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A conference speech today needs to reach further than the audience in the room. A significant part of the value comes from the reach in social channels, via your audience. Aim to reach both the audience in the room and their networks at your next speech.
For any speaker at a conference today the reality is the audience is listening to you and to a less extent watching your visuals. We have all seen smartphone pictures of the speakers and their slides. Posted by someone in the audience and accompanied by your best one-liners. At the same time they are following the hashtag for the event and/or session and posting own comments. Half of the value of your speech comes from your physical audience in the room. The other half is what the physical audience pick-up and relay through their personal social networks. This phenomenon is growing in importance and is part of your speech preparations. In important objective for your speech is to reach the networks of the audience in the room.
For the planning of your session the following is worthwhile to know about how your target audience engages during a speech
- The audience starts by listening to the applicable hashtag for the speech, so you only have part of their attention.
- Most of the audience is a bit lazy, and prefer to retweet good things others have tweeted. Early and good tweets get the retweet limelight.
- Great visuals get tweeted, often with poor picture quality from hand-held phones in rooms with little light. And visuals in general engage more than text tweets.
- Great one-liners engage both tweeters and re-tweeters. Pay attention to wordsmithing as it make you stand out.
As a speaker you need to integrate this social strategy in your speech preparations. The following questions could help you in making a step shift in making your speech attractive to relay in social channels:
- Which one-liners do we have will make you stand-out in the session/speech? – Search for them in scripting and rehearsing the speech.
- Which of the visuals we plan to use will work well in social media channels? – Consider optimizing the visuals used for both the physical and social audience.
- Which pictures of you as speaker in “speech mode” can we take in advance? – Pictures of the speaker and great one-liners are great for retweets.
- Who is sitting in the room for the speech and tweet all pre-prepared material? – It is vital the tweets go out exactly when communicated in the room. Pre-programmed tweets will not work.
- Who is our primary target for our own social postings? – Do we target our own followers and networks or the audience’s followers. I would argue that the latter should be your primary target group during the live speech.
This part is a team work between the speaker and the support team. The ones preparing the speech visual and your social media responsible create a new live experience. And it represent an opportunity and multiply the reach beyond the room and the reach of your own networks.
For further reading on this subject here are a few ideas: