February 27, 2020 Ryan Gould
For a lot of participants, it’s not easy to sit behind a screen and listen to all of the content in a webinar. In fact, if all they’re doing is sitting there listening, then that’s a symptom of a bad webinar.
That’s why the ideal webinar is one in which your online audience members feel engaged. You need to put effort into conceptualizing a webinar that your audience loves and actually wants to be a part of. Webinar interaction — from polls and resources to chats and quizzes — is a must.
What is webinar interaction and what does it look like? To get a better sense of it, ask yourself the following questions:
- What sort of activities, quizzes, questions and information would excite your audience?
- What is your audience’s motivation behind attending this webinar?
- Could you ask your audience what they’d like to see in the webinar?
- What are some examples of highly engaging webinars? What can you learn from them?
In this article, we’ll give you five solid ways of engaging your audience while running a live webinar. So let the fun begin!
#1: Audience Poll
If there is a topic you’d like your audience’s opinion on, you can run an audience poll to ask for their votes while running the live webinar.
Most webinar software tools come with audience poll features built-in. So all your audience has to do is either click on a ‘hands up’ button or click from one of the options you put out for them to vote against. This way you can collect votes for a question or issue you bring up and empower your audience to be an important part of the webinar.
#2: Run A Pre-Webinar Survey
We’ve found the trick to successful live webinars is to put a lot of planning, and pre-work before the event actually takes place. And part of this pre-planning is understanding what the audience wants out of the event, which is why we run a survey about a fortnight (that’s two weeks) before the actual webinar is held.
You can include questions like:
- What are your motivations behind attending the webinar?
- How is it possible for us to engage you in this webinar?
- Would you like to interact with other attendees in the webinar?
- What are some webinars you’ve loved to attend in the past and why?
- What would make you jump out of your chair with joy while you attend this webinar?
Asking them questions like these will arm you with the right knowledge to take the right action.
#3: Create Amazing Webinar Content
Don’t just put up slides with lengthy sentences for people read on their own in a webinar. Your job as a webinar organizer is to create amazing webinar content that makes webinar interaction commonplace.
Start by thinking of a catchy topic that grabs the attention of your audience. Then, if you have the time and resources for it, present your content in interesting formats, like creating infographics, videos or visually-appealing GIFs.
Then, think about some background music you can play before the webinar or a GIF animation you run while the webinar is running. Just make sure the background effects aren’t too distracting — the audience’s attention should be on your content, not your GIFs. Also, if you’re giving a live presentation, make sure you check the microphone for voice clarity before the event starts.
Another helpful presentation tip we’ve discovered is to make strategic use of your webinar slides. Often, the fewer, the better. Run slides for a specific duration of time, about one or two minutes per slide as a general rule of thumb, until you switch over to the next one. This gives your speaker time to exhaust what they have to say on the slide’s topic while giving your audience enough time to review its content. While we’re on the topic of slides: try to keep their content light. Busy slides distract from your speaker and your message.
#4: Make Audience Members Interact With Each Other
One great thing webinars can do is connect people with similar interests!
That’s why the biggest service you can render to your attendees is to facilitate them to interact with each other. You can do this by organizing them into private online groups while the webinar is going on, enabling the chat feature so they can send each other private messages or organize Twitter threads or hashtags for organic conversations.
#5: Q&A Sessions
Letting your audience ask you questions while the webinar is running is a great way to engage your attendees. While it may not be possible to answer every question ‘on the go,’ you can always build in Q&A sessions into the webinar format.
This is where you’d allow your audience to freely ask you questions of their choice, and reply straight away like you’re in a conversation with them. And what could be a better way to engage your audience other than a live conversation!
Wrapping it up
There are a million and one ways to engage an online audience during a webinar. The important thing to know is which ways would best suit both your brand and your audience. Through trial and error, and measuring your audience engagement, you’ll come up with the best approach for your unique business.