Sunday, February 28, 2010

Military presentations and social media

Two publications on better presentations caught my eye in the NLA reading room today. One on how to use Twitter during presentations, the other on how military personnel can prepare better presentations.

The Backchannel: How Audiences are Using Twitter and Social Media and Changing Presentations Forever (Cliff Atkinson, 240 pages, New Riders Press, 2009) gives a step by step guide on how to use Twitter during a presentation for audience feedback. It also covers alternatives to Twitter which are better suited for discussion of presentations and how to set up a web version of your talk to allow for this. It is a very good "how to" as well as "why to" guide.

Towards better presentations (Commander Diane Boettcher, Professional Notes, Proceedings of the US Naval Institute, February 2010) is a short article urging military personnel to prepare better presentations. Having suffered from having to sit through many overly long bullet point acronym loaded PowerPoint presentations by defence personnel, I hope the suggestions are headed. I particularly like the suggestion to writing notes to accompany slide presentations. As the commander points out, slide decks tend to take on a life of their own and your presentation, or some slides from it may be widely circulated. If accompanied by some notes the presentation will make much more sense.

It would be interesting to see if the military are making use of the Twitter-type back channel for presentations. Clearly Twitter could not be used for classified presentations, but more secure systems with more limited coverage could be used.

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