- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (November 29, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780321659514
- ISBN-13: 978-0321659514
- ASIN: 0321659511
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,107,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Backchannel: How Audiences are Using Twitter and Social Media and Changing Presentations Forever 1st Edition
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"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!
About 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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Top Customer Reviews
In his new book Cliff Atkinson explains how these new forms of online communication are shifting the rules of engagement between audiences and presenters. Instead of sitting politely until it's time for Q & A, people are going online during the address to swap comments and opinions via an electronic backchannel.
At the very least, Atkinson claims, speakers and their communications support staff need to be aware that there is likely to be a backchannel in the room and learn how to monitor it or be left out of the conversation. Beyond this basic awareness, he encourages communicators to take the initiative and employ social media as an integral part of any executive's presentation.
Atkinson's book covers a lot of ground, from how to open a Twitter account to advice on expanding the conversation with the audience. He details how social media can transform a presentation from a one-off information dump into a longer-term relationship--one that starts before you step onto the podium. His advice includes:
* Breaking a speech into "Twitter-sized chunks" to make it easier for people to post 140-character sound bites. One measure of success then becomes how many of these summary statements are posted and reposted online.
* Using Twitter as a vehicle to extend your ideas to people outside the room, giving them a "virtual stage pass" to the event.
* Creating instant polls using tools, such as Twtpoll and Poll Everywhere, to involve the audience.
* Publishing a Presentation Home Page using wiki software. For example, I was inspired by Atkinson's book to create [...]/ listing my past and future talks. A Presentation Home Page is a convenient archive for reference material; blog postings; a Twitter feed; bio and contact information and more. This shifts the burden from overly busy PowerPoint slides as the sole way to communicate information. Also, by implementing a page like this prior to an event you initiate a backchannel that involves the audience, letting you gather comments and suggestions before you deliver the talk. After the event, the page becomes a repository for evaluation responses, blog postings, reference material and a transcript.
Atkinson acknowledges there are both risks and rewards involved in the backchannel. It enables people to connect online and become part of a shared community, but at the risk of leaving out those who are unaware of what is happening. It gives the speaker a way to reach a wider audience, but at the risk of distracting the smooth delivery of material. It provides an archive for comments and opinions, but a series of 140-character notes can lack context. And there's the very real risk that the comments people make on Twitter might lack civility and shock presenters with their sometimes brutal honesty.
Though this approach is not for everyone, Atkinson describes a potent way in which social media allows a (frightening?) new level of transparency that speakers can use to transform a one-way stream of communication into a dialogue with the audience--before, during and after the speech.
The Backchannel might not bring welcome news to presenters who are wedded to the old school ways of controlling audience response and involvement, but is clearly shows how you can magnify the impact of a speech using social media.
*Very helpful information on what to expect and how to handle different types of interactions, even "virtual booing" and those who vote with their feet (and their mouse) by leaving the room.
*Great resources listed
*Very easy to read
*Well organized: the chapter titles and information flow in a logical progression, and you can easily "jump ahead" if you have a specific question or issue you want to read about
*Good overview of tools in general so that the reader can understand how they'd work in a presentation, without being wedded to a specific tool (as technology changes very fast!)
*Some information (e.g. establishing a Twitter account) not really useful for those who are familiar with those resources-that might have been better in an appendix
*Updating information would also be useful as technology changes so rapidly
If you're looking for a good solid introduction to the impact of social media on how you present to audiences, this is a great book.
I thought it was going to be about how to handle the "peanut gallery" commenting of Twitter users when giving a presentation, which it does, and gives good real world examples.
However, what I didn't expect and gained the most insight was to re-think how to outline and build your presentation now that social media users can quickly share your (and their) thoughts and images while you speak. Essentially, today's speaker has to think how Tweet-able the presentation is; and to build in your "Tweet-bites", including Tweet-friendly slides for participants to take a picture with their mobile phones and send via Tweetpic. A good, Tweet-able presentation can extend your message, but a boring or bad presentation can deter your brand image, or extend your message incorrectly.
What a challenge: summarize your message into Tweet-friendly bites. Actually, re-Tweet-friendly because using all 140 characters may chop off your message in an important phrase when re-tweeted.
Of all the social media books that I've been reading, this one hit an "aha!" with me.
So I jumped on Cliff's new book. I found it to be a great summary and extension of everything I've seen so far, and adds some useful templates that I'll be using for my next presentation.
The book is mostly based on experiences in the high-tech sector, but it seems clear that the issues described in the book will be affecting anybody who presents regularly -- you WILL need skills in the future.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm really enjoying this book.Read more
Six months ago I was a phones off, pay attention to the front of the room type of guy regardless of...Read more