I recently attended a course called “Presenting with Confidence“, delivered by Steve Herzberg. Steve is a teriffic bloke, and is someone I would describe as “keeping it real” – his style of delivery is guaranteed to have you laughing, and learning. I mean this seriously: the good thing about Steve’s course is the relaxed and confident manner in which he presents his material – he’s throroughly prepared, and the printed material you receive is professionally produced and rich with content. There’s a great interview with Steve here you can watch and see for yourself here just how well he communicates.
Steve and I often discuss the business value of using “social networking” tools, and we have had some excellent debate about the value of these tools in a business context. One such tool I believe in passionately is Twitter, and I was explaining to Steve the increase in “live tweeting” at an event or conference, and how this is transforming the behaviour of both speakers and attendees at these conferences, and adding enormous value to attendees and others interested in the event. For more on the concept of “live tweeting” have a read of “Live Tweeting: bird-brained or brilliant”
Some interesting questions arose during my discussion with Steve about the value of live-tweeting, including:
– is it distracting for the presenter (who doesn’t get to meet the eyes of their audience who are all typing away)?
– is it distracting for the audience, because their attention is diverted from the content being delivered to the rest of the “Twitter stream”?
– does it demonstrates a lack of respect for the speaker, who deserves your full attention?
Personally I have derived enormous value from the collective contribution of others “live tweeting””, particularly after the event when I can catch up on what other’s were saying. However I have also been distracted by it, and missed some of the content being delivered by the speaker. I can also appreciate that a speaker unaccustomed to their audience “live tweeting” could interpret this behavious as a lack of respect.
What is needed is education and understanding of current and emerging practices. Live tweeting is here to stay, many events now encourage it, and attendees are asking for it. The choice is yours to embrace it or not – I would encourage you to explain to others the benefits as you see them, and let them decide for themselves. There are no rules – but I believe we should be mindful of speakers and respect them, and show them the value that is being added (to their brand and their content)
What are your thoughts? Do you agree “live tweeting” an event adds value or not?