There has been a lot of buzz about Twitter and blogging during presentations and conferences lately. There seems to be two camps: those that advocate the use of Twitter and live-blogging and those that don’t.
The later camp says Twitter and live-blogging is ruining the speaker’s presentation and that it’s rude because people are not paying attention. This group feels that laptops, mobile devices and flip cameras should be banned from the presentation room. These speakers and conference organizers claim that attendees are surfing the web with their laptops and mobile devices instead of listening to the presenter. They believe that if an attendee has nothing to do but watch a speaker present that will make the speaker’s presentation better. In other words, if we remove all distractions, if we can control your attention, we can control your mind and you’ll enjoy the presentation and learn. Huh? Seriously?
Well, I have news for you, presenter, Twitter isn’t killing your presentation. You are. And I have news for you, conference organizers and meeting planners, if you don’t hire the right type of speaker and you don’t encourage Web 2.0 participation, you’re dulling your event.
To Presenters-Those Savvy And Ignorant
If you’re a savvy presenter, know how to deliver a presentation, have decent content and have a focus on the attendee, your audience will be engaged and listening. And if you encourage attendees to use the tools they have with them to retain and share information, they’ll take notes, spread your message in the Web 2.0 world and even engage others outside your presentation room with your content from the event during your presentation. If you’re a poor presenter and your content is lacking, you’ve lost your audience and they’ve tuned you out regardless if they have a laptop or mobile device with them.
Presenter, just because they are staring at you does not mean they are enjoying your presentation or listening. If you’re not engaging them, their minds are wandering, wondering how long you will droll on, when the next function starts, why you’re wearing that ugly suit, what they are missing back at work, and on and on.
Speakers, the presentation is not about you anyway, it is about the attendee. And presenter your job is to figure out how to craft your message using good pedagogy (adult learning techniques) that will engage your audience, gain their trust and thus gain their attention to deliver your content.
Meeting Planners-Those Savvy And Ignorant
If you’re a seasoned meeting and event planner, you’ll question potential speakers if they know how to deliver a presentation while the audience is tweeting and live-blogging, before you hire them.
- If the speaker says, “No, that’s rude. I don’t think the audience should be tweeting or live-blogging.” Don’t hire them.
- If the speaker says “I’ve not had much experience with an audience using Twitter and live-blogging during my presentation and it’s ok by me.” Keep them on your consider list.
- If the speaker says, “Yes, I’ve learned to read an audience and can tell from their body language if they are tweeting about my presentation or if they are surfing the net. So, I adjust my presentation accordingly. And if you’ll allow it, I would like to have a live internet feed to take questions and comments during my presentation. I would also like for that Twitter stream to be magnified for all to see using a second LCD projector and screen.” Put that speaker on the short list! You have a winner. Now, let’s hope this speaker also has good presentations skills and content for a home-run.
To all of you speakers, associations, conference organizers, event and meeting planners, if you try to control your audience by banning laptops, mobile devices and flip cameras, you’re doing yourself, your audience and your organization a great disservice. Yeah, yeah, the speaker has in their contract that they don’t allow videotaping. You can announce that at the beginning of the presentation. It’s not your job to police the room or enforce their copyright. Let the speaker do the enforcing.
Read More About Twitter And Live-Blogging From Your Event
How To Live Blog (Or Twitter) An Event Effectively by Rohit Bhargava
Five Ways To Visualize Twitter At Events by Julius Solaris
How to Present While People are Twittering by Olivia Mitchell
Research Paper: Tweeting At Conferences
Eight Ways To Make Your Meeting Or Event Blog And Twitter Friendly
The 8 Things I Learnt Today About Using Twitter As A Participation Tool in a Presentation by Olivia Mitchell
6 Tips For Using Twitter For Your Event & Conference