Lessons learned from microblogging talk

I gave a talk on microblogging to approximately 150 people at IBM. It was fantastic! There was so much energy and engagement, it was all I could do to keep up with the free-wheeling discussion.

What worked well:

  • My entire presentation (excluding the title slide) consisted of a single-slide summary. That was really useful, as it meant that people knew the structure and what I was going to talk about right away.
  • The chat conversation was lively. Really lively. =)
  • Having someone else watch the conversation definitely helped. Also, treating it as a river of thoughts, or a jumping-off point for further discussions… It’s like a big brainstorming session!

What I’d like to improve further:

  • My quick overview (plan: 5 minutes) ended up taking 20 minutes because I responded to people on the fly. Totally okay. I wonder if I can make the set-up presentation shorter so that I can open it up for Q&A even earlier.
  • I’d planned to switch to screen sharing and go through things dynamically, but I went with the static image because I didn’t want  to interrupt the conversation with more moving parts. ;) Maybe if I can get to the point of quickly doing visual notetaking in real life (like Minna does!), then I’ll be able to keep up with doing it virtually too.
  • This presentation/interaction pattern is new and powerful. It can feel like a chaotic bazaar sometimes, though! I wonder how we can manage this better. I’d love to use a tool with a bigger chat box, for example. That would make the backchannel easier to see and read.

That was exhilarating!

  • http://coevolving.com David Ing

    @sachac I didn’t see your slides — I downloaded the playback, and transcoded the movie to audio — and listened on my MP3 player.

    Presentation slides are only visual aids. As a prolific note-taker, I focus on listening to the voice, and refer to the visual aids only secondarily if necessary. It’s amazing how just listening reduces the mental overload. (I’m at a seminar where one speaker was talking about teaching a class with two screens, and each student with a laptop, resulting in a response of TMI — Too Much Information!)