Alan Stevens, President of the National Speaker Association, the Global Speakers Federation and Director of Mediacoach, has fully integrated technology into his business. He gives keynotes, offers media coaching and even does stand-up comedy at events all over the world.
“Mediacoach is my media training and social media consultancy. I speak about media and social media. I’m a big cheese,” he quips. “I use Twitter constantly, Facebook occasionally and LinkedIn for business contacts. I’m never without my MacBook Pro and my Android phone.”
There is still a learning curve for social media, one of the reasons this type of coaching is needed. Live broadcast of conversation is ideal for events, so he says Twitter is a key tool for engagement. “It’s a useful backchannel for speakers like me too; I ask my audience to tweet while I am speaking, run surveys in real time and tweet my presentation ‘live’ to people outside the hall.”
A Case Study at the NSA Annual Convention
The same thing will happen in Los Angeles this August at the NSA Annual Convention. “In previous years, with no outside organization, people simply created their own channels on Twitter. The communication is not exactly spontaneous, but a bit unplanned.”
Several impromptu tweetups were held at the NSA Annual Convention after comments made in workshops, or just over a coffee. Since many of the delegates were connected on Twitter, it was possible to pull together a group in just a couple of hours to discuss an issue or solve a problem.
“I’m always impressed by events organized by the National Speakers Association (NSA) in the US – around 1,500 people communicating constantly via mobile and web, as well as watching colleagues on stage in Orlando, Florida last year,” he adds. “A lot of the event could be followed simply by having a mobile phone. Smartphones are especially useful within large events,” he explains, “ for networking and navigating [and] for alerting delegates to special happenings.” The NSA Annual Convention 2010 seemed to be no exception with it’s great use of technology.
The Right Elements
Technology and apps can also work to keep a team connected if the right elements are there. “My film crews tend to use standard broadcast technology. We’re moving more into ‘hybrid’ systems incorporating social media. Though,” Alan adds, “the old telephone still works best.”