Speaker tips: How to present when audience is tweeting

by Ben Martin, CAE on February 24, 2009 · 4 comments

Some speakers are so close-minded about texting, typing and tweeting during sessions that I wouldn’t actually expect them to read these tips about how to speak to a tweeting crowd. However, if you’re a speaker in touch with tech reality, you should definitely check out this blog post (scroll down to What About The Speaker?) for a primer on how to talk to tweets in a classroom or keynote setting.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Anthony Zinni February 24, 2009 at 10:42 am


I like how you bring up that some presenters are put off by computers in the audience. This in my opinion is a completely outdated way of thinking about the situation, so long as the crowd members are being courteous to the presenter. I however can see no difference between twittering or blogging with writing things down in a notebook. Both the (paper) notebook and laptop are just tools.

While twitter and blogs may sort of be like chatting during a presentation, the truth is that it does not interrupt the presenter and it is what people are thinking anyways. A good presenter would find the unfiltered comments of the crowd via these mediums to be a blessing rather than a blight. How else could they ever receive such an unbiased opinion of their presentation?


Ben Martin, CAE February 24, 2009 at 11:03 am

I’m with you 1000 percent. I have actually heard of instructors who enforce a classroom ban on computers and cell phones and who will deny CE credits to those who dare violate the rule. Speakers need and deserve a level of respect, but they must earn and keep the respect they want by being an engaging speaker.

Personally, I don’t take offense when people use their handhelds or laptops in my sessions. Maybe they’re taking notes or responding to an urgent email. Maybe I’m not engaging enough and need to improve my delivery.


Jeffrey Cufaude February 25, 2009 at 3:59 pm

I’m getting “non-permission” messages when I try to hit the links. Have I been bad?

I think we are going to have to start talking with the learning community about what, if any, changes in room layout, etc. we will want to make to accommodate those who want to type, text, etc. It bothers me little as a presenter, but I do know some participants find it distracting to have that activity right around them … something we can easily do. TED designates separate areas for people who want to be live blogging or Twittering.


Becky Granger February 25, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Thanks for the great links, Ben! Fab article to share with all of our speakers.


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