Twitter Moderation – A Guide for Helping a Presenter With the Backchannel

To the Presenter:

So you’ve decided to use moderator* to help you monitor the Twitter backchannel. Smart move! Unless your moderator has done this before, chances are he or she will have a few questions for you. Below are some tips to help you and your moderator get the most out of your Twitter backchannel experience.

To the Moderator

A presenter has asked you to help moderate the Twitter backchannel. This will allow the presenter to have more audience interaction — which is always a good thing! By serving as the moderator, more people inside and outside of the room will become involved in the conversation. I’m sure your presenter and those watching the conversation through Twitter will appreciate what you’re doing!

Hashtags

The hashtag for the event is #___________.

The hashtag for the session is #___________.

Getting started. The Moderator should:
o Log into the Twitter stream monitoring tool recommended by the speaker. (I recommend TweetChat.com.)
o Search on the session hashtag #___________.
o Decrease the refresh speed to the fastest refresh speed (5 seconds last time I looked).
o Watch the twitter feed throughout the session.

What the Presenter will be doing
o The presenter will introduce the session hashtag toward the beginning of the session. He or she should also have it prominently posted in the room if at all possible.

o The presenter will let the audience know that you as the moderator will be monitoring tweets with the session hashtag. The presenter will encourage the audience to tweet questions or comments about what they’re hearing during the session.

o The presenter will also encourage anyone who wants to monitor the session hashtag to retweet anything they agree with. If the audience hears something they like, then they’re sharing valuable information with their followers. If the audience member has the same question or the same disagreement as another’s tweet, the presenter will encourage them to retweet that too. Those retweets let the presenter know that there is more than one person who has the same question or issue so he or she will want to be sure to address that topic.

What the Moderator needs to do

o As the moderator, tweet directly from TweetChat. TweetChat will automatically put in the session hashtag and post the tweet from your Twitter account. Also include the conference hashtag too so that the conference organizers and those who couldn’t make the conference get the benefit of the Twitter conversation.

o If someone has a simple questions that you can answer (What time does this session end? What did the speaker say her name was? What was the website that she said the moderator was using to monitor the Twitter stream?) please tweet a reply to help that person out.

o The presenter will take a Twitter break approximately 15 minutes into the program. The presenter will turn to you at that time and ask for any feedback from the tweets so far.

o As you monitor the tweets, look for trends. If anything is retweeted, particularly questions or disagreements with content, be sure and bring up that topic during the Twitter breaks.

o Subsequent Twitter breaks will be in approximately 15 minutes intervals. The presenter will again turn to you to see what questions or feedback there may be.

o For smaller audiences, expect that discussion and questions will come through traditional verbal exchanges between attendees and the presenter, even with the Twitter discussion.

o For audiences new to the concept, expect some experimentation and joking around (“Hey, world, look at me”, ribbing a buddy across in the room, etc.). That kind of experimentation is fine. Once the presenter get into the meat of the content, the audience should focus on the material and get involved in the conversation.

o Talk to your presenter to see how he or she wants to handle the situation if things start going off track and the Twitter backchannel is talking about it – for example – the audience can’t hear the speaker, the speaker is talking too quickly, people are going on too long with the “Hey, world, look at me” chatter. Generally speaking, getting the presenter’s attention and addressing the situation as soon as possible, with as much transparency as possible, works best. Better to discuss such a situation with the presenter before it happens so everyone – audience member, speaker and you as the moderator – is able to adjust to the interruption with their dignity intact.

o For larger audiences, Twitter will be a godsend to look for trends and to hear great questions from the introvert who would never speak up in a big crowd.

The Twitter backchannel is a great way to engage an audience. These guidelines can help everyone tweet each other well!

I’d love to hear your feedback after using these guidelines! Were they helpful? What was the hardest thing about moderating the backchannel? What was the most surprising? What was the coolest part? I’d love to hear what you think! Send me an email!

