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6 ways to engage your audience in a live online webinar

You’ve put hours, and hours… and then a few more hours… of work into creating top-notch content for your training course. You’re an expert, you know your stuff. You’ve delivered it thousands of times face-to-face. Delivering the same course via webinar should be an absolute cinch, right? 

Yeah, kind of. Good, relevant, expert content is the foundation of a great training course in any forum, but in a live online environment you’ve got other factors to contend with. You’re competing with a lot more distractions in this environment, and it’s much easier for your audience to switch their attention to something else, or even to get up and walk away. 

Here are our top tips to ensure your webinar is engaging enough that your audience isn’t tempted to scroll Instagram, make another cup of tea, or click that pesky little “x” in the top right hand corner of the tab….

  1. Be organised. Any technical difficulties, running late to your webinar because of connectivity issues, poor lighting or poor sound quality are not only going to disrupt the flow of your webinar, they’re going to make it a poor experience for your audience. Check out our blog post on Technical tips for hosting a webinar.
  2. Be professional. Dress and present yourself as if you were presenting in a face-to-face environment. Sit up nice and straight. Speak loudly, clearly and confidently. Remove, or limit, any distractions from your environment, such as pets, posters and photos in the background, and loud noises outside.
  3. Take regular breaks. Every hour or so, give your attendees a ten minute chance to grab a coffee or stretch their legs. This helps combat fatigue and keeps them, and you, feeling fresh.
  4. Host Q&A sessions. In a live classroom environment, your audience members are used to putting their hand up to ask a question. You can still encourage this, but you might also consider regularly pausing your presentation for a dedicated Q&A segment to encourage your audience to ask questions. Most webinar platforms allow you to focus in on particular attendees – as if the whole classroom was turned to give them their full attention.  
  5. Use polls. This is an awesome feature available with some of the leading webinar platforms, such as Zoom. Throughout your webinar, you can run polls asking questions relating to the topic you’ve talked about, to gauge how much your audience is paying attention and how much they’re learning. For example, you can run quiz polls on the topic of your webinar, or ask them on a scale of 1-10 how confident they’re feeling about their knowledge of the content in the presentation so far.
  6. Use the breakout room feature. Again, in some of the leading webinar platforms such as Zoom, you have the added bonus of a feature called “breakout rooms”. This allows you to organise your attendees into groups to discuss a topic, send the groups off into their own breakout rooms to discuss for 15 minutes or so, and then come back to share their collective thoughts and ideas.

Over to you! With these tips we’re sure you’ll be able to run an engaging webinar.

Need software to run it on? Check out Arlo’s remote training solution for training providers.

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