Full Disclosure: I have no affiliation with Hubspot and wrote this post on my own accord.
Over at Hubspot, a company that is undoubtedly going to take over the world soon, Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella is hosting a free webinar on the Science of Presentations: How to Give Contagious Talks. Being a presentation junkie, when I saw the email invitation I immediately registered. Luckily, Dan has written an accompanying white paper of the same name outlining his research and findings. To get the white paper, you'll have to register for the free webinar.
At first I thought, “Who does Dan think he is? I realize he knows a ton about the science of social media, but what does he know about presentations (other than his own personal experience as a speaker/presenter)?” Of course, my narrow-mindedness failed me. Dan has done some interesting research on the best ways to get people to Tweet or blog about your live presentations.
It’s so interesting to see how this topic has emerged in the last few years. I’ve been studying presenting and marketing communications for years, and real-time information sharing has become a powerful tool for presenters and audience members alike. Dan has shared the best ways to get your audience to share the information you, the presenter, are providing in order to give contagious presentations.
It is not my intent to give away all of his research. Instead, I wanted to provide my reaction and thoughts to his white paper. I suggest you read the white paper first before reading my reactions, but I’ll try to keep them high level if you’d rather forego reading it. Of course, sign up for his free webinar on Thursday, August 19th at 1pm EST.
Without further ado, here are 4 important takeaways from Dan’s Science of Presentations white paper:
- 75% of those surveyed live-Tweet during a presentation
Twitter has become a backchannel for audiences to share information and reactions with each other and their respective networks. I’ve attended many conferences and webinars and I’ve come to LOVE live-Tweeting for two reasons: 1) I feel that I’m sharing valuable nuggets of information with my followers and 2) I can connect with other audience members who share the same interests. Presenters generally love active backchannels (especially positive ones!) and I’ve been thanked personally by a few presenters who appreciated my live-Tweeting of their talk.
My only hesitation with this stat is that he surveyed people who were marketers or at least interested in social media. I’ve hosted and attended a variety of presentations and webinars where the topics were far removed from marketing/media and the backchannels were completely silent. The audience members simply weren’t active on these channels (yet), so don’t get discouraged if your backchannel isn’t what you’d hoped it would be.
- 52% of those surveyed had joined because they saw a live tweet about a presentation
I would have also responded yes, and this is another powerful aspect of a real-time backchannel. There are so many conferences and webinars going on every day that we can’t possibly keep up with all those that interest us. If you encourage your audience to live-tweet or to be active in wherever the backchannel lives, you can grow your audience. If you run a conference, it’s definitely feasible to think that promoting the sharing of information via the backchannel will expose the valuable information found at the conference to people who were unaware of its existence, resulting in those attendees joining next time. The 140 Conference sells tickets to attend, but streams every talk for free on UStream and the backchannel is incredibly active. Trust me, you’re not giving away the farm for free if you do this…it will only make people watching want to attend in person next time.
- Sharing, novelty, and relevance were the top 3 reasons those surveyed Tweet or blog about a presentation
According to those surveyed, audience members live-Tweet or blog during presentations because they want to share new, relevant information. This ultimately helps the exposure of you and your content (as the presenter), so encourage viewers to “Be kind and share”, make sure your presentation contains new, relevant, and laser-focused information they haven’t heard yet.
- Focus on ReTweets by scheduling Tweets of takeaways by the presenter during the presentation, or by post-presentation Tweeting
I love this idea and I have to admit, I’d never really thought of it. While sometimes the backchannel is wonderfully active in grabbing all of your sound bytes (which should purposefully be presented in sub-140 characters), sometimes it is not. Regardless, if you provide Tweets of your presentation content on your own account (either during or after) you can plant the seed to be spread by your audience members. If you can effectively time your presentation, you can schedule tweets to go out a few minutes after you intend to actually present a specific sound byte. Instead of feverishly typing in a quote of yours, an audience member may be able to focus a little better because they know they’ll be able to ReTweet all the important information via your account. Regardless, it helps focus your content, reiterate your core points, and offer them in an easily spreadable fashion.