On Saturday, I was delighted to have an opportunity to attend and speak at the SexTech 2010 Conference. If you are wondering what Sextech is, it explores research, policy, education, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs that use new technologies to enhance sexual health of young people. The conference participants are a mix of people from nonprofits, schools, policy centers, researchers, universities, government, and young people. I had heard about the conference last year and really wanted to attend.
I participated in a morning keynote with Marc Blinder, Bobby Jones, and Ryan Wilson. Geoff Livingston, my business partner at Zoetica, moderated the session which was called "Social Media Rockstars: Widgets, Apps, Contests, and More. Marc kicked off the presentations sharing some thoughts about best practices for social media infused campaigns, I talked about effective social media for nonprofits, Bobby Jones gave a fantastic presentation talking about generations and young people, and Ryan Wilson shared some thoughts about prize Philanthropy.
I was really excited to finally meet Ryan Turner who I have known virtually since 1995, but had never met face-to-face.
I also had the opportunity to finally meet Andre Blackman who I met online while researching a talk on nonprofits, social media, and health care. Andre has a deep knowledge of this space and pointed me to many great examples.
A couple of reflections. It is always fun to do a panel when the majority of the audience is Gen Y and Gen X - and they are using tools like live streaming and Twitter. The back channel during the panel was fabulous. And, I knew this audience pretty well from having worked with organizations and networks that focus on sexual and reproductive health.
I've been trying to internalize some of the tips and techniques that I have been learning from reading Cliff Atkinson's book on the back channel and teaching trainers. One technique is to plan what you're going to say as a series of Tweets. In order to do this, I decided not to use slides and so I could engage more with people in the room.
The other thing I've been practicing lately is not scripting out word for word what I am going to say, but be a little bit more improvisatory. I read about how Larry David, creator of the show Curb Your Enthusiasm, creates the show. The scripts aren't scripts, but outlines. The actors improvise their lines. I think this is a more engaging way to speak, although to do it well it takes practice and you have to really listen to the audience and adjust. Having a lively back channel helps you do that.