Social media have changed presentations in a fundamental way. Now audience members are tweeting with each other during the presentation, as well as sending running accounts out to the twittersphere in real time. Rather than fight this trend, presenters should use it.
Ideally, we should be incorporating the audience’s use of social media into the presentation. For example, in the Q&A segment, the presenter can ask, “What thread/topic is attracting the most comments among you in your tweets?” That’s the hot button.
Also, days prior to the event, presenters can ask audience members for their Twitter handles and to tweet their questions on the speaker’s topic. Their responses and comments from their followers can help shape the presentation content and flow.
Similarly, a presenter can build a Facebook fan page or simply use his or her own account to accept questions/comments before the presentation.
One of the advantages of these approaches is that a path for dialogue will have been blazed so that, post-speech, comments and ideas can continue to be exchanged among attendees and presenter.