What does it mean when your audience is Twittering?

What does it mean that your audience is Twittering when you’re speaking?

 That is a question that is rattling around the public speaking blogosphere these days.

Blogger and New Zealand public speaking coach Olivia Mitchell has weighed in on the topic with a series of tips for helping your audience optimize the use of Twitter during the presentation.

For those who don’t know,  Twitter is the “micro-blogging” tool that allows you to send 140 character messages to your “Twitter page”.  Your Twitter “followers” may read your thoughts and, sometimes, respond. You can send Twitter messages from either your cell phone or your computer. 

 How Twitter is used varies widely.  Some people simply post what they’re having for breakfast. Others post constant messages promoting their business. I’ve started experimenting with Twitter and haven’t yet figured out how to best use it for my business.

Now, apparently, some speakers are encouraging their audience members to Twitter during their presentations. 

My initial reaction has been to say that “if your audience is Twittering, then they’re not paying attention to you. And that means you’re not succeeding as a speaker.” 

But I probably need to revisit that idea.  If they’re Twittering about you, then you’re obviously connecting with them. And that’s a good thing.

But the question is should you accomodate Twitters during your presentation? 

Ultimately, I suppose this all comes down to understanding your audience. While Twitter is currently the “new new thing”, it’s not used much in a corporate setting. 

I spent the last two days coaching a corporate team as they prepared for a new business pitch. Not one of them had a Twitter account. Only a couple of them had even heard of it. 

Right now, anyway, to spend a lot of time focusing on how to accomodate Twittering audience members seems like a lot of squeeze for not much juice.

But if you’re about to speak to a group of edgy technophiles, then you probably need to to consider how to accomodate their Twittering ways.

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