SlideRocket Blog

Exploring The Backchannel – Making Your Presentations a Two-Way Experience

By Tracy Frey on January 21, 2010

Did you get a chance to check out our hosted webinar this week, “The Backchannel: A Presenter’s Nightmare or Dream Come True” with author Cliff Atkinson?

For those of you who could not join the webinar, Cliff explored how backchannels (platforms for discussion created by users of social media) are being used during presentations. Take Twitter for example – have you ever posted a Tweet during a presentation? Was it positive or negative? Do you think the speaker would have benefited from seeing the Tweet?

Cliff brings up some really interesting points that I definitely agree with as to how presentations are changing and becoming more social with all the new web technologies. As Cliff pointed out, with social media, it’s all about doing everything you can to connect with your audience.

From what I have seen at conferences, the typical audience member is never without a laptop or smartphone, and is no longer sitting quietly while speakers talk – instead they’re using Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other tools to create this backchannel where they chat with one another, make comments about your presentation and broadcast their thoughts to people all over the world. Pretty amazing stuff! Cliff explained if audiences are happy, the backchannel can spread ideas far and wide, create buzz and keep the conversation going long after you’ve left the podium.  But, if audiences are unhappy, the backchannel can criticize your ideas and delivery, disrupt your talk and even derail your presentation completely.

Talk about information on-demand. It’s exciting to see how audiences are actively carving out a space to be engaged in the conversation, making presentations a two-way experience.

What do you think? Are you a frequent conference speaker or attendee? Is the backchannel yet another thing to fear when you give your next presentation or do you think of tools such as Twitter as a great opportunity to really know what people are thinking?

If you missed this seminar, you’ll want to check it out here for some best practices on how to best use Twitter before, during and after your presentation. It’s a great lesson in knowing your audience, doing your research before you make a presentation and using the right technologies to your advantage. Because, the days of one-way presentations are over.

If you like Cliff Atkinson’s web seminar on The Backchannel you may enjoy some of our other live and on demand seminars. Check them out on our SlideRocket Web Seminars page.

Presentation Camp Los Angeles

By Nat Robinson on June 22, 2009

I attended my second presentation camp last weekend and thought I’d share some notes and resources from the day, this time in LA at Blank Spaces.

Presentation Camp LA Agenda

Presentation Camp LA - Agenda

Presentation Camp is an event based on the barcamp model of ad-hoc unconferences where people share and learn in an open environment. Find out more about barcamp. My experience so far is that while there are a basic set of guidelines for barcamps, every event is different and very much determined by attendee ideas, voices, votes and (generally) consensus. Presentation Camp L.A. had a $10 registration fee but most barcamps are free. I must say that I’ve paid considerably more to attend events and been less satisfied so I consider it money well spent. Presentation Camp L.A. also had corporate sponsors so we had food and beverages all day and a mountain of appropriate give aways and prizes.

There were some top notch presenters at Presentation Camp L.A. including the organizers Cliff Atkinson, Lisa Braithwaite and Colleen Wainwright but the sessions I enjoyed the most were led by Olivia Mitchell (from my home town of Wellington, New Zealand) who led sessions on Presenting With Twitter and Handling Hecklers, Andy Goodman who presented his “Why Bad Presentations Happen To Good Causes” (if you’re dong ANY kind of presentation I highly recommend you get a copy of his book and review his research on what audiences want and don’t want) and Terrence McNally presented some great guidelines for using narrative in your communications.

There were plenty of other excellent presentations at presentation camp LA, these are just the ones that resonated with me. If you haven’t attended a presentation camp yet I highly recommend it. I’m 100% sure you’ll meet interesting people, learn how to make and deliver better presentations and very likely have fun in the process. You can subscribe to the Presentation Camp Google Group to find out when an event is coming to a location near you or to find like minded folks who’ll help you organize one. See you there!