*If you moderator is relatively new to twitter, point him or her to this blog post for basic terminology:
http://kellyvandever.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/twitter-the-presenters-new-best-bud-part-2-the-terminology/

Living In The Present While Becoming Successful

There are limitless ways in which we can do things. Two people may set out to achieve similar goals, and both achieve them, but one can take longer than the other. However, the one who achieved the goals faster, was constantly stressed and made people around him stressed and unhappy as well. On the other hand, the person who took longer was always at peace and made people around him happy. Which one was more successful? It could have also been that the one who made people happy also reached the goals faster. The difference is that one put more importance on the value of the present moment while the other put more value on the final outcome.

How do we reconcile achieving the desired outcome when it may appear to be impossible to be overly worried about other people’s interest if you are to achieve the desired results? This is a question that hopefully more people would ask themselves before embarking on achieving a goal.

Finding balance through the present moment

We are conditioned to think that our results solely depend on get things done without much consideration to the manner in which we do it. We place primary importance on the desired outcome and forget about the quality to each moment as we do the tasks that are necessary to reaching the goal.

Learning to place the greatest value on the quality of the present moment leads to balanced decisions and higher quality action. By placing your focus primarily on the present moment we recognize the value of “Being.” When we understand that “Being” in a state of already feeling successful produces high quality success, it is much easier to shift the focus. We begin to understand the power of living in harmony with our environment while we perform our work. Stress and worry disappear and clear thinking takes over. Production goes smoother and even quicker and things flow with ease. Nothing is forced.

Practice living in the now and know that by accessing the power of now, you can enjoy even more success than ever before.

Presentation Skills: What Should You Include in Your Slides?

If you’ve decided to use slides in your presentation because you believe they will help your presentation, it’s crucial to think about what to include in your slides.

Resist the temptation to write your script out in the slides. Not only is that boring for the audience to see slides full of complete sentences, but they can read faster to themselves than you can read out loud so they will finish reading the slide before you do.

Instead, use fewer words and provide the voiceover that gives meaning to those words. Even better, use graphs, charts, spreadsheets, photos or images that will visually explain your points.

Graphs, Charts and Spreadsheets

Use graphs, charts and spreadsheets if the information they contain will help the audience understand your message.

Avoid putting up a chart or graph and saying, “I know you can’t read this.” (When I hear this, I am tempted to shout, “then why are you showing it to us?!”) Make sure it’s legible and that the colors are easy to distinguish.

And rather than just showing the whole chart or spreadsheet, highlight and zoom in on one section of it. So, first show the overview and then on the next slide, show a bigger version of an excerpt, for example, just the 2010 numbers or just the line that shows customer growth over the past three years. Having just one section on the screen makes it easier for the audience to see, read and understand what you are focusing on.

Also use your words to highlight the important points. Orient them to what they’re looking at and then focus in on what’s important. For example, say, “What you’re looking at is a graph showing 2010 sales. On the x-axis, you’ll see the months. On the y-axis, you’ll see the sales, in millions of dollars. I’d like to draw your attention to the last bar, December, where you will see that sales are double any of the previous months.”

Use Photos or Images

You can also use high-quality photos or images in your slides to communicate a point.

Make sure they are clear, easy to understand and relevant. Use high-quality stock photos or take some photos of your own.

For example, if you are introducing your department and office location to clients who have never seen it, use your camera phone to take some photos of your office and co-workers and include them on the slides. If you’re presenting outside the country, include a map of your location so the audience can see where you are in relation to a city or landmark they are familiar with. Photos and images used in these ways can help you bridge the gap between you and your audience.

Use As Many Slides As You Need

I know that some companies have rules about how many slides people should have in their presentations. And I realize these rules are in place because the CEO doesn’t want everyone presenting to him or her with 300 slides that are going to take three hours to deliver.

However, I think these slide limits are arbitrary. I could give a one-hour presentation without slides (in fact, I would prefer it). I could also give a one-hour presentation using 20 slides, and I could give a one-hour presentation using 150 slides.

Content and time limit should be more important than the number of slides. Use as many slides as you need.

It shouldn’t matter how many slides you have, provided that the slides enhance your presentation and help you clearly communicate your message within the time limit.