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To Tweet or Not to Tweet – What Does the Speaker Think? 5 Reasons to Live Tweet from Your Seat!

5 Reasons to Tweet from Your Seat, speakers, speaking, presentations, social media, sharing is caring

Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed a slight shift in attitude when it comes to live tweeting during a speaker’s presentation. However, we need a BIGGER change of attitude! While live tweeting is becoming more acceptable, it needs to be not only acceptable but encouraged.

Being born and raised in the American South, I will tell you that manners are of the utmost importance and never go out of style. We down here love our “ma’am’s” and “sirs,” hand written notes, and gentlemen holding doors open. Manners are born from respect.

Keeping that in mind, I understand why people are still concerned about what the speaker will think if they are in the audience looking down at their phones. I don’t know if this is an attitude shared in other parts of the world, or if it is unique to the South. A marketing officer from an international company who is headquartered locally once all but told me I was being rude since I was live tweeting during the presentation given by an international speaker whom they had brought in for an international fundraising event. Does anyone else see the irony in this?

It wasn’t that long ago, in the pre-twitter era, when I was adamant about keeping your eyes on the person speaking. To do anything else was very disrespectful and a sign of not paying attention. On the other side of the stage, a good speaker often takes cues from her audience as to know when she has carried on too long. Looking around and observing supposed listeners on their phones/pads could mean attention has been lost, right?

Au contraire, mon frère! Live tweeting from an event or presentation is good for all involved!! I absolutely adore exclamation points and that definitely deserved two. I’ll even repeat it. Live tweeting from an event or presentation is good for ALL involved. It benefits the tweeter, the tweeter’s brand, the speaker, the speaker’s brand, the event host, event sponsors, as well as those reading the feed.

Still wondering what the speaker thinks? Shawn Karol Sandy, Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of The Selling Agency, speaks across the country to a variety of audiences. “I encourage tweeting while I’m on stage.” Sandy understands the value of live tweeting. “Now, conferences and events have a longer life span than before social media. They (the audience) tweet and follow me and vice versa…We keep the conversation and relationships going after the event. It’s a way to make the event more impactful and meaningful.”

Here are 5 reasons why you should be encouraged to tweet from your seat and why speakers should be encouraging their audiences to grab those phones:

  • When I’m live tweeting, I’m essentially taking notes. Remember being in class, listening to a lecture (sometimes fighting falling asleep, truth be told), and taking notes kept you more engaged? It comes more naturally to some but can be practiced by all. Straight from the speaker’s mouth, “People take away more when they record it. Plus, it’s out there for them to review again” according to Sandy.

  • It serves as a review of the presentation. Again, much like notes, a twitter stream is wonderful to go back and review after a presentation. It is best when there is a designated hashtag for an event/presentation.

  • Speakers can use a twitter stream to polish their presentations. When your audience is live tweeting, you will be able to see what information resonated with them. Make sure the audience knows your handle and designated hashtag. Sandy does this well as you can see from this slide. The audience easily detects the handles/twitter names for the speaker, the event, and the designated hashtag.

  • Most presenters want attention. Don’t think you’re not giving the person at the podium enough attention when you’re actually putting her on a world-wide stage. #SharingIsCaring

  • Presenters’ slides provide visuals that are ideal for tweeting. Twitter likes visuals and when speakers use slides, you are offered an easy opportunity to post. Don’t forget to include at least one picture in your live tweeting/note taking. A prepared speaker also puts thought into what her slides will look like not only live but also when they are broadcast via twitter or other social media. “My slide deck is usually a visual with very little text, and they make good photo tweets. Or, other times, I’ll put a little birdie on a quote and encourage people to tweet it,” adds Sandy.

So, next time you're in the audience, grab that phone and tweet from your seat! It might soon be considered rude to do otherwise.

What do you think about live tweeting during a presentation? What have your experiences been?

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