Presentations in the Social Media Age
Allowing for real time feedback.
Does the thought of your audience actively sharing their thoughts on what, and how you presented terrify you?
Being a great speaker has always taken focus and work, but now your audience may be sharing with what you say with hundreds of others in real-time. This can be daunting to many presenters, but this type of media has become part of many conference presentations.
Warning: if you have cluttered slides, do a data dump, ignore the needs of the audience, drone on and waffle the audience will let you know through their body language, and the world through online conversations. Audiences in the social media age are less tolerant of boring. They demand clear communication, passion and slides that augment your message, not slides that are your lecture in 12 point font.
- Your audience may be larger than you See
Social media can increase the reach of your message. The audience in front of you may be far less important than the people they network with to spread your ideas. Sometimes when your audience are heads down, focused on their devices, they are sharing your message with hundreds of others. They can help market you and share your message. When you look out at the audience, and no one looks back it can shake your confidence. “Am I boring?” But don’t panic, if they are focussed on their mobile devices, it doesn’t mean they aren’t listening intently. Your message may have inspired them to share your idea. They can also share the issues with your presentation. the trick is to deal with their concerns. You can’t solve problems you are unaware of.
- Ban Devices at your own risk
You might be tempted to ask your audience to shut off their devices, but many professional speakers now suggest this is a mistake. You may consider the use of devices in a presentation rude, but it is no more distraction than taking notes with a pen and paper. Some people need to take notes in order to process what they hear. The real time feedback can be very useful, and the feeds may give you questions to answer during, or at the end of, your presentation. Many fear negative feedback, but if you know what the issues are you can address them.
- Real time Q&A
Social media can allow audience members to ask questions in real time. Audiences can send questions via SMS, Facebook or via Twitter during your presentation. If you arrange a conference feed or link for people to comment yu can see how your message is being received, and areas that need more explination. This can help you personalise your interaction with the audience and meet their needs better.
- Your feedback is Instant
Speakers don’t need to wait until after their presentation to hear how they did anymore, or require their audience to fill in boring feedback forms. Presenters who want to grow may welcome feedback in real time. Audience body language, and the tweets/Facebook feedback can help speakers know what areas of their presentation had impact, and which fell flat.
Instant social media feedback can clearly demonstrate the harm data dumps, boring self-important speakers, and cluttered slide presentations can do to a speaker’s reputation. It can also clearly demonstrate the power of simple slides, stories that touch emotion, humour and the impact of speakers who tailor their message to their audience’s needs.
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