First impressions are important.
In the last few years, we have been on countless Zoom meetings, webinars, classes, and other online events. Tell me if this sounds familiar: you log in, you wait a few minutes for the stragglers to get there, and after some uncomfortable silence or a round of “Can everyone hear me?” the speaker dives in, and you can sit back…and get out your phone to play Wordle.
As the presenter, the last thing you want is for your audience to check out behind their computer screens. The best way to avoid this is to get the audience involved immediately, so they feel checked in and engaged. Those types of participatory events are the ones that stand out and make an impression.
An easy way to make a great first impression and get your audience involved is to start your presentation with an icebreaker activity. Below are 10 ideas on how to start your meeting off strong and leave your audience feeling excited and engaged.
- “What’s your favorite” An easy icebreaker to start is posing a question for the audience to answer. It can relate to the topic – “What’s your favorite word to use in an email subject line?” – or just be a fun conversation starter like, “What breakfast food is the most superior?”. While the answer is obviously bacon, letting your audience weigh in and discuss different merits will get the conversation going.
- Funny group photo The second idea is, to have everyone say “cheese!” Put the meeting in grid view, ask everyone to make a funny face or grab a furry friend, and “Alt+PrtScr” your way to a great picture you can send to everyone afterward.
- Virtual Background challenge If you are having the type of session where you can see everyone on screen, send out an email prompt beforehand letting everyone know to procure a virtual background of some sort. It could relate to the presentation topic, or it could be something fun like “Choose your favorite place in the world.” It will make for a good pre-session conversation.
- Word cloud contributions Inviting the audience to contribute to a Word Cloud is a great presentation opener. Ask a poll question – it could be fun, or it could be related to the concepts you cover, then put the responses together in a Word Cloud generator and present them on screen. You may be surprised by what you see.
- Memory game Ah, a childhood throwback. Show your audience a series of images and then hide them, and see who can chat in the correct answers. You can also modify it to help your audience retain information – start at the beginning of your presentation, and see who remembers again at the end.
- Two truths and a lie Tell your audience two truths and one lie about yourself, or the topic you are presenting, and then let your audience guess which one of the statements is a lie. It’s a great way for your audience to get to know you or to find out if they have been paying attention. 😀
- Build-a-story Want to get the creative juices flowing? Start an improvised story with a single line (e.g., Once upon a time, there was a princess stuck on a webinar.) and have each participant add one single line. You’ll all be laughing by the end!
- “Never have I ever..” Each participant holds up a hand to the camera and then asks a series of ‘never have I ever statements. For instance, “Never have I ever gone skydiving.” Anyone who has done it puts one finger down. Just remember to keep the statements audience-appropriate.
- Trivia Who doesn’t like trivia? Test your viewers’ knowledge of the webinar topic or something fun – like Marvel movies – with a trivia quiz. You can create your quiz with Kahoot or other free software.
- Guess who. This works best in a smaller group. Encourage your participants to submit a fun fact at the beginning of the session or beforehand, with a simple form. Then put the facts together and have everyone guess who said what.
Starting with one of these ideas can help your presentation stand out and leave a lasting impression on your audience. I hope you can use at least one of these ideas in your next webinar, meeting, or presentation! Find out how Digital Joy Engage can help you connect with your audience.