Remember the time you were sitting in the university lecture about staying focused?
The hall was full of students, all attentively listening to the energetic instructor. He really knew what he was talking about — or at least it seemed so.
Before you knew it, your friend was nudging you back from slumber into the hall, and only 10 minutes had passed.
Listening to an important lecture and trying to keep yourself awake is probably not a winning combination.
The bright side of this type of memory: experience is golden. At least now you know that is not the experience you want for your own webinar attendees.
Much time and effort go into creating interesting webinars. The process involves content creation, organizing slides and working on your delivery.
Unfortunately, of those registering, only between 35% and 45% actually report attending webinars.
Even though you know the topic is worthy of hosting a webinar around, the question remains: how do you keep the audience feel connected throughout the presentation?
Use our guide below to understand everything you need to make your next webinar unforgettable.
1. Involve the audience before the webinar
Make the audience excited for the webinar. Write a blog on the topic a few days prior. Tweet to a hashtag for the event. Arrange interesting giveaways. You can even create ads for event promotion.
It is worth nothing that about 29% of attendees won’t register for your presentation until the day of the event itself. However, as many as 17% of your attendees will probably sign up more than 15 days before the big day.
Make the most of the time before the webinar. Connect with audience beforehand and lead them to the event.
2. Make it pretty
Did you know that only about 15% people surveyed agreed that the slideshows and other visuals were engaging?
Your audience will be more interested if they have a good view. Make your slide deck visually appealing.
In order to do this, you can add infographics, charts and graphs. Avoid long paragraphs and stick to short sentences on the slides.
There are also many high-tech tools that can help you make beautiful presentations. If you aren’t interested in PowerPoint, you may want to look at Canva, Prezi or Wideo.
3. Utilize animations
Instead of using text to define processes and explain phenomena, use graphics and videos. A recent survey showed that 50% executives prefer video over text.
You can do this either by hiring animators to design and create short, animated clips, or you can make them yourself by using online tools.
You can even create simulations. Walk-through simulations can help the audience feel a part of the environment.
4. Stay current and relevant
Make an agenda of the topics for discussion and keep your webinar running on time.
According to a research on webinars, 38% of attendees cited relevant and interesting content as the thing they engage with the most.
Thoroughly research resources and abandon old sources of information — unless there is history involved.
You also need to be meticulous in the facts and figures. Include the latest, most relevant trends.
Talk about the next big thing and what is going to happen around the corner; make it clear how your topic of presentation will add to this.
This may help you audience feel ahead of their time and even feel better about themselves.
5. Invite speakers
A one man show throughout the presentation can make you tired and the audience bored.
Invite people that have information to offer to speak at the webinar, such as industry experts, motivational speakers or public figures.
According to a survey, about 15% of those surveyed cited interactions between speakers and attendees as the element that keeps them connected to a webinar.
You can even twist the presentation into a discussion between the speakers. This will highlight various points of view on the same topics.
6. Integrate discussions
You may be running the webinar and your speakers can enlighten the audience with their expert ideas — but don’t let the audience only be the listeners. Make them feel that the webinar is about them. Encourage them to ask questions and join the discussion.
According to research, 92% of webinar attendees want a live Q&A session at the end of a webinar.
This can also lead the audience to bring up a topic themselves, starting a new wave of discussion and making the webinar even more engaging.
7. Have a moderator
Audience-speaker interactions can be worthwhile, but they can also go off track.
At times, going off track can reach extreme levels, incurring adverse effects.
For this reason, it is useful to have a host or moderator manage the discussions and the general flow of the presentation.
The host can introduce the speakers and can put forth questions from the Q&A sessions and conclude the event.
Off-topic questions or potential negative discussions can also be deterred immediately by the host. without offending the audience or the speakers.
8. Use surprise to your advantage
Do not under-estimate the element of surprise. Research shows that surprises can intensify emotions by about 400%.
Keep surprising your audience and they’ll be glued to the presentation anticipating what’s next.
For example, invite a celebrity or influential person. Don’t announce their presence until the webinar starts. Call them out when the audience least expects it.
9. Include interactive activities
Making your webinar interactive can also mean using activities such as polls to connect with the audience. For example, ask the audience to vote for the speaker that they agree with or the recent trend they are most likely to follow.
You can even conduct quizzes or spontaneous, short games to keep the audience involved.
Better yet, announce giveaways at the end of such events. For example, prizes can be given to the top scorers or the first few that logged into the webinar.
10. Utilize technology
Instead of using multiple media sand switching between them throughout the webinar, use a single reliable platform to host your webinar.
Online task management software can be useful to this effect.
A study showed that about two-thirds of companies communicate using project management software. Companies need to cater to multiple interactions at the same time: between clients, teams and other companies.
The same can be applied to a webinar, albeit on a smaller scale. Webinars cater to communication between multiple sources with a large number of people.
Task management tools can help schedule the times for speaker discussions, interactive events and prepare for potential queries.
You can also make use of a task management application to arrange pre-webinar meetings, define the agenda and instantaneously exchange information.
A well-organized webinar can really help reach to audiences and keep them connected throughout.
Have you hosted a webinar? What tips do you keep in mind to make your webinars engaging? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.