Two words that can rock your next presentationSpeakers: how to use Twitter to magnify your speech's online impact

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Twitter listens to a speech

Not to sound like a telemarketer, but can I have half a minute of your time?

How about if it does wonders to increase your profile?

Here's how I want you to spend those 30 seconds. Open up your presentation file and click on your title slide - the one with your contact info.

Add two words at the bottom - like this:

Twitter: robcottingham

(Make sure you add your Twitter user name instead of "robcottingham". Otherwise you'll find this tip works marvellously for me, not so well for you.)

Save the file, and you're done. If this took less than 30 seconds, use your remaining time to ask, "Okay - so what did that accomplish?"

Here's the answer. More and more events have a backchannel operating on Twitter: an online conversation among audience members about the presentation they're attending. They ask questions, offer comments, quibble and praise.

And if they have your Twitter ID, chances are good they'll mention it. Suddenly, your Twitter presence - and the buzz about your speech - will be shared with their networks, and a lot of those people will share your audience members' interest in your topic.

Give it a try. And let me know how it works for you.

(And if you've had a little experience with Twitter backchannels, try the public speaking ninja maneuver of checking in with the backchannel while you're speaking, and addressing a few tweets from the podium.)


Michelle Evans says

April 13, 2009 - 3:44pm

Great advice! I'd take it even one step further and assign a hashtag to your event yourself.

If you're presenting at "Random Tourism Conference 2009" assign a hashtag #RTC09 and ask your audience to engage. Then, they can include the hashtag in their tweets about the event even in real time while you're presenting. You can follow the hashtag at and even take questions from the audience that way. Plus, people who have connected with your presentation can then connect with one another.

Rob Cottingham says

April 14, 2009 - 9:13am

Terrific tip, Michelle. And I'm a big fan of short hashtags like that one - they leave as much space as possible for the actual message and for other people's usernames, helping to keep the conversation on track.

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