March 21, 2009

5 Ways to Use Twitter During a Presentation

I participated in last week's Presentation Reboot workshop at Duarte Design with Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds. I found the day to be energizing and full of specific, usable ideas. If you are familiar with their work, Chris Spagnuolo wrote this nice summary of the day on his blog EdgeHopper.

One of the more thought provoking conversations addressed was the role Twitter should or should not play during presentations. While the topic started out about allowing (or even encouraging) participants to tweet during your presentation, the best discussion was after the workshop where several of us brainstormed ways you could use Twitter effectively.
**Disclaimer - I have not actually tried any of these ideas yet, and if I did, I would make sure I had a co-pilot to run the tech side of the presentation while I focused on facilitating.**
Here's some of the better ideas we talked about:
  1. ACTIVITY DEBRIEFS > one of the standard activities at any workshop is to break up into small groups and brainstorm answers to a question. Then the facilitator goes around the room and has each group report from their flip charts. The facilitator could ask each group to tweet their top 2 or 3 answers to a specific hashtag. Then post all the answers up on the screen with the search feature on Twitter.
  2. PARTICIPANT QUESTIONS > services like wiffiti allow participants to text messages or questions that can be displayed instantly. But why not use Twitter to do the trick. Olivia Mitchell seems to have had some success with this as she describes in detail how to in "8 Things I Learnt about Twitter as a Participation Tool."
  3. VOTING > this wouldn't be as slick as other voting apps out there, since it would not automatically tally the results, but still with a co-pilot quickly gathering the results it could work.
  4. WORKSHOP NOTES > create a workshop hashtag and encourage participants to take notes throughout. After the workshop, everyone can tap into the collective notes. It's also a way to stay connected with other participants. This is how Garr and Nancy role modeled using Twitter with #preboot.
  5. PREWORK > same concept with different timing. Create the hashtag before the conference and give participants questions to address as prework.
I can't wait to try one of these out myself. What other ideas do you have? What have you seen work or not work with Twitter and presentations?


  1. Have yet to involve in presentations using Twitter, obviously this is quite an innovative idea. So hashtags would be used as defined chatrooms? Then the discussions would be something public instead of private since if I'm not mistaken, no privacy (except DMs) for Tweets. At times I do hope they could have multiple DMs enabled but that's another story. Just in case someone wish to have a paid/not-so-public workshop or presentations, they need to figure out a distinctive hashtags then. ^^

    Thanks for sharing.

    -Social Media/Blogging

  2. These are intriguing ideas instead of the usual debrief methods, report out stand-ups. Wonder where I could try them out next time?

  3. Good call out about any post would be public. Not a good fit for content where privacy is key.

  4. Todd,

    Monica M. sent me this way. I saw this post about using Twitter and wanted to let you know about a upcoming webinar regarding Twitter in corporate training. It'll be a good one.

    I'll reach out via other means.