Tag Archives: social speech

State of the Union screen capture, with a sharing icon overlay

The State of the Union is social

There’s a point I’ve been hammering for years now (and I do mean years): the rise of social networks and easily-shared media should mean a profound change in the way speakers and speechwriters approach our craft: at once both broader in scope and more conversational in approach. I call this approach the social speech.

But there’s still surprisingly little uptake. Maybe speakers put their Twitter handle on an opening slide, or post their deck to Slideshare, but that’s often about it.

Maybe that’s you. And maybe the thought of getting more social with your speaking (or speechwriting) has intrigued you before, but you weren’t really sure where to begin.

If so, then have a look at how the Obama White House handled the State of the Union speech last week. Continue reading

Use sketchnotes and graphic recording to spread your speech’s message

A social speech has the power to extend your message’s reach beyond the audience in attendance. And one of the most powerful ways you can do that is by encapsulating that message in a self-contained, easily-shared piece of content: a social object.

Think of it as a spur to conversation: something that people will share and talk about online. (Jyri Engeström first coined the term, but cartoonist Hugh Macleod has done a lot to put it into practical terms.) For your speech, that social object could take many forms: A great clip of the key moment from your speech. An infographic illustrating and supporting your argument. A striking and relevant image, captioned with a text quotation from your speech.

Or it could take the form of graphic recording: an increasingly popular way of capturing the essence of speeches and conversations as illustrations, usually drawn live and in the moment.

Innovative workshop facilitators have been using graphic recording now for years. (Here’s Nancy White doing her marvellous graphic take on my Northern Voice talk from 2009.) And now it’s hitting the mainstream with everything from RSA’s now-famous whiteboard animations to sketchnotes at events like SXSW and (cough) the Nonprofit Technology Conference.

The folks at Duarte Design created a series of illustrations from last month’s TED 2013 talks – garnering more than 100,000 views on Slideshare. Here’s how one of them, capturing seven different talks, came together:

You don’t have to be nearly as ambitious in scope and scale, of course. But even a few simple sketches along with explanatory text can help your message spread – and inspire conversations that can lead to connection, action and impact.

And those sketches don’t require any special artistic training or cartooning skill. Books like The Sketchnote Handbook and The Back of the Napkin set out simple techniques you (or someone in your organization) can use to illustrate a message with clarity and power, even if you haven’t dared to doodle since grade school. And the Sketchnote Army website offers inspiration on demand, with tons of examples to learn from.

Add some identifying information — the speaker’s name, the event and date, an URL and a Twitter ID — and you’re ready to release your sketchnote into the wild as a social object. There are countless ways to do it:

  • post the image to your blog
  • post the image to Flickr
  • tweet it out after the speech
  • add it to the slide deck you post on Slideshare
  • turn it into a Prezi
  • animate it a little and post it to YouTube

Whichever way you share it (and any other social object you create), follow and join the conversations it triggers, and engage with the networks it helps you build.

P.S. – I’m convinced the current popularity of hand-drawn live notes owes no small debt to the impact of Common Craft‘s fantastic explanatory videos. So it’s no accident that I’ll also heartily recommend Lee LeFever’s The Art of Explanation, which is great on images and can help you add sound and video to the mix.

Speeches and accountability: when a human has to say the absurd

Back in December, NRA spokesperson Wayne LaPierre finally broke the gun lobby’s silence after the Newtown massacre. And David Murray made this crucial point on his blog at Vital Speeches of the Day:

NRA chief reveals another valuable social purpose of speeches: They force leaders to say their position with a straight face. And we get to see what they look like when they say it. And that’s worth a hell of a lot.

That’s a critical point to remember about the power of public speaking. A news release, Facebook update or tweet can say the most absurd things in the world, and the text will look as straightforward and po-faced as if it was an announcement that toast is made out of bread.

But no matter how much time a communications team spends editing and fine-tuning a speech, a human being ultimately has to say these things in real time. (Such as “This is the beginning of a serious conversation. We won’t be taking questions today.”) At that point, we associate those things with a person and a face… and the speaker knows that’s exactly what we’re doing.

