So, you’re planning to host a webinar, congrats! You’ve prepared your material well, practiced your talking points, and set up the space around you to present yourself well on camera. But despite all that preparation have you considered how to make interactive webinars and how to keep your audience engaged throughout your webinar?
12 tips to make a webinar interactive - full guide
Create better titles
Remember that titles are key here – your title should short, informative and snappy. The title is also one of the first things that you should think of in regard to your interactive webinars – it’s the first thing that catches people’s attention and attracts your potential audience. Make sure that it’s a memorable title, and when people see the name of the webinar pop up in their inbox, they’ll remember what it is, even if they signed up for it weeks ago.
Use content you have
Many webinar software’s have built-in features that help the host engage with their attendees and make interactive webinars. Use the tools offered by the software you’re using to your advantage, software’s can offer whiteboards, polls, and tests, breakout rooms, etc. For example, capture attention with the help of a whiteboard. A whiteboard feature can be used to help drive a point home as a visual aid, or it can simply assist note taking during your webinar. Breakout rooms can be useful for dividing your participants and letting them interact with each other or work together to resolve a task you many give them
If you’re using webinar software for the first time, it could be worth sitting down and getting to know what you’re working with before going live. That way you won’t be fumbling around during your webinar and risk losing the interest of your participants, or worse, coming off as unprofessional.
Remember to be open and responsive to your participants, running through your presentation without stopping to let people have a moment to catch up to you or ask questions can quickly make them lose interest.
Design appealing content
Remember how in school some teachers seemed to magically put students to sleep, and others were able to hold attention and interest so well that no one wanted to leave the class even when it was already over? We’re sure that when leading your webinar, you would want to remind people of the latter teacher. The key ingredient to keeping all those students engaged and make interactive webinars is well prepared content and an infectious passion for their subject.
Keep people engaged in your webinar by providing them with information that you have prepared in a way that presents it as clearly as possible, and in a way that is captivating and leaves your attendees wanting more.
To help further your content use tools that you have, add a relevant video. Videos are easy to work into your webinar and engage people’s attention very well (remember the excitement in elementary school when the teacher would wheel a TV into the classroom?). A study performed by HubSpot in 2018 found that 54% of consumers want to see more video content, specifically from a brand or company they support. Another point from this study is that 62% of consumers watch video content thoroughly, and don’t just skim through it. You can easily embed the video into your presentation or into your slides, so no excuses here!
Use other presentation software
Remember that you don’t need to rely on just yourself, your camera and your brain. You can easily create and integrate PowerPoint slides or Prezi presentation into your interactive webinars. Use it as a support tool, and if you craft your slides well, they will be a strong additional tool for keeping your attendee’s attention. Just remember to keep your slides minimal, don’t add too much text or too many images on one slide – balance is key!
Pick the right timing
Make sure that you give your presentation the right amount of time to play out – don’t go over or under the time limit you set for yourself. If you plan to play a video or have a Q&A session, make sure to work it into your webinar timeline.
Humans are natural born storytellers. Remember sitting with rapt attention as a child, listening to your parents or grandparents as they spun stories? While your audience maybe doesn’t expect you to tell stories of knights in shining armor, or of dungeons and dragons, throwing in a small story or personal anecdote here and there (that relates to your subject) can re-engage your attendees if you’ve lost them. So this tip can also make interactive webinars even... more interactive! Just remember to keep anecdotes work appropriate and professional!
Run tests and polls
Conduct tests or interactive live polling to better engage your participants, test their knowledge or gather opinions about your interactive webinars. You can announce at the beginning of your webinar that there will be a short quiz at the end of your presentation. As people generally want to do well on tests, this can be an easy way to make sure that your attendees will be paying attention to you. Be sure to also ask your attendees questions and check in with them throughout your webinar to make sure that they’re still on the same page as you. At the end of your webinar be sure to gather some feedback to see what was done well and what can be improved in future.
Use icebreaker questions
Maybe start your webinar by asking an icebreaker question to get everyone engaged and to put them at ease. Think about asking a question that relates to the subject of your interactive webinars, or perhaps something completely unrelated but that will get your attendees’ brains going and ready to engage with you.
A work specific ice breaker question be “What is a unique skill you bring to your job?” or “What is one work related goal you’d like to achieve in the next five years?”. Some good general ice breakers can be: “If you were a superhero, what superpower would you wish you had and why?” or “If money were not a consideration, how would you spend your time?”. Feel free to come up with your own questions or variations! Read out a few of the responses you receive from your participants to show that you hear them and are ready to connect with them. However, remember that these should only serve as small breaks, and not take up more than a minute or two.
Add surprise elements
To keep your users engaged during your webinar, sprinkling a few surprises throughout your webinar can go a long way, to transform boring webinars into interactive webinars. A surprise or incentive can include bringing a guest speaker onboard, doing a small raffle for a prize that’s within your budget, or maybe a free ticket to your next webinar if you’re hosting a paid event. If you’re planning to do a raffle, make sure to announce it at the beginning of your webinar to ensure that participants will stick around till the end.
Engage your audience
Give your webinars an edge through reinforcing your ideas by talking to and collaborating with your audience during your webinar. This can easily be done with the help of individual chats or by letting your attendees speak up and interact with one another. The more opportunities that people have to interact, the more engaging and interesting your seminar will be. Breakout rooms work great for this purpose! Let your attendees have the chance to ask questions and make sure that if you don’t answer them immediately you have some time at the end of your webinar reserved specifically for a Q&A session. Make sure that your attendees feel like you’re listening to them and that they feel heard – it’ll keep them coming back for the next webinar!
Keep engagement levels high
Researchers have said that the human brain can concentrate on a given task for 20 minutes at a time, after that time attention begins to wander. Treat the content in this article as a toolbox and take certain tools out when you need them. If you sense that your attendees’ minds are drifting toward what they want for dinner, reel them back in by throwing in a story or a poll to keep them engaged. Its best to plan ahead by working these tools in throughout your webinar and considering how much time you want to devote to each one.
Always be prepared!
Prepare for your interactive webinars ahead of time, and we’re not just talking about making an outline of your talking points (but by all means do that too!). Prepare a technical backup just in case your microphone or webcam fail, make sure your laptop is plugged in and working well. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best!
Remember that you don’t need to use all of these tools at once, but we do hope that they give you a good foundation to create your interactive webinars. Good luck and happy webinaring!