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Use Twitter to Improve Your Next Presentation

March 8, 2012 1 comment

Thanks to Twitter, conferences are more social and open. A few years ago, if your audience is looking down at their mobile device, it probably meant that you lost them and they were checking email. These days, audience members clacking on their devices might mean they’re tweeting something meaningful that you said. Tweets from the audience benefit in at least four ways:

  • memorializes the important points from your presentation
  • expands your reach to folks that aren’t in attendance
  • promotes you as an authority on the subject
  • builds a relationship with the audience

Picture of a speaker

As a presenter, these benefitscome without any effort on your part. But why rest on your laurels, letting the tweets to fall to the ground? Analyzing your presentation tweets can help you improve and fine-tune your material for future opportunities.Here are five ways to use Twitter to improve future presentations.

1. What was tweeted/retweeted the most?

Which part of the presentation got the most tweets and retweets? These were the nuggets that came out of your presentation. This might not be what you thought was the most valuable, but that’s what the audience thought, which is what matters most. Review these tweets and see if they match what you thought were the most important quotes. If there’s a disconnect, fine-tune your presentation to make your nuggets more tweetable.

2. Where are the gaps?

Most likely, not everything you say will be valuable to your audience. There will be periods where no one is tweeting. Since tweets are time-stamped, you can estimate the lulls and figure out what you were saying during the long pauses. This doesn’t necessarily mean the material was boring or unimpressive. It could also mean that you were speaking too fast or tried to say too much at one time. There have been many times when I, as an audience member, tried to tweet something, but lost my thought halfway through because the speaker already moved on. When that happens, that’s a lost opportunity for the speaker.

3. Are people paraphrasing too much?

One of the drawbacks of twitter is that you have no control over what your audience is tweeting.  Sometimes, if you’re point is not clear and concise, your audience can begin the tweet with your words but end with their own. Of course, the audience is not purposely trying to twist your words, but if you speak too fast or have too many thoughts at one time, the audience might accidentally misinterpret or misuse your words. If there are many paraphrased tweets, you might want to chunk up your ideas or simplify the language the next time you present.

4.  Do you encourage your audience to connect with you?

Most likely, your audience will have questions. Many times, only a few are asked because 1) some people are too shy to ask in front of a crowd, 2) the questions don’t come until they digest the material later, or 3) you take too much time answering a question that people are afraid to ask another.

Remind your audience during the presentation to contact you if there’s a question. If you know your audience, you know which topics will generate the most questions. The interaction doesn’t have to be limited to the time in the conference room. Encourage them to engage with you after the conference and give you feedback on what was most/least helpful to them.

5. Is your presentation available online?

The most common question is probably: “can I get a copy of your presentation.” Why not put it online ahead of time and  announce the URL during your presentation? Once it’s online, you get the web traffic analytics, allow comments, enable sharing, and you have a web presence for your presentation to live on in perpetuity. Have a coworker or friend tweet it while you’re speaking.

Twitter is an integral part of trainings, conferences and educational events. If you are a speaker, don’t waste the opportunity to review the tweets about your presentation to improve for future opportunities.