The ability to capture and hold an audience is a skill few of us possess unfortunately!
Sure, the best actors, comedians and singers have it sewn up. They’ve got the ability to keep everyone’s focus on them.
They also have the advantage of physically being in front of their audience.
With webinars, however, we aren’t so lucky…
No physical audience means extra effort to keep those registrants not only awake, but engaged in what’s being discussed.
Thankfully, we can help open a few doors for you when it comes to improving your ability to connect with attendees!
We believe there are four key areas that, if focused on, can in their own unique ways, contribute to a happy, interested viewership:
- Calls to Action
Dedicate yourselves to improving these four aspects of your webinar, and you’ll create an experience that’ll ensure no one thinks about grabbing forty winks during your event!
“Everybody gets so much information all day long, that they lose their common sense” - Gertrude Stein, Author
Even the most entertaining speaker can be dragged down by uninspiring content.
Okay, maybe some can make it work for them, but most of the time, they need good material to invigorate them.
Presentations need to have colour, focus & variety, in order to grasp and keep hold of the audience's attention.
Think about it. On the flip side of this, would you be thrilled at the prospect of watching a 45 minute PowerPoint in plain black & white, with unfocused, irrelevant content, using only words to illustrate a point?
If the answer’s yes, good for you. But, hopefully the voice in your head is emphatically saying no!
How exactly does one create a presentation that ticks the aforementioned boxes then?
Well, start by picking out the most vital tidbits of information, that are relevant to the points you wish to make.
Try to avoid packing content in for the sake of filling your slide deck.
Short, sharp bullet points will display your work in a concise way, without being overly wordy!
Equally as engaging, is displaying your work in a variety of ways.
- Graphs etc.
are a really effective way of switching things up a bit.
They refocus the attendees and help keep them on their toes!
And, never forget that relevant images and videos, used sparingly, are a lifesaver when it comes to engaging people!
“For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument and debate” - Margaret Heffernan, Author/Lecturer
Why simply talk at the audience? Get them to play their part too!
Webinars are a two-way street. People don’t always wish to be lectured at, without any opportunity to query what they’re being told.
We can’t emphasise enough the importance of involving your viewership in proceedings.
Inform them well in advance that there’s a Q&A session to be had!
Encourage them to submit questions throughout your event and let them know they’ll be answered at the end.
Also, not that we need to remind you, make sure you actually answer them :)
Apart from the occasional coasters (there’s always a few), those who register for your event will want to play some part in what’s happening.
So, why stop with Q&A?
Live Chat is a guaranteed conversation starter.
If you’ve presented your content in an entertaining and informative way, people might get talking about what’s on-screen.
Chat allows viewers to discuss both among themselves and with you!
Striking up a dialogue with your attendees helps build a connection with them, getting you as close to that physical audience interaction as you can in a webinar environment.
Finally, for interactivity, an honourable mention has to go to our good friend, the Poll feature.
If you care enough to understand your audience and what their opinions are, you can gauge their reactions to your content (and check to see if they’re still paying attention) by including polls at different intervals.
Foster an environment where criticisms and praise can be put forth openly!
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people” - Steve Jobs, Apple
Even the most inspiring content can be dragged down by an unentertaining speaker.
(See what I did there… )
Choosing the correct speaker for the occasion is crucial.
Pick someone who has the relevant knowledge, but who can’t really express their points eloquently enough (and perhaps has a slightly monotone voice), and you run the risk of losing your viewers.
Conversely, pick someone who has the gift of the gab and knows a thing or two about what’s being discussed, and you’re onto a winner.
Remember, that face-to-face with your audience element isn’t a factor here.
You need a speaker who can verbally project themselves onto those tuning in.
Or, alternatively, have a team of speakers!
Sometimes multiple presenters can make attendees more observant.
Well, hearing a different voice or tone keeps things fresh.
The audience will be stimulated by hearing different voices, thus, they’ll be listening in all sorts of directions, so to speak.
Traditionally, if you’re using multiple speakers, you’ll need a moderator on hand, to act as the host.
- Introduce the presenters
- Keep them in check
- Indicate when they’re to begin speaking
Quick point, if you’re using guest speakers and/or multiple presenters, it’s essential you thoroughly rehearse and prepare beforehand.
Otherwise, it could sound a bit messy if people don’t know their place and start speaking over each other!
Everyone involved will feel a little more comfortable when start time approaches, resulting in a much better quality event.
Put it this way, if your preparations are thorough, you’ll have a multi-layered webinar, with plenty of voices and opinions to keep the audience engaged!
Calls To Action
“I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions, they will be moved to act” - Bill Gates, Microsoft
- Why are you running this event?
- What do you want your audience to take away from it?
- Which actions would you like them to take?
These are just some of the questions to query yourself with when you host a webinar.
We’re not talking about some in-depth introspection here, but just ask what the aftermath should be like for those attending your webinar.
Would you like those who have viewed your webinar to visit your website or download an eBook related to the topic?
If so, add a Call to Action to your webinar.
They’re so simple to come up with, because they should directly relate to the ambitions for your event.
And, they help you take advantage of having a captive audience, so you can nudge them towards taking a particular action that will help you achieve your goals.
- Add files to a resources tab in your event environment (PDF’s, Additional slides etc.)
- Use post-event surveys if you’re looking to for feedback or data from your audience
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you clearly lead your attendees towards it, by verbally or visually referencing it!
Your viewers will hopefully follow your cues and gain additional benefits from attending.
And that surely, makes running a webinar worthwhile, right?
So, in-keeping with the Call to Action topic, here’s our very own!
If you’ve found our tips to be spot on, why not discover even more, by downloading the free Ultimate Webinar Handbook!
Inside, it’s full of insights into how to conduct the most professional, entertaining and informative webinars possible!
Give it a download by clicking the link below :)
By Matt Tobin
Matt joined us at WorkCast as a Content Executive in February of this year. While he's getting to grips with the world of online events, he’s responsible for creating written content for many of our Blogs, Case Studies & eBooks.