5 Tips to Keep Your Webinar Audience Engaged
Conferences, seminars, and similar types of meetings have always been popular. They give the audience a voice. During these events, the attendants aren’t just listeners. They get the chance to chat with each other, ask questions, vocalize their opinions, and discuss what they have learned. In other words, these events are engaging and interactive.
In the era of online conferences, the engaging and interactive aspects are the hardest ones to translate. When someone watches you through a monitor, how do you keep them away from the fridge and on the screen, listening and responding to your presentation?
We’ll share the most important webinar presentation tips on how to keep your audience engaged!
Simple Webinar Tips: How to Keep Your Audience Engaged
- Use Different Content Formats
Maybe you prepared the most awesome speech, and you’ve practiced your presentation skills to perfection. Yes; jokes and exciting points will keep the audience’s attention for half an hour at most. Will they prevent your listeners from exiting the screen and having an elaborate snack or going on an online shopping spree? No.
Webinars tend to present a great deal of information. Using a single format to share all those details will overwhelm your audience into zoning out. That’s why using a variety of formats is one of the webinar best practices.
In addition to standard speaking, you can use a few other formats:
- Slides with tons of graphics and colors
- Original photographs (not stock photos!) that illustrate the situations you discuss
Don’t overload your audience with any of these formats. Although you will use slides, videos, photographs, and other types of content, speech will still be the main way you present information.
- Mind the Technicalities
Many things may go wrong when you host a webinar. Your Internet connection may fail, and you’ll have disappointed attendees, who made plans to follow your webinar at the scheduled time. Many of them won’t give you a second chance. That’s why you should make sure your connection is stable, and have a back-up plan just in case.
Your computer is another important thing to prepare. Maybe you have patience to wait for a few seconds for a website to open, a video to load, or a slide to change. Your viewers won’t have that patience. Technical pauses, no matter how short they are, will lead to lower interest and less participation. That’s why you should check a few detailed guides on how to speed up your computer. If necessary, you can borrow someone else’s device to ensure that the webinar’s flow is flawless.
This is possibly the most important tip on how to host a webinar: always log in at least 20 minutes before the scheduled start, so you can perform a tech check. Make sure that both your computer and its Internet connection are fast and reliable.
- Have Discussion Groups
A simple Q&A session after your presentation won’t do the trick. Yes; your participants will have some questions, and you’ll answer them. But that dry format doesn’t contribute towards a great level of engagement.
Try discussion groups instead! With this approach, you’ll directly get their questions, but you won’t offer simple answers. You’ll share your thoughts, and you’ll allow everyone else to do the same.
Your attendees shouldn’t be the only ones to ask questions. If you notice a particularly interesting discussion point arise, maintain the interest there by asking additional questions yourself.
Since a discussion may take longer than expected, it’s best to leave it for the end of the webinar. However, this part shouldn’t come unannounced. Prepare your audience right from the start, by telling them that everyone will participate in a discussion group towards the end of the event. They should note down their thoughts and questions throughout the webinar. This is a good way to avoid interruptions and keep everyone engaged.
- Invite a Guest Speaker
Whatever format you choose for presenting your content, you can make it more engaging by sharing the responsibility with another speaker. This approach will break the dynamic. Your audience will be exposed to another point of view, a different presentation style, and a shift in the overall vibe of the webinar.
If there are two or more speakers, they can help each other out during the presentation. They can ask constructive questions, contribute towards a better discussion, and add a different point of view (even an opposing one would be great for the level of engagement).
Each host can lead their own discussion group at the end, so they will add some structure to that part, too.
- Call Them to Action
When webinar hosts wrap things up, they usually run a brief feedback survey. That’s how they get some feedback. Yes; that’s definitely something you should do at the end of the webinar. But what did the participants get from the time spent with you? Don’t forget another important element of closure: the call to action!
Pay attention to these webinar presentation tips that will trigger action from the participants:
- Invite them to do something related to the topic and get back to you with their experiences. Then, you’ll share some of the most notable examples with the remaining participants through an email newsletter.
- Suggest additional resources for the attendees to read.
- Give them a written assignment. This may seem like too much to expect, but it doesn’t have to be mandatory. You can invite them to express their opinions through posts or essays, which you’ll publish on your official website. These publications can trigger more discussion between the participants.
- Share your contact information and tell the participants to keep in touch. They can come to you with any questions, thoughts, and suggestions.
Make the Webinar Fun and Action-Provoking!
The above-listed webinar tips were focused on creating more engagement through specific strategies. But don’t forget one of the most important general strategies on how to host a webinar: make it fun! Amuse your audience with surprising facts, light jokes, and unexpected points of view. Nobody wants to waste their time looking at the screen without learning something new.
Once you have your presentation ready, put yourself in an attendee’s role and ask yourself: what’s my takeaway and what action will I take? After all, taking action is the most important element of engagement!