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How to Use Twitter to Supercharge Presentations

Learn how to use social media to leverage and enhance your presentations through presentweeting

By
Lisa B. Marshall,
May 7, 2010
Episode #090

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This past week I supercharged my presentation by presentweeting. What’s that you ask? Keep reading to find out.

For those of you who are dubious of twitter (as I was), I’m hopeful this article will give you a reason to reconsider. For a few years now, I have been playing around with social media Web 2.0 tools to see how I might be able to use these tools to enhance my presentations and training workshops. In today’s article I’ll talk about “presentweeting” which is short for presentation-based tweeting or using Twitter to enhance your presentations. 

A Tip for Getting People to Listen During Presentations

It all started when I began noticing more and more clicking noises during presentations. At first, I wrongly assumed audience members were responding to email while listening to me, but then I eventually realized they were taking notes on their laptops. Since I rarely provide handouts of the slides ahead of time, attendees almost always take notes during my sessions.

Research supports that taking notes requires attention to be more focused than it would be when simply listening to a speaker (Piolat, Olive, & Kellogg, 2004). Also, research suggests note taking helps with recall. So, my dirty little secret is out, I don’t give handouts ahead of time because it encourages people to listen more closely.

How to Use Twitter to Supercharge Presentations

My newest social media modification is to encourage the attendees to use Twitter for their note taking. As you likely already know, Twitter only allows 140 characters per tweet. That forces note takers to very concisely summarize the content, which is again a benefit. According to researchers, summarization helps boost the retention.

And there’s the added benefit of collaboration. Today, audiences want to be part of the presentation; they expect to be able to participate. By encouraging the use of Twitter, participants who want to be part of the conversation can add their own examples, ask questions, or provide links to additional related information.

When presentweeting (again, that’s my word for presentation tweeting) I recommend appending two twitter hashtags: one general one that applies to the broad area and one specific to the presentation or conference. (By the way hashtags are just the hash (#) symbol followed by a word/acronym and they are used to group related tweets.) That way, even folks who are not on Twitter (or who are not following you) can view--at a minimum--the conversation using a tool like Twitterfall, Twubs, or VisibleTweets. Twubs is my favorite (and no they are not a sponsor, but maybe they should be) because you can moderate the posts, do live event streaming and, participants can easily tweet video, photos, and text. Nice!

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