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How to Make Your Webinar Interesting for the Audience

Composed from the words ‘web’ and ‘seminar’ a webinar is a virtual lecture where you can share information with an audience. Virtual events like webinars have become increasingly popular since the pandemic. Despite the absence of in-person interaction, there are many creative ways to prevent a webinar from being a long, boring monologue. Here are some ways to make sure participants stay engaged.

Allow time for setting up and for participants to join

When presenting a webinar, some of the factors you need to consider are the lighting, camera angle, and background. Allow yourself time before the webinar to set everything up. Log in to your webinar platform and test to ensure everything works properly. You don’t want to start your webinar and find that the microphone is not working or the lighting is inadequate. When using webinar software for the first time, it’s essential to get to know it before going live. If you fumble around during the webinar you risk losing the interest of the audience.  

If you’re a Mac user before your audiences start joining in, you need to ensure a few basic things. It’s about being professional and showing that you as a presenter are serious about the webinar. Some key things including a fully functional computer, speaker/mic in top shape, and phone on silent mode are basics. It shows your attitude towards your listeners and puts you across as someone who prioritizes a professional approach. Airplane mode on Mac computers will disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This means you will not receive incoming notifications, messages, updates, or calls from Skype, Zoom, etc. With this, your focus on presentation will be higher. You need to know how to put Mac on airplane mode though because it’s not a straightforward process. The link has the details on how you can do that in some simple steps to ensure a smooth webinar for your audience. Overall, this translates to an experience that your webinar audience will remember for a long time and come back to you for more.

Be original with your webinar format

If all you do as a presenter is look into a camera and read, you won’t retain the attention of the audience. Many webinars start with information followed by a Q&A. Why not try to do something a little different?

You are more likely to retain the audience’s interest if you divide your webinar into shorter segments.

●  Include short breaks to give participants some breathing space and prevent information overload.

●  Ask questions throughout a session instead of just at the end to prevent monotony.

●  Mini-activities and group discussions can help to maintain energy levels in longer sessions.

●  Visual aids such as slides, infographics, images, and short videos can help to keep a webinar dynamic. They break up the monotony of one person speaking and help to reinforce key points.

Introduce yourself

You should begin by welcoming participants and thanking them for attending. In introducing yourself, you need to give the audience reasons why they should listen to you. They want to know what makes you an expert on the topic. You also need to communicate the value and relevance of your topic. There are various ways in which you can do this.

●  An icebreaker question relating to the topic could help to put people at ease and make them immediately feel more engaged. Read out a few of the responses you receive from participants to show that you hear them.

●  You could tell a very short but compelling story about the value of the topic.

●  An intriguing statistic or a provocative quote could also help to show relevance.

Communicate what you hope participants will take away right at the beginning. This helps them to set their expectations. You should also make sure you keep your introduction informative yet succinct. The audience is not there to hear you ramble on about your qualifications.  

Make a strong connection with your audience

It’s important to make a strong connection with your audience from the very beginning. If you start off by looking down rather than engaging with the camera, you could lose them very quickly. It is harder to present online than to speak to a live audience. You need to make sure that initial engagement is strong.

Use a conversational tone: The tone you use is important. If you sound overly formal, it could prevent the audience from feeling at ease. Try to maintain a conversational tone. It helps to use personal anecdotes and humor to connect with participants.

Share stories and case studies: Stories and real-life examples are powerful tools to captivate an audience. Relevant anecdotes, case studies, or success stories can make your content more relatable and memorable.

Stay concise and focused: You must respect the time of your audience. Avoid excessive content or unnecessary tangents. This will just serve to dilute your main message. If you keep the webinar a reasonable length, the audience is more likely to stay attentive throughout.

Share audience testimonials: Sharing audience testimonials from previous webinars you held offers social proof. They can help to build credibility and encourage new participants. They will be more excited if they hear about how helpful others found webinar content.

Use interactive elements

Interactive elements can help to keep participants engaged and provide you with feedback. They include surveys, quizzes, interactive whiteboards, live polls, and chat.

●  Surveys: You can use a survey pre-webinar to get direct insights into what the audience wants to know more about. In surveys post-webinar you can ask participants what was most interesting to them and what topics they would like to know more about in the future.

●  Quizzes: A short quiz can bring out the competitive side of participants. If you announce ahead of time that there will be a quiz, the audience is more likely to pay close attention. Once you kick off a quiz, explain to the audience how to join, read the questions out loud and comment throughout.

●  Interactive whiteboards: An interactive whiteboard allows participants to engage in an activity in real time. They connect to the whiteboard remotely from laptops or desktops and can write or draw on a shared presentation screen. This promotes a two-way conversation. 

●  Live polls: A live poll allows you to collect relevant information from your audience and encourages participation. Poll questions have a much better response rate if they are relevant to the topic. Comment on the poll results in real-time as the votes are coming in. Use the results in the context of your discussion.

●  Chat: Using the chat feature allows you to ask and respond to questions in real time. Encouraging participants to share their experiences and insights related to the topic fosters more connection. 

 Give the audience a clear call-to-action

Strategically plan your CTA and present a clear ‘next step’ for participants. This will encourage engagement beyond the webinar. Providing a recording or summary of the session can encourage a continuation of the discussion. Share your contact information with them and prompt them to follow you on social media for more relevant content.

If you have resources they may find useful, such as downloadable handouts, checklists, or an ebook, direct them to them at the end of the webinar or send them links in a follow-up email. They add value to the experience and give participants something of value to take away. 

You can also reward participants in some way for watching the webinar. This may be in the form of a certificate of completion, discounts, or unique content.

Conclusion

Engagement is a two-way process. Actively listen to your audience, respond to their needs, and adapt your presentation style accordingly. By implementing the above strategies, you can create a more engaging and interactive webinar experience for your audience.

Shaurya Jain
Shaurya Jain

Shaurya jain is a blogger at Attention always. He is an expert in social media marketing & PR. He keeps experimenting with Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and other social media platforms to stay up to date. When he is not writing, you can find watching reruns of Brooklyn 99.

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