Note: Originally posted on August 27, 2014 to the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network blog. Slightly edited and reposted here so it's out from behind a paywall. Yes, written for healthcare folks but easy to extrapolate for use in the world of church conferences.
Presenting at a conference? Even if it's sooner than soon, thanks to social media you still have time to generate more engagement by "flipping" your talk or panel presentation or workshop or poster session.
I've known about this tactic for a while, but have become even more convinced of its value beyond the classroom after seeing what happened when Pam Ressler (@PamRessler), Susannah Fox (@SusannahFox), Colleen Young (@Colleen_Young) and I started using it two months before our Stanford Medicine X conference panel (Communicating the Experience of Illness in the Digital Age).
Here, I'll describe what's involved and offer practical tips for... flipping!
Flipped teaching or what's sometimes called the "flipped classroom," emerged over a decade ago as a corrective to the traditional and inherently passive lecture format.
Flipped teaching requires student engagement with material before showing up for class. Actual class contact time is then focused on discussing and processing material. (For a detailed introduction to this technique, see: Flipping the Classroom.)
Flipping the Panel
"Flipping the panel," which involves engaging conference attendees before their arrival, benefits presenters as well as participants.
Trotting out background information in advance increases the probability of generating an educated audience. Sharing a conceptual framework in advance allows observers to provide input that, in turn, gives presenters an opportunity to rethink and revise the presentation.
Online social networking platforms makes flipping the panel easy and swift, while extending active participation beyond the conference's physical space and time. As ever, start by thinking strategically about this tactic by asking:
- Who is my audience?
- Where online will I find my audience?
- What do I want my audience to learn/know/do?
- What message(s) will help me accomplish my goal(s)?
Investing a bit of time thinking through these questions will make it easy to choose social networking tools.
Practical Tips For Using Social Networking PlatformsTo enhance our panel presentation, my panel-mates and I used the following social media tools in the following ways:
- Blogs: We used our blogs to rollout information about the panel itself, flipping the panel, and what each of us would address. Our blog posts included a strong CTA (call to action) viz., an invitation for readers to comment on the post itself as well as via other social media. We cross-posted on one another's blogs and tweeted links.
- Twitter: We continued blog post conversations during two Twitter-based chats: 1) #hcsmca, Health Care and Social Media Canada, founded by Colleen Young, who moderated that day's chat; and 2) #hpm (Hospice and Palliative Medicine, founded by MCCSM External Advisory Board member, Christian Sinclair and moderated for this chat by Pam Ressler).This has helped us predict which issues will emerge during the real-time Q&A period. We also RT'd (re-tweeted) to advance the educational/conceptual points we want to make and to generate awareness about our panel. (For a meta-level example of this tactic, see: "One person's TMI is another person's need-to-know" post by Susannah Fox.)
- Storify: Susannah Fox, whose Storify use is always brilliant, set it up to provide resources, capture tweets, link to transcripts on Symplur, and enhance the conversation with images. (For the Storify transcript, see: Communicating the experience of illness in the digital age, noting where Susannah added interlinear notes.)
While using any single one of these platforms would probably have been effective, taking an integrated tactical approach makes more sense. Different tools will appeal to and be used differently by different sectors of your audience (e.g., lengthy blog comments v. tweets).
So, what do you think? Have I persuaded you to flip your next event? Have you already given this tactic a try? If so, what worked, what didn't, and what could have worked better?