I hate being captive in an audience when the people on stage don’t have a feedback loop going with the audience. We’re used to living a two-way life online and expect it when in an audience too. Our expectations of speakers and people on stage have changed, for better or for worse. Robert Scoble

public-speaking-picI just finished reading the article by Olivia Mitchell, How to Present While People are Twittering, which can be found over at Laura Fitton’s blog. THIS IS A MUST READ IF YOU SPEAK!

And now I’m asking that question, “Do you have a feedback loop when you speak?”

It’s a question I have been wondering about for a while…and not just in conference speaking, but in preaching. The conference speaker and the preacher are essentially the same…not in content of message…one is evangelizing the gospel of Jesus Christ and the other is evangelizing a product or idea. BUT, they both come into the engagement with the expectation of a one-way conversation. Though honestly it can’t be a conversation if it’s one way…CORRECT?

Whatever the scenario, the pulpit or the podium, those who stand behind it expect the audience to sit, listen and be attentive.

I think those days are over, or at least coming to an end. Both the audience and the congregation want more engagement and interaction with those who speak from up front. They want more of a conversation…more of a dialogue.

The reality is this. I think some conference speakers will get it and some preachers will get it. They will seek methods and tools to engage the audience and provide more of a real time experience through the use of a feedback loop such as Twitter that is mentioned in the article above. And others will not get it. They will continue to speak to an audience and congregation, demanding one way conversation.

Why is that? Their theology? Fear of losing power and authority? Difficulty in doing it? Tradition? Training?

I’m not saying this needs to be mastered now, but it’s something to be thinking about. It will take a very different kind of leader and speaker to engage audiences in the future whether you are evangelizing ideas or the gospel.

What do you think?