Posted by: Marty Fahncke | November 16, 2009

Speakers: Are you ready for your audience to “Wave”?

As a professional speaker, I present at about 8 or 10 business and marketing conferences around the country every year.

That's me on the right moderating a panel at a conference in Las Vegas

In late 2007, I started noticing a number of people “tweeting” during my speaking gigs.  Believe me, there is nothing so difficult for a speaker as an audience that won’t pay attention.  Having 30% of your audience staring at their laptops, BlackBerry’s and iPhone’s while you are presenting is a tough challenge.

I was using every strategy in the book to keep the audience engaged in what I was saying.  But then I realized they WERE engaged.  They were SO engaged they were repeating my words to the rest of the world via Twitter.  Wow, talk about viral!

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” I said, so I signed up for Twitter myself.  (Yes, I’m now addicted!  Follow me here)

By late 2008, a few of the conferences I spoke at actually had screens behind the speaker displaying everything the audience was tweeting in real time!  At one conference, I moderated a panel discussion where most of the questions came from the audience via Twitter and the panel itself was video broadcast via USTREAM.  We had about 100 people in the room, and another 200 watching virtually.

Most speakers aren’t even ready for the “Twitter change” that is happening today, so when I read this week about how Google Wave is now starting to be used at conferences for instant audience collaboration, I was blown away.

Imagine…while you are presenting, the audience is taking notes, sharing them with each other and with the world, editing them, debating them, and adding their own comments.  Then before you are finished saying “Thank you very much” and sitting down, an entire document based on your speech exists which was developed in real time by the crowdsourcing methodology.

Whew!  The business of Speaking sure is changing fast!  Are you ready?

Read the article here, then be sure and come back to comment with your thoughts on this subject.

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