The Backchannel: How Audiences are Using Twitter and Social Media and Changing Presentations Forever

Overview

Armed with laptops and smartphones, audiences today are no longer sitting quietly taking notes during live presentations. Instead, they’re carving out a new space in the room called the backchannel, where people are online searching for resources, checking your facts, and connecting with others inside the room and out.

When audiences are happy, the backchannel vastly extends the reach of ideas and creates a new sense of community and connectedness. But when they are unhappy, the...

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The Backchannel: How Audiences are Using Twitter and Social Media and Changing Presentations Forever

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Overview

Armed with laptops and smartphones, audiences today are no longer sitting quietly taking notes during live presentations. Instead, they’re carving out a new space in the room called the backchannel, where people are online searching for resources, checking your facts, and connecting with others inside the room and out.

When audiences are happy, the backchannel vastly extends the reach of ideas and creates a new sense of community and connectedness. But when they are unhappy, the intersection of frustrated audiences with unaware presenters can often create dramatic and public breakdowns of communication—and even mob mentality.

In this book, communications consultant Cliff Atkinson shows that if these new kinds of audience participation are embraced and the conversations properly handled, the outcome can be a new, more effective form of communicating. Whether you’re a host, presenter, or an audience member, Cliff will help you understand how this convergence of social forces is upending the presentation norm and how you can effectively manage the change.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Presenters who don’t learn to manage the backchannel will not only lose the respect of the audience, they’ll miss the opportunity to have much more interesting and relevant conversations.”
– Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation

"Twitter and other forms of social media are changing the nature of business communications. This book will help you stand apart in the new digital world—as a presenter, communicator and representative of your brand.”
– Carmine Gallo, author of The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and Fire Them Up!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321659514
  • Publisher: New Riders
  • Publication date: 12/4/2009
  • Series: Voices That Matter Series
  • Pages: 222
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Cliff Atkinson “wrote the book” on using PowerPoint effectively with Beyond Bullet Points. The book pioneered the market for smart presentation books. Cliff’s impact on the field of presentations has been significant. He designed the presentations that helped persuade a jury to award a $253 million verdict to the plaintiff in the nation’s first Vioxx trial in 2005—presentations which Fortune magazine called “frighteningly powerful.” He has taught his approach at many of the country’s top law firms, government agencies, business schools, and corporations, including Sony, Toyota, Nestlé, Nokia, Nationwide, Deloitte, Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Intel, Microsoft, and the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal.
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Table of Contents

Part 1: The Death of PowerPoint and the Rebirth of Conversation
1. A PowerPoint Chip on Our Shoulder
2. Opening the Backchannel Floodgates
3. Renegotiating a Social Contract: The new Presentation Conversation
4. Integrating the Online with the Offline in a new Conversation Infrastructure
Part 2: Audience 2.0; How to listen, attend, communicate and participate
5. The Audience 2.0 Bill of Rights and Responsibilities
6. Voting with Your Feet
7. When the Audience Completely Runs the Show
8. Listening, reporting, Tweeting, blogging, commenting and the neglected art of question-asking
Part 3: Presenter 2.0; How to listen, present, communicate and facilitate
9. The Presenter 2.0 Bill of Rights and Responsibilities
10. The Art and Science of Crowdsourcing your Presentation
11. PowerPoint is Dead, Long Live PowerPoint
12. The Human Bar Chart, and Other Presentation Innovations
13. Choosing the right medium for your message: keynotes, panels, conversations and un-conferences
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Backchannel manages to teach social media experts and newbies alike about presenting to an audience that's accustomed to high-quality media at their fingertips.

    This book caught my eye because it grasped a phenomenon I've observed at events where the audience gives more eyeball time to their netbooks and smart phones than to the presenter. I figured someday I'd figure out how to harness the power of this behavior, and author Cliff Atkinson beat me to it. Mr Atkinson is THE authority to write on the matter. In addition to writing Beyond Bullet Points, he designed the presentations that helped persuade a jury to award a $253 million verdict in the nation's first Vioxx trial in 2005. Fortune magazine called the presentations "frighteningly powerful."

    For those new to the back channel and the ways of Twitter, never fear. The book starts there, not with boring exposition, but with a real-life event where panelist Guy Kawasaki noticed a critical tweet (Twitter update) about him and asked the tweep (person who tweeted) to step up and explain the remark. After setting the context for Twitter and the back channel with this case study, Mr Atkinson goes into the mechanics of Twitter and other technological means for sustaining an official back channel.

    The part of the book that everyone presenting can use (with or without a back channel) describes how to be an editor, curator and taste-maker to your audience. Thinking of yourself in these ways makes it 100% easier to craft a presentation.

    Mr Atkinson outlines a strategy for JOINING the back channel's conversation, including how to manage a "conversational presentation." Presenters with and without a back channel should follow this advice

    "You can no longer get away with putting up a slide that lists Agenda or Introduction at the start of your presentation. Nor can you get away with kicking off your presentation with too many details or a list of your accomplishments. In a world in which your audience is accustomed to high-quality media at their fingertips, you need to capture their attention out of the gate. You must engage your audience within the first five slides or at least the first five minutes of your presentation."

    The book offers a chapter on how to handle the positive and negative feedback from the back channel. Particularly helpful is the advice that speakers should practice scenarios that put them in a range of difficult situations. He gives five scenarios to practice: "You're not listening to us;" Your Facts are wrong or misleading;" "Your material is a mismatch for us;" "Your material is boring;" and "You made me mad."

    Finally, relying on an excellent case study from a conference gone snarky via the backchannel, Mr Atkinson shows how Chris Brogan (author of Trust Agents) turned the situation around. Here's the 10-point checklist for managing an unruly back channel:

    Establish a reputation
    Listen and collect stories
    Dispense with pretense
    Talk to the elephant in the room (if there is one)
    Make it you, you, you instead of me, me, me
    Check in with the audience early and often
    Improvise
    Stay grounded
    Ignore the small stuff
    Keep things in perspective

    This slim volume is worth the $34.99 list price and includes a free 45-day searchable online edition. Both of my thumbs are way up.

    Other book reviews available http://tamelarich.com/tag/book-lust/

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