9 Tips for Enriching Your Presentations With Social Media // conferences & sermons, pay attention
Olivia Mitchell is a presentation trainer and blogger. She blogs at Speaking about Presenting and has written a free eBook “How to Present with Twitter and Other Backchannels.” Follow her on Twitter.
Pioneer presenters are using social media to engage their audience and extend the reach of their ideas. Twitter (
), Facebook (
), and numerous custom online tools allow presenters to create a backchannel for their audience’s ideas and feedback. This two-way engagement can enrich the audience’s understanding as well as the presenter’s effectiveness.
Here are 9 tips for improving your presentations with social media.
1. Build Relationships With Your Audience
Some of the most proactive use of social media in presentations is seen not in conferences, but in higher education. Sugato Chakravarty teaches a personal finance class at Purdue University. Professor Chakravarty encourages students to comment, critique and ask questions during his lectures. But they’re not doing it out loud — they’re using Hotseat, a tool developed at the university which allows them to comment via Twitter, Facebook or text message.
“I’ve seen a huge increase in interaction. I believe it adds a degree of richness to what’s being taught,” Chakravarty says.
Meeting planners and conference organizers are also using online community tools to help conference attendees network both pre and post-event. Use these tools to get to know your audience and find out what they want from your presentation. There’s also an extra benefit. Laura Bergells, an experienced backchannel presenter explains that “it’s harder to snark at a presenter when you’ve previously created an online relationship! Connecting with an audience on Twitter first can turn an anonymous audience into a more friendly, interactive audience.”
2. Recruit a Backchannel Team
Social media can enrich your presentation, but it’s an extra ball to juggle. Ask a colleague to monitor the backchannel during your presentation. Let them know what type of feedback they should pass on to you. Assign a second colleague to answer questions and add links to additional resources. Chakravarty has two teaching assistants who enrich his lectures by doing this.
3. Create a Separate Hashtag
Make it easy for your audience to identify the backchannel for your presentation by creating an additional hashtag to isolate it. This can clarify which direction information flows between the presenter and audience.
Because Twitter hashtag searches only go back 6-10 days, create an archive with Twapper Keeper to ensure the Twitter backchannel will be available later.
4. Welcome the Backchannel
Cliff Atkinson emphasizes the value of making the backchannel welcome in his book “The Backchannel: How Audiences are Using Twitter and Social Media and Changing Presentations Forever.” Use a slide to display your Twitter username, any other social media handles, and the hashtags for your presentation. “This provides a visual cue that you welcome the backchannel from the start,” says Atkinson.
5. Reach Out to Your Virtual Audience
Give your virtual audience a heads up that your presentation is about to start. Richard Wiseman, a British psychologist and magician lets his Twitter followers know whenever he’s about to present.
If you’re presenting at a conference, many people will already be following the conference hashtag on Twitter. Amongst them will be fellow experts whose contributions will enrich your presentation. Let them know that you welcome their participation.
6. Make Your Key Points Tweetable
Make your presentation social media-friendly by expressing each of your main points as a tweetbite. Phrases from Scott Berkun’s keynote at the Web 2.0 Expo were retweeted many times thanks to their brevity and clarity.
Ensure your tweetbites are easily retweetable by allowing space for your username. If you’re using slides, display your tweetbites. You can also ‘program’ both PowerPoint and Keynote to publish tweets when you click onto a slide using clever add-ins like Slide Tweet for PowerPoint, and Keynote Tweet for Keynote.
7. Audience Participation Through Social Media
The game-changing aspect of the backchannel is that audience participation now scales. What was previously only possible in physically-present small groups is now possible with thousands scattered across the globe. The physical delivery of your presentation is just the nucleus.
8. Display the Backchannel When You Want to Focus on It
There’s been a debate around the display of the backchannel as a result of Dana Boyd’s presentation meltdown at the Web 2.0 Expo. The solution is simple – only display the backchannel when you want your audience to focus on it. Displaying the backchannel is useful when you’re answering questions submitted via social media. If you’re not focused on the backchannel, don’t display it. It will just be a distraction to those who want to pay attention to you.
9. Learn From the Backchannel
Enrich your future presentations by analyzing the blow-by-blow account of how your presentation was received. The feedback is likely to be more genuine and detailed than the typical conference evaluation form. In your next presentation, drop what fell flat, clarify areas of confusion, and capitalize on what resonated most with your audience.
More business resources from Mashable:
– HOW TO: Use Twitter Hashtags for Business
– Mashable’s Social Media Guide for Small Businesses
– 4 Ways Social Media is Changing Business
– 5 Advanced Social Media Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses
– 6 Must-Follow Steps for Selling in Any Economy
– 5 Easy Social Media Wins for Your Small Business
It’s all about interacting with your audience. Engaging your audience, whether from a live stream, in person, or even after the talk/event, is very important. Sometimes you won’t want to hear what the audience has to say because people are more honest and brutal behind a computer but it will make your presentation better and make you better as a presenter.
Are you using social media in your presentations? Have you figured out how to screen the back channel to make the live presentation better?