person goes on and on and it’s just a literal snoozefest.
Encourage People To Speak: Unless you’re doing a presentation style room, remember that the only tool you have is your voice. Keep high energy and be welcoming. Encourage people to speak up and raise their hand. Anyone who is less than seven days on the platform will have a party hat on their image so you can see who the newbies are.
Don’t Be a Pitch Idiot: What I’ve found is that people reach out on IG if they like what I have to say. I don’t have to pitch my offer while I’m talking. I can put it in my bio and carry the conversation on IG or Twitter DM.
Instant Rooms vs. Events
There are two ways to start rooms. The first way is to literally hit “Start Room” and open up! You have the choice to create an open room, a social room, or a closed room. This is very organic. The only one that people don’t quite get is the “social” room. Open means PUBLIC. Social means that only your followers can see it. Closed means it’s private to only who you ping.
The second way to start a room is with an event. This will be a set in time event that your followers will see and then can add to their calendar. It also generates a link for the event that people can put on social. When it’s time to start the event, you’ll go to the event and then open up the room. After you host three or so events within three weeks, you can apply for a club. A club is a topic that you host your rooms under that people can follow.