By Mike Collins on the 23rd November 2012

It was the CIPD Annual Conference & Exhibition a couple of weeks ago and I had the opportunity to present a session in the Topic Taster area on the subject of using online communities. It was my third speaking ‘gig’ where I’d been released on the unsuspecting public following my sessions at the Learning Live Conference which I’ve blogged about here and the BILD Event – L&D Looking To The Future which I’ve blogged about here and here.

As the Topic Taster sessions are free and part of the CIPD exhibition there was no way of knowing how many people would attend my session and I was also up against the heavy weight that is @garelaos who was running a Twitterversity session I knew would be popular. Regardless of the number of people I’d be looking at in front of me during my slot I also knew there would be a back-channel of potentially 100’s if not 1000’s  of L&D and HR enthusiasts who would be tuned in to the #CIPD12 hashtag.

Luckily my session had a good turn out and included some familiar faces such as @PerryTimms, @kategraham23, @_InMovement and @Sukhpabial in the audience to whom I’m very grateful for the support. I felt the presentation went well and it ran to time (phew) and it was only after the CIPD Conference had finished I started to reflect on the presentation and the approach I’d used when I came across this post by @Sukhpabial called Conferences and Social Presentations.

To say I was chuffed was an understatement and this post by Sukh made that last late night of preparation worth it as it appeared the approach had worked and judging by the number of retweets, replies and views of the presentation this 30 minute session attended by may be 30-40 people touched far more people than could possibly fit in the Topic Taster area. The presentation had indeed been made more social and I’d done my utmost to provide resources and context to the back channel and those that might also be interested but couldn’t attend the exhibition in person. We have the tools to do this so why not?

So what did I do?

It’s not complicated and I’m sure I’m not the first and I hope I’m not the last to do this as I like to get involved in back channel action myself and this would only add to that involvement.

The first thing I did was upload my slide deck to SlideShare  (like I said it’s not complicated) which I’m sure many of you do on a regular basis.

I had timed my presentation a couple of times and made a note of where I’d be at particular times in the presentation so knew roughly what slide I’d be on and what I’d be talking about.

I then set about scheduling a number of tweets to provide context and commentary in the run up to and during the presentation and timed the content of the tweets to be where I was throughout the talk. This provided real time commentary for those on the back channel and in the audience (if they were on Twitter of course) and it enabled me to add context to the slides for anyone who had just viewed the slide deck.

Crucially I had shared the presentation before hand via Twitter and LinkedIn so people then had the slides and at the same time as the talk was going on they could get a snippet of content or a question that linked to each slide. I used two accounts for this, my personal account @MikeCollins007 and the company twitter account @DPGplc which I also manage. This meant that I could schedule two tweets at a time, Hootsuite which was the tool I used only allows tweets to be scheduled at 5 minute intervals so in a 30 minute presentation you can get 7 tweets out or if you’re daring 14 by scheduling two at a time. I also used #DPGCommunity as well as the #CIPD12 hashtag.

That’s it really in a nutshell.

I enjoyed the extra thought around what tweets would work with each slide and how to do this in less than 140 characters. It’s certainly an approach I’ll use in my next two public outings which are coming up in the next couple weeks at two great events I’m really excited about:

InMovement Playground session : The Highest Form of Engagement on the 4th December at Media City in Manchester – it’s a great line up and at £25.00 is fantastic value for money.

Training Journal Winter Conference 2012 – Using Social Media in Learning on the 10th December at Dexter House in London.

We have the tools to make our presentations more social and to extend our reach beyond four walls and in my opinion we should be raising our game to make the back channel as engaging, interesting and as interactive as possible.

In the future I’ll think about putting a recording of the slides together as well (thanks @Kategraham23) and I’ll may be look at Buffer which provides more flexibility around scheduling tweets. in all the excitement I didn’t catch all the tweets and put a Storify together, this was a shame really as would have been a nice touch and resource. One to remember for the future.

For a first attempt I think it went well and I’m sure I’ll improve or someone else will improve on this, after all that’s what it’s about isn’t it

In the interests of sharing the slides from the session are below

As always comments or questions welcome and I can’t wait to get involved in your next social presentation.