Great webinars don’t just involve a presenter talking and attendees listening. The online format offers multiple opportunities for presenters to engage with their audience, and it’s crucial that they do—because distractions are just a click away. Here are just a few ways you can make your webinars more interactive—and hold your audience’s attention.
Conduct a poll. What information do you want to gain from your audience? Maybe it has to do with their preferences regarding the types of product or service you sell, or maybe it relates to the challenges they face in the workplace—challenges that could affect how you market and sell your products and services to them. You could even ask for feedback on the presentation while you’re giving it. Polls are a great way to get an audience’s opinion—and help them to feel engaged.
Ask and answer questions. Build the questions into your presentation. Every few slides, ask one—and share their answers with the group. The questions can include the asker’s name or be anonymous, depending on what’s the most appropriate for your group. You can also take questions at predetermined points in the presentation or at the end. Answering questions as they come up can be great for engaging attendees in the moment, but can be difficult for you to do while you’re establishing the flow of your presentation.
Get help. Sometimes it can be difficult to engage an audience and give a presentation at the same time—keeping track of questions and poll results and responding as you go. To that end, it can be helpful to have a partner working with you in the webinar to manage incoming audience responses, respond to messages, and give you questions to answer when you’re ready.
Encourage social media use. Make sure your audience knows your webinar’s hashtag, and encourage them to make comments, chat with each other, live-tweet the webinar, and ask questions using it. Have your partner keep track of the Twitter comments and answer questions as needed. This tactic puts your webinar in the public eye, and can be great for gaining a wider audience and possibly more attendees next time.
Give a test. If you let them know ahead of time, a test is a great way to gauge how well your audience is understanding and retaining your presentation. You can give short tests after certain sections or after the entire presentation, and clear up areas of confusion as they crop up. Letting an audience know ahead of time that they’ll be tested is a great way to get them to pay close attention.
Critique something. This doesn’t apply to every subject, but for many, it’s a great opportunity to get audiences engaged. Ask your audience to offer up their website, their web copy, their product, or some other item for you to critique. Inform audiences ahead of time that you’ll be doing a live critique, so they’ll be ready.
Interactive webinars hold audience attention far better than a straight lecture format. Consider how you can add a few simple interactivity elements to your next webinar, or bring someone on to help you manage audience questions and responses. If you do, you’re more likely to hold your audience’s attention—and build a reputation for fantastic webinars.