And that doesn’t just apply while we’re listening. In the era of online video, there’s a good chance that same human being will be held accountable at some point in the future if what they say turns out to be inaccurate, misleading or – in the cold light of day – absolutely awful.

There are speakers out there who are so delusional or unethical that this makes no difference to their delivery. But I’ve seen a number of speeches, news conferences and interviews where it quickly became obvious that the speaker had no confidence in what they were saying. Instead of just spinning, they were spinning out of control.

Thanks to YouTube and low- or no-cost video editing software, one incident like that can happen over and over again. With Autotune. And a backing track.

With any luck, that may provide a little added incentive for the otherwise-ethical when the temptation arises to defend the indefensible.

Filed under: Social Speech Tagged: news conference, nra, wayne lapierre

Social Speech Podcast, Episode 12: Mitchell Beer

Mitchell Beer has been a leader in conference communcations for more than a quarter of a century. His firm, The Conference Publishers, reports and repackages conference content – keeping it useful and relevant long after the closing gavel.

How does that change in the social media era? In this episode, Mitchell tells me how conference reporting is evolving to take advantage of everything from YouTube to Twitter. And along the way, we gain some insights into how speakers and speechwriters can help their messages find a prominent place in those reports… and in the ideas participants take home with them.

Social Speech Podcast, Episode 12: Mitchell Beer

Mitchell Beer has been a leader in conference communcations for more than a quarter of a century. His firm, The Conference Publishers, reports and repackages conference content – keeping it useful and relevant long after the closing gavel.

How does that change in the social media era? In this episode, Mitchell tells me how conference reporting is evolving to take advantage of everything from YouTube to Twitter. And along the way, we gain some insights into how speakers and speechwriters can help their messages find a prominent place in those reports… and in the ideas participants take home with them.

You, in the back. Stop looking at me and start tweeting.

Jeff Hurt reports on a study that suggests tweeting during a class isn’t distracting – it actually increases engagement:

Education Professor Christine Greenhow, Michigan State University, conducted a study on Twitter as a new form of literacy. Her results showed that adults who tweet during a class and as part of the instruction:

  • are more engaged with the course content
  • are more engaged with the instructor
  • are more engaged with other students
  • and have higher grades than the other students.

via Now Proven! Using Twitter At Conferences Increases Attendee Engagement.

So the next time you look up from your speaking notes into a sea of heads bent over laptops, tablets and mobile devices, don’t despair – as long as they’re tweeting and not, say, checking their email, your audience may be more engaged with you than ever.

Filed under: Social Speech, Speaking Tagged: backchannel, twitter

For everyone who wants Obama to be more animated…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9G8XREyG0Q
Why Obama Now on YouTube.

Now, this represents a lot of work — not just the raw animation and graphics work, but the tremendous visual imagination driving them. But it’s a superb example of how you can reach far more people with your speech than the audience alone.

Creating a digital artifact — whether it’s an image and text adapted from your key point, a brief clip from your speech with annotations, an infographic, an enhanced slide deck or any of a thousand other possibilities — frees your message to be shared beyond the room.

And if you have one of the world’s leading TV animators in your corner, why, that doesn’t hurt at all.

Live-tweeting for the first time… or the fiftieth? Check this list out

5. Research speakers’ Twitter usernames beforehand. Keep them on a piece of paper or notepad for easy reference.

6. Confirm the event hashtag. Find out what the official hashtag for the event is, and make sure you use that watch out for typos. If there’s isn’t one, make a nice short one up check it’s not in use first.

7. Set up an automatically-updating search for your hashtag in your Twitter client. Since you are most likely on a mobile, an app like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or Seeismic is really useful as they allow for you to save columns for individual searches.

8. Check whether your client allows you to automatically add a hashtag to tweets. It’ll save you some time and aches in your fingers.  I use the Twitter app on my iPhone, which does this when you tweet from the search screen.

via How to live-tweet from an event | eModeration

There’s some great advice here that you could easily turn into a live-tweeter’s checklist. If you’re having a staff member or volunteer live-tweet your next event, you could do a lot worse than point them to this post.

Filed under: Social Speech Tagged: how-to, live-tweeting, twitter