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Twitter – The Presenter’s New Best Bud – Part 4 – Whoops Two More “Before You Speak” Points


I can’t believe I almost forgot this point!

Let me start by confessing that I am a learning junky.  I love to attend webinars and live events with educational content.  I especially love watching a good speaker.  But I know, and I’m guessing you do too, that the speaker doesn’t have to be a good presenter to get great value out of the material they present.

At a recent in-person event I attended, the speaker’s delivery wasn’t that good – but he had excellent content and I got a lot of value out of the presentation. There were only a couple of us tweeting during the presentation and we’re both nice people so we never would have tweeted disparaging comments about the speaker.  But not all audiences are kind.

So while maybe it should go without saying, I’m gonna say it…  Before you speak in front of an audience – be good.

Please don’t misunderstand.  When I say “be good,” I don’t mean you have to deliver a speech with the eloquence of President Obama.  What I do mean is make sure you’ve taken care of the basics.  Know your audience and what they care about.  Provide content that is meaningful and relevant to the audience.  Speak about topics you’re knowledgeable on and can speak passionately about.  Don’t read your notes or your PowerPoint slides.  Have great slides with lots of pictures and few words.  Practice your presentation.  Do the things that I’ve talked about on other blog posts on this site.  Care enough about your audience to put together a presentation that will help them.

It is the failure to “be good” that has caused the Twitter backchannel to turn ugly.  And while I may not agree with those who tweet mean things if they don’t get what they want out of a presentation, I certainly can relate to the frustration of having my time wasted.  Respect your audience by being good and they’ll respect you with their tweets.

Your Session Hashtag

Depending on organizers of your event, you may or may not have a session hashtag assigned to you by those who planned the meeting.  If they have assigned you a hashtag, honor them by using the hashtag they’ve assigned.

If the organizers have not assigned you a hashtag, then select one yourself keeping the following thoughts in mind.

  • Don’t make the hashtag too long

    You will be encouraging people to tweet questions and tweet content they find valuable during your presentation.  It’s hard to tweet anything meaningful if a preponderance of the 140 characters is taken up by a long session hashtag.

  • Make the hashtag memorable

    Use a hashtag related to the title of your presentation or to your name.  This can help your audience members more easily remember it while tweeting or afterwards if they want to review the Twitter stream afterwards.

  • Check to see if anyone is already using the hashtag

    Using http://search.twitter.com or http://tweetchat.com do a search to see if there are any current Twitter users who are already using the hashtag you’re considering.  If there are a quite a few tweets using the hashtag, I recommend finding another.  Having a unique hashtag that is not being used by others will make things easier for you during your actual session.

Seriously, the fun starts with the next post!

Sorry to tease you last post that the fun stuff would start today… but these were two really important points to make before we leap into your actual session time.

Come back tomorrow and I promise to begin with the fun stuff!