We’ve talked a lot in previous posts about how to keep interest for your webinars high before the actual event and after it.
But what about the talk itself? It’s very important to make sure that attendees are both interested in your presentation and that they are taking something away from it.
The solution for both of these issues is to keep your audience engaged in what you are talking about.
With webinars you already start from an advantageous position, since (especially for paid presentations) the viewers will have already demonstrated an interest in the material simply by showing up to the webinar.
However, it is entirely up to you to keep the interest high throughout the entire conference.
Here is a short guide with a few easy ways to do just that:
Don’t Read, Talk
It is very likely that you will be using some visual support to emphasize and drive home key points of your speech to your audience.
The most common of these is, of course, the PowerPoint presentation, but other similar software exist.
In any case, remember the wise words of your high school teachers: don’t read the slides!
There are few things at once more boring and unprofessional than a presenter turning to face the screen and reciting the content of his slides out loud.
It’s useless: first of all, the slides should only contain a few key points, and not whole sentences.
Secondly, the presenter should have a practiced dialogue with his audience ready, and should engage them as if they were having a casual, if intellectual conversation in real life (for this reason we would discourage reading from a script almost as much as reading from the slides).
You have a whole range of software integrations on your webinar hosting platform.
Use them to your advantage.
Upload videos, graphs, questionnaires to test audience knowledge after a section of the program is complete.
If, instead of a one-way monologue, you engage the audience directly, guess what? They will be more engaged! (and learn more).
Speaking of interaction: remember to pose questions to your audience throughout the webinar.
These can be used both to check if previously imparted information has been retained, and to probe the audience’s level of preparation for topics you are about to cover.
If your moderator found a reliable way of collecting answers to those questions- even better! But the key element is not really the answer; it’s the act of asking the question itself.
Upon receiving questions, the viewers will be more engaged for two reasons: they will ponder the answer, actively thinking about the material, andthey will feel like a participating member of the lesson, not just a passive observer. Win-Win!
You may know the topics you are talking about inside-out already.
You may have practiced the passage you are delivering now 50 times in the past week alone.
Quite frankly, you may be bored by it.
But it’s still not a valid reason to show your low enthusiasm to the audience.
They don’t know what you are about to mention.
But they will know to expect something incredibly boring if you look miserable.
Then they will tune out, and you will have lost your audience.
Always remember to demonstrate enthusiasm for your lecture, whatever the topic.
Bring It Back Down To Earth
Finally, keep in mind why the audience is here.
The viewers may be interested in the theory behind your talk, but with a few notable exceptions (philosophy webinars come to mind) they will be constantly trying to fit the concepts back down int their personal and professional lives.
Help them do this.
Make real world examples and mention empirical applications for your topic of interest.
Be concrete, and you’ll see the attention span of your audience increase as a result.