In the movie “Wall-e” the sparkling darling robot Eve, who is very apple-esque if you ask me, queries her new grimy friend, Wall-e, with the question, “Directive?” It was her primary mission to follow her own directive and that was her jumping-off point of engagement. At first, she’s a bit chilly and robotic, but she softens up as the movie proceeds. The whole dang show is adorable.
At Hawaii Medical Service Association, the executives have a directive to give lunch-time lectures about their niche areas in the organization. The electronic sign-up sheet fills up fast and it isn’t because Human Resources puts a mini Quaker granola bar on each seat. It’s a chance to interact with an executive in the flesh, in the safety of a crowd, and to maybe get an idea of what motivates them. After all, they’re a successful person within our organization. Why not see what makes them tick?
I’d say that 99 percent of us who attend these lunch-time events are on smart phones, and some of us are updating Twitter with what the execs say. It doesn’t always happen but once in a while a laptop is connected to a projection screen and the tweets are shown as the presentation proceeds. What an awesome way to follow both the speaker and the responses.
This is called the backchannel. Mashable gives guidance on how to manage the Twitter feedback, or backchannel, that occurs during a presentation. The article is based on not showing the live twit stream. But I think that speakers should consider, if the equipment is available, to show the feedback as it pops.
But what if the backchannel derails the speaker’s mission, interrupts instead of flows with the presentation? Twecklers might think twice about pursuing the derailment if their snarkiness is shown during the presentation. The best managers understand that engaging twecklers on the spot, and then perhaps delaying the line of thought by suggesting a follow-up conversation later, will put the presentation back on the tracks.
I’ve not seen tweckling at an HMSA presentation, and not all of them have larger-than-life screens scrolling the live twitstream. But I do think that option creates another channel of accessibility to executives who used to be seen as those unreachable in their ivory towers.
It’s important to know what executives think. But now we find that executives realize that unless they know what’s going on with the rank and file, they’ll lose traction with both them and, consequently, their member base. Social media adds value by increasing participant awareness.