Liven Up Your Next Webinar – Part 2
More Tips on Audience Interaction
Use “Hand Raise” to Poll the Audience
As you go through your content, are there places where it would be helpful to know who cares about the topics? Consider asking people to use the “raise hand” feature to indicate their interest.
For example, with the TAG orientation program, there are a list of “Fun” events that the organization sponsors. They can ask attendees of the webinar to “raise their hand” if they like to golf, then reveal to the audience that one of TAG’s major educational fundraisers is a golf tournament called TAGit. And again for that human touch, they can add, “Hope to see you out there, Sarah, Stan and Elisha since you raised your hands!”
Show Them on the Screen
Sometimes with a webinar, you need to show people what to do with a piece of equipment or how to find certain information on a screen. Use the circling or arrow pointing functions available in most webinar systems to draw attention to the item you’re discussing.
While that may not be interaction per say, the action on the screen is movement, which give the audience a reason to pay attention. Plus it’s helpful, so the audience knows where to look and won’t miss what you have to say.
Copy and Paste Websites, Email Addresses, and Social Media Links in the Chat Window
At times, you may not want to use a handout, but you do have particular websites, email addresses and social media links that you want to share with audience members. Share that information in the chat window to make it easier for people to copy and paste for themselves.
You may have the information showing on your slide. But with most webinar software, audience members can’t copy and paste from the slide. But most systems do permit you to copy and paste from the chat window.
If you have complicated web addresses, email addresses and social media links, or if you have several different pieces of information to share, rather than typing them into the chat window, have a document opened on your computer and at the appropriate time, copy and paste the information into the chat box on the webinar software. Or better yet, have your moderator copy and paste the information in the chat window at the appropriate time so you don’t have to worry about fumbling around with copying and pasting.
Using the chat to share the information adds more interaction for your audience and provides them with valuable content. However, do give people a little time to copy and paste the material into a location on their computer before moving on to your next item. You want them interacting, but not so distracted that they miss the next segment and get annoyed.
Benefit from the Audience Interaction
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, by asking questions of your audience you will learn things that will help you and your organization in the future.
If you see trends, such as people asking for certain information that you’re not covering, well then you know you either need to address it in the webinar or offer another manner that your audience can get the information.
If you are curious about the demographics or your audience or their opinions on certain issues, you can gather that information as part of your webinar.
Related to this idea is the next one…
Ask Them What They Will Do Next
Just like in a training class where you want to get people thinking about what action they’ll take, you can do the same with the chat feature in the webinar.
Get people to tell you what was the most helpful and what they plan to do next with the information. Ask them what surprised them. Ask them to finish the sentence, “Something that is still unclear is ____.”
By asking for these responses you have the opportunity to see what the audience cares about and whether or not your message is hitting as you intended.
A Few Tips to Make Your Webinar Go Smoothly
If your material is especially complex use handouts as a way to help your audience through the webinar. You can email the handouts along with the invitation to the webinar. Some webinar software allows you to distribute the information through the software itself.
Remind people about the handout prior to the webinar and have a way to quickly redistribute the handout to people who don’t have it. Use the software if it has that functionality. Post the information on a website where audience members can download it. Preferably, have a moderator for your webinar who can take those questions separately while you focus on delivering the webinar to the larger audience.
Remind People Where to Find the Functions You’re Asking Them to Use
As you go through the interactions, like the polls or raising their hands, tell the people where to look. “It’s on the left side, above the names over to the left… sort of in middle… etc.”
Don’t assume people know where to find the functions within the webinar. Providing the coaching your audience needs so they know how to do what you’re asking them to do.
Practice Like You Do for Any Presentation
Just because the audience can’t see you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still practice.
Don’t read your script. Have a conversation with your audience about the content of your presentation.
Practice using the software as you will at the time of the webinar. Have a colleague practice being an attendee so you know how it will take for people to answer polls and for you to see the results.
Know where all the different tools within the webinar software are so you can find and use them when you need them.
Webinars can be interactive means to communicate information if you push yourself to think about how you can engage your audience.
Who knows, maybe some day TV shows will be taking lessons from you!
Does This Make Sense?
Will you apply these ideas to your next webinar? What tips would you add?
Join the discussion in the comments section below!