Five Tips For a Powerfully Engaging Webinar
According to a content marketing study, over 60% of marketers use webinars as an effective tool to generate leads and engage with customers. However, it takes a lot of preparation to host an interesting webinar and ensure that your audience gives you their undivided attention. Here are a few pointers that will help you create an engaging webinar.
1. Webinars are different from live training
Webinars are challenging because presenters cannot rely on body language and gestures to animate a presentation. Presenters cannot pick up on visual cues from the audience, or take unplanned breaks to address a question from students. It can be a little unsettling to rely on voice alone to reach out to people, and it is important to provide enough context to combat this. Consider introducing yourself with a picture so people can assign a face to your voice, and use multimedia to create a rich experience for participants.
2. Use multiple teaching aids
A short video or animation could illustrate your point, sharing your screen could demonstrate a concept clearly, or a downloadable checklist or questionnaire can encourage your audience to participate more. Use a variety of tools to complement the slides that make up your webinar. Practice voicing the content which accompanies your slides, record it, and play it back to yourself — to see if it sounds natural. Eliminate too many pauses, and convey more enthusiasm by modulating your voice from time to time.
3. Prepare a script beforehand
Even if you are an expert and know your subject matter in and out, the importance of a script cannot be overstated. Once you go live, it can be very difficult to sustain interest, if you do not have an engaging prepared script and exhaustive notes to consult. Having a pre-written script also helps ensure that you have just the right amount of content for the time on hand.
In a webinar, the slides are the centre-piece of attention. The script must add information which is not present on the slides, and not just repeat the information that is presented visually. For a powerful webinar, consider using anecdotes to make your point, use humour, ask thought-provoking questions, open up polls, and don’t just read off of the slides.
4. Avoid visual clutter
Presenters need to necessarily rely on slides during a webinar. Stick to a cohesive colour palette, and a couple well-chosen, readable fonts. The slides must be eye-catching, use a thematic template yet not look the same throughout. The audience will require visual cues to recognise that the slide or topic has changed. It is important to use images and call attention to the content on screen using squares, highlights, and circle information which is most relevant.
5. Change slides often
Resist the temptation to cram a slide with too much information. One slide must explain a singular point or concept effectively. Shorter slides, with little text, and interesting graphics are preferable. Because, unlike in a classroom presentation, where the workshop leader can talk and explain a slide for 2-3 minutes, a virtual presentation needs a slide change, every 30-60 seconds. This slide transition can come in the form of a section highlight, or annotation, or a move to a new slide, but a webinar calls for a much more dynamic style of communicating than a standard live presentation.
Plan for frequent section breaks, it can be useful to break up your webinar into 10- to 15-minute chunks, focused on one concept or topic at a time. These breaks can be used to incorporate a quick Q&A session, interact with your audience, share a live poll result, and make the session more interesting.
Reach out to us for guidance on creating powerfully engaging eLearning experiences and watch this space for more useful information on leveraging technology and teaching tools to improve your digital learning initiatives.
Preeti Prakash | Journalist