Preparing for Twitter as a Conference Presenter

“Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail”

Preparing for social media usage at a conference from the vantage point of  a presenter is a little different than as an attendee. Preparation is key if you want to enable your  audience to do the best job of sharing content from your session. If you want to share as a presenter, there are a few things you can do to make it easier for those attendees sharing via social media.  

Let People Know You are Coming. Share your presentation topic and your enthusiasm for said topic. Also provide logistics such as when and where the event is happening.

Provide your Twitter handle. You can help people do a good job tweeting your presentation by providing them your Twitter handle at the beginning of the session.  Provide your handle in your opening remarks and on your first slide. If you’re not on Twitter, it’s worth thinking about signing up, just so people can provide attribution for your work.

Could you tweet that please

Provide the Conference Hashtag and Session Hashtag. Again, provide these at the beginning of your session to make it easier to share. Of course if they don’t know your conference hashtag by the time they are at your session it probably not going to matter anyway.

Upload your presentation to your website.  People often want a copy of your presentation.  You can go through the ol’ business card trading ritual  and email it…or you can prepare in advance. Upload your presentation to your website and then use a URL shortening tool such as:

bitly.com  
tinyurl.com.  

You can present them at the beginning with your twitter handle.  You can also provide them in a closing slide which allows attendees to easily tweet your session materials for others to access.   If you have uploaded the presentation to your conference web site share it prior the conference and during the conference with the conference hashtag.  

Don’t be the person who says….I know you can’t read this but….. The ending of this statement is either “I like myself so much I am going to show you illegible garbage anyway. ” or “I was too lazy to find a way to make this meaningful to my audience.” Use large strong visuals such as charts and tables to quickly explain the data at the heart of your presentation. Attendees are always looking for insight, sound bites, and key takeaways

Encourage Questions via Twitter  To take questions via twitter you may need a  device other than the one you’re presenting from with a tool such as Hootsuite which allows you to watch one or more twitter streams.  With the stream for your conference easily accessible you can watch for questions related to your session. There is a little bit of multitasking required if you are presenting alone, but it is doable.  Some people have no problem asking questions during a session, but sometimes using twitter you will get questions from a person who is unwilling to speak up in a crowd. If you have a co presenter, you can coordinate who will watch the twitter stream for questions.  I do acknowledge not all speakers do want to share outside of the confines of the meeting room.  However, extensive sharing via social media is becoming more and more commonplace.  The more prepared you are, the better the experience will be for those attending your session.

Have someone live tweet your session to share your content. Interested people can follow the back channel even if they’re not in attendance. I often have people ask me live tweet sessions. You need to assume that someone is interested in listening to yours.  

Expect to be tweeted. Twitter is used extensively at event and conferences these days. People assume that tweeting is fine unless they are specifically asked not to tweet. For example, I have been in sessions with specific vendors where they give you a sneak peek at a new technology.  Knowing I am a prolific event tweeter they have asked not to tweet a particular part of a discussion or presentation. If you are asked to not tweet a session, don’t. Show respect to those who wish not to be tweeted.