5 Strategies to Increase Viewer Engagement on Your Next Presentation

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Capturing attention in a world full of distractions is hard.

Ask yourself this: if you aren’t presenting and are not on camera, can you get through a Zoom meeting or a webinar without checking your phone or doing other work?

Didn’t think so. And you are not alone.

Cognitive scientists believe that around the 10-minute mark is where an audience loses interest and stops paying attention, be it in person or online. So if the science isn’t on your side for a 60-minute webinar, how do you spice it up to keep your audience engaged, engrossed, and ready for more?

Make it interactive. And about them. And memorable.

To help you accomplish that, here are five strategies for increasing audience engagement and absolutely killing it on your next presentation.

  1. Plan consistent audience interaction

    • Remember that 10-minute thing, from the scientists? Keep that in mind as you are planning your presentation. Every 5-10 minutes, you need something to keep the audience’s attention from wandering to their phone. Questions, live polls, surveys, riddles, games – all of these tactics can help keep them at the moment.
  1. Encourage and incentivize social sharing

    • The phones in the hands of your audience can become your friend if you use social sharing wisely. If you plan social media interaction as part of your presentation, this can help engagement. Especially if you make it worth their while.
    • For instance, maybe you are asking your audience of HR professionals to share their best hiring advice on Twitter with a hashtag like #HotTipsFromHR. And the person who posts first or gets the most likes wins a Starbucks e-gift card. You then have a happy, caffeinated viewer who will remember your presentation.
  1. Use storytelling techniques

    • Our company tagline is “Everyone has a story.” And we firmly believe that! We also believe there are ways to tell it in a memorable, fun way. Here are a few classic storytelling techniques that could help:
      • Start with an icebreaker or personal anecdote, and connect it to your point.

        “In the third grade, I remember when…”

      • Pepper in humor.

        You don’t have to do a tight five, but it helps to build humor into your storytelling. If that isn’t your thing, humorous gifs or images can help too.

      • Create suspense.

        Start from the beginning and build, plop them in the middle of a story and explain how you got there, or start predictable and go somewhere unexpected.

      • End on a positive note.

        Wrap your presentation up with a positive, hopeful, or helpful message. Music and/or powerful visual elements can help drive a point home. “In the end, sales is about human connection. And I’m so happy to have connected with you today.”

  1. Show your face

    • Sorry, camera-shy folks: 90% of how we communicate is through non-verbal cues. If you are simply a disembodied voice on the screen, you might have trouble connecting with your audience and their attention is more likely to drift. The more you make yourself visible, the better. That’s not always possible depending on the style of presentation, but maybe breaking up the slides and turning your webcam back on you during your planned engagement breaks will help.
  1. Reinforce your message with visuals and animation

    • Simple rule: if you have to explain a slide, it’s probably not very good. Keep things simple, use consistent colors and fonts, and in general try to keep to “1 idea per slide”.
    • Fun visuals and purposeful animation can go a long way toward reinforcing your point. And if you can work music in, even better – listening to music activates areas of the brain associated with memory, reasoning, emotion, and reward.

If you take this advice and apply it to your next presentation, I want to hear about it! Email us about it at hello@digitaljoy.media. I hope these tips were helpful to you – now go and rock that webinar or digital event. Your (very engaged) audience will thank you for it.



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