It’s Becoming Harder to Fake it as a Speaker

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Not long ago I served as a panel speaker at a large, national medical meeting.  The subject matter was social media.  The panel consisted of myself, another doctor with a well-established platform and a third woman, a high-ranking member of The Society.

The problem was the third panelist.

As she began to speak the live tweeting began.  People on the other side of the planet wanted to learn more about this person headlining this major meeting.  So they searched for her blog, Twitter feed, and Facebook page.  But there was nothing to be found.  She was speaking about something she had never done.

Participants in the backchannel had some pointed comments about her.  Fortunately most of the audience didn’t know there was a backchannel.  But it was nonetheless an uncomfortable spot for those of us sharing what she had to say.

In 2009 I watched a senior VP at a major drug manufacturer get skewered when, after a presentation about Twitter, she was forced to admit that she didn’t have a Twitter account and that her expertise was limited to conversations with her communication team.

It used to be that you could fake it.  But these days your living CV is only a click away.  And anyone claiming authority of any kind can be cross-checked before the lights are even dim.

If you’re going to take the to the podium, be sure you can walk the walk.  Or at least take the time to set up a Twitter account.