Engaging virtual attendees

Presenting to live audience vs virtual audience can be very different and will have different challenges. Seasoned presenters or keynote speakers maybe very comfortable with the live audience and the live response but it is not the same in the virtual environment.

Presenters need to be more engaging on the virtual scenario and here are some features either already available on most webinar platforms or available to integrate into the presentation deck.

Crowdsource for topics of interest

Start engaging your audience before the event by setting up polls to understand your audience better and it is a fantastic way to curate or crowdsource for topics of interest from the audience. This will help the presenter to shape their presentation so that it’s more relevant or interesting to the majority of the crowd.

Another good example is to get the audience to vote for the case study that they want to hear from the keynote speaker. Let the audience feel that they are part of the event and they had the privilege to shape the content.

Connecting with the audience

Facilitator or moderator of the virtual event plays a very important role. I personally find that it is important to set the stage for the speaker by connecting with the audience through a simple get-to-know-you poll or word cloud. This is also a very good opportunity to introduce the feature of the poll and Q&A available throughout the event.

Several engagement tools which are easy to use includes Slido, Mentimeter and Pigeonhole Live.

Getting live response from virtual audience

I feel it is important that the presenter or speaker can continue to engage with the audience throughout his/her session and it is never the same for the presenter to get a live response from the virtual audience. Responses from the virtual audience can also help to energise the presenter.

How can we get live responses from virtual audience?

  1. Most of the webinar platforms come with Polling features, make use of the available features to get the audience to response – to see if they understand what was presented the last 10 minutes or more examples needed before moving to the next point.
  2. You can also opt to get the audience opinion before a case has been presented so that you can show a before and after opinion or the opinion shift.
  3. Allow the audience to use the live chat feature to connect with other audiences. The live chat feature can also be used during the presentation to get quick responses without having to set up a poll. Example, type “1” in the chatbox if you agree with the last point.
  4. Gamify the experience with quizzes using available tools like Mentimeter or Kahoot.
  5. Q&A is important at the end of the session, and more effective if facilitated by a moderator.

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