What keeps me excited about social media is the ability to connect with people who you have never met and have a conversation about ideas you care about. But what happens when you go into the real world and attend conferences? Does the audience get a chance to have a conversation with you?
And, how can you facilitate that if you're speaking to a large group? What are some techniques and tools for interactive presenting?
A few months back, Jeremiah Owyang offered this meta synthesis where he raised a few good points about how social media may impact the way we interact in the real world. He wrote about the shift from Me to We and how conference panels are really important manifestation of this:
Speakers, Panelists, and Moderators must monitor back channel
Recently, I wrote a post that has been passed around many conferences on how to successfully moderate a panel. I’m now adding a section suggesting that the moderator first poll his community using some of these tools, and to also monitor the back channel in real time, while not all conferences will embrace a back channel, it’s safe to assume that Twitter will be found at many tech and marketing conferences
Back in 2005, I got a little obsessed with backchannel - after my experience at the London Global Voices Summit. Those were the days before twitter and when we used IRC to facilitate a chat discussion with both remote participants and people in the room. What Global Voices did that was particularly effective was to appoint a "Back Channel Advocate." I can't remember if it was pre-assigned or whether the moderator asked for a volunteer in the room - but that person monitored the back channel and moderator looped them in read out loud the comments or ask speakers questions.
There are different methods of incorporating audience feedback depending on the format of the panel or session. What are the best practices for blending face-to-face and online so it adds to the conversation in the room and doesn't cross the line to "rude" or "heckling"? And, if you want to present something in a instructional way, how can you incorporate interaction without it being a confusing learning experience?
During the NTC social media ROI Case Study Slam I asked the audience to @kanter me with questions. I had these directed to my cell phone. I didn't quite manage to juggle it well.
So, now comes this new toy called "Text The Mob" It lets you create a poll or discussion board and project it on the screen and have everyone send their input via their cell phones and see results instantly!
I'm presenting in August at a conference and I'm so going to test it out.
How do you incorporate audience interaction in a large room discussion format?