At Common Room, we love hosting Uncommon Conversations. They allow us to go deep with community leaders like Mary O’Carroll, Chief Community Officer at Ironclad, Richard Millington, Founder of FeverBee and community strategist, and many others. They’re special because they’re long, and that allows us to dive in. That also means they’re…long.
With our Perfect 10 Twitter Spaces events, we wanted to create an alternative conversational series to give community builders - both our guest speakers and our listeners - a way to learn and share something new, or see something familiar from a new perspective, in easily consumable pieces.
The Perfect 10 is a series of (moslty) 10-minute live chats on Twitter Spaces with leaders across the community-based, product-led, DevRel, and open-source spaces that focus on one theme or topic, with the goal of making ideas accessible while respecting people's busy schedules.
Through it, we’ve welcomed guests like Shawn Wang and Ryland Goldstein from Temporal, Steph Nakano from Coda, Jeph Abu and Jenny Weigle, community consultants, Jared Jones from Moov, and Max Pete from SuperHi, to discuss everything from iterating faster with community input and building healthy communities that acknowledge and take action on DE&I to the right time to launch an ambassador program and what Web3 (might) mean for community builders in 2022.
As a community leader, you want to bring members (and potential members!) closer together to highlight and share learnings and expertise that helps folks grow in their careers, in their product understanding, and in themselves—however they find that in your community. Twitter Spaces has been a lightweight way to bring people together to do that, and we want you to be able to try it out too, with a few less bumps than we had.
Twitter itself has help docs for hosting Twitter Spaces chats. They’re useful, so I’ll spend this time breaking down the top 3 how-to tips my team learned from hosting more than 25 Twitter Spaces conversations.
We’ll cover how to:
This is the most important aspect of a successful Twitter Spaces chat, so I’ll begin here. Twitter Spaces is relatively new, and it’s likely that guests may have never joined one, let alone have been a speaker or co-host. To set your guests up for success, you should share both the tactical things they’ll need to know to enter and navigate the space as well as the topic of your conversation.
I did the second but not the first with our initial guests, and while they were extremely graceful about my lack of specificity, I could have made their Spaces entry and navigation much smoother. Our second pair of guests, Patrick Gallagher and Jerry Li from the Engineering Leadership Community (ELC), helped us shape what we do today by offering very helpful feedback about where they got stuck as well as a great example of how they prepare their guests for their podcast sessions.
I modeled our Twitter Spaces calendar invites using their calendar invitations as inspiration, and every subsequent guest has commented on how prepared they felt before even entering our Twitter Space. As Patrick and Jerry did for me, I would like to do for you.
Below is the template I use to help guests feel prepared both tactically and topically, dropped directly into the calendar invite as well as shared via email:
Hey [Esteemed Guest Name],
Looking forward to hosting you for our "Perfect 10" chat on [Day], [Date]! I've added some details around getting into Twitter Spaces and our conversation topic below. We can always augment the topic if needed.
If you'd like to share the event with your networks, you can find the [tweet right here]!
Getting into Twitter Spaces:
Download the Twitter app (Twitter Spaces is only available on mobile!)
Follow @[YourCompanyHandle] (This will ensure that our Spaces invitation shows up in your DM inbox)
Join our Space from the invitation in your DMs and then choose "Join as Speaker"
*Lil' notes: You'll automatically join on mute, so don't worry about hopping in early! If you accidentally join as a 'Listener', you can request to speak by tapping on the 'Request' microphone icon on the bottom left of your app screen. We can give you Speaker permissions from there!
10-minute focus topic:
I’ll quickly introduce you by name, role, and company, and then we’ll kick off the conversation around your expertise in [topic]...
Really excited! If you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to drop me a line.
Finally, setting your guests up for success also means setting yourself up for success. I recommend doing all the regular things, like finding a generally quiet space and having a glass of something near, and I also recommend having a scratchpad open to take notes as your guest is speaking—your guests will likely share a lot of interesting information, and it’ll be up to you to choose which thread to pull with your next question.
Being able to contextualize your question based on what your guest explicitly shared helps both your guest and your listeners follow the thread and the ‘why’ behind it.
You can start a Space at any time, but you can only schedule one Space in advance. Scheduling your Space in advance lets you, your guests, and your connected networks tweet about your upcoming Space, and allows people to set a reminder for your Space (in an eye-catching bright purple box). You can then retweet your Space reminder leading up to your event itself. I made this quick how-to video for scheduling a Twitter Space in advance, and the basics are below:
There’s a small collection of gotchas here - one I learned thanks to Jenny Weigle. You can only schedule one Space at a time, and you can only schedule a Space within 14 days of your event.
If you want your space to be recorded so your followers can listen after the fact, or because you’d like to download the audio and share it in other places, you’ll need to toggle ‘Record Space’ at the time you’re scheduling it—you won’t have the option later. And if you did record your Space and you want to keep the audio, you’ll need to download your recording within 30 days, or else it disappears. To get your recording, you’ll need to download an archive of your data from Twitter—they offer step-by-step instructions for doing that in this documentation.
During your event, you’ll be able to see how many people are listening and who they are. Once your Space is over, you’ll be able to see how many people tuned in, but you’ll no longer be able to see who they were. Like any event, audience participation and interaction can be a strong indicator of impact—consider how many folks asked questions or reacted with emojis. What parts of the conversation engaged them most? As the Space host, you’ll want to monitor if people are raising their hands so you can share the mic.
A potential gotcha to note here: As the host, you have the power to grant people speaking privileges. We’ve found that accounts without avatars and bios have not treated the mic respectfully, and we encourage you to be mindful of when you grant speaking privileges. You might want to hold time at the end of a conversation topic for Q&A, rather than granting speaking privileges in the middle of a discussion and risking trollage.
If your Space was recorded, your previous Twitter Spaces reminder tweets will automatically change to allow people to ‘Play recording’. Once your Spaces event is over, you can edit the recording’s start time to cut out any dead air before the conversation started. You and your guests can continue sharing your conversation beyond the live recording, and you’ll likely see your number of listeners continue to rise across the following one or two days.
Some Spaces have 2,000 people while some have 20 or 2—your magic number will depend on your goals. We’ve hosted anywhere from 18 - 180 folks on a Space, so we like to record our Spaces to share our conversations more broadly through more channels, giving additional folks the opportunity to access and learn from them.
We’re making our Perfect 10s into a collection of short vignettes available to stream, with the goal of turning those 180 listeners to 1,800 in time. We’re looking forward to counting you as one of them.
Have you hosted a Twitter Space yourself? Building community and want to share your expertise on an upcoming Perfect 10 episode? Looking to scale your community with an intelligent community growth platform like Common Room? Join us in the Uncommon community Slack.