My TFT13 experience with Google Hangouts

On 18 June 2013, I was one of twenty four honoured speakers to present at TFT13, the world's biggest online IT Service Management conference. My topic was Leading IT Service Management using Agile and this was my first presentation at an online conference.

"TFT, Tomorrow’s Future Today, is the world’s first 24-hour, global, follow-the-sun virtual conference. It has a size and level of innovation that has never been seen before. Speakers are selected by their peers and elevated to a global stage overnight. All content is accessible, without registration, pushed to Kindle and Evernote, available on iTunes, Vimeo, YouTube, BrightTALK and SoundCloud."

Shortly after the conference had finished, #tft13 had generated 7.6 million social media impressions.

I was humbled to be selected for this event, and I enjoyed the opportunity to work with other IT Service Management thought leaders and to learn Google Hangouts. Using my Google+ account, I found information and assistance easily available and Hangouts provided an easy, free way to interactively present and record presentations. The ability to then store the recorded content on YouTube was a great feature. When presenting with Hangouts, I had four observations:
1. It is useful to log into the same hangout as an observer with a different device and Google+ account so I could see the time delay with my presentation. This allowed me to sync my speech accordingly,
2. I changed the presentation slide pack to suit the online audience. Some of my slides that previously required audience participation had to be modified to suit this 'push only' method of content delivery, 
3. I found that when you present in full screen mode, you can no longer see who else is in the Hangout (except with the 2nd device), and
4. If you have recorded a dud presentation, you'll need to go into YouTube to ensure you mark it as private or delete it as presentations can be automatically stored and marked public in your YouTube account.

Presenting with Hangouts was certainly different to traditional in-person presentations. I missed the non-verbal feedback with peoples' body language that you see in an in-person presentation. Twitter can provide a source of audience feedback but this would require either another person or yourself to monitor and assess in real time - while you are presenting. Another aspect I missed was the opportunity to network with other speakers - usually over a beer or two - at the end of the day. Having said that, I can network with my peers using various forms of social media. 

Two advantages I found with this style of online conferences included:
1. I was absent from work for a minimal amount of time (enough time to set myself up in a quiet room and then present). With in-person presentations, you could be absent for several hours, or a day; and
2. I, like the audience, am able to watch every presentation after the conference, as it was presented. 

Overall, this was a great experience and I can certainly see these style of conferences becoming more popular. 


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