13 presentation engagement ideas for your next virtual event
Consistently I see posts and comments that it’s up to the virtual platform to build in engagement tools that keep an audience entertained, however in the research that actually talks to the participants, we find that when a conference is on, and the presentation are active, they are engaged by the content and the networking and games that are played, only serve as distractions from the content.
Additionally, a large number of respondents feel that these gimmicks only cheapen the experience and detract from the event itself, which leads to more attrition and lower return viewers to their event.
In this post I’m going to talk about 13 different engagement ideas that you can build into your event, that will not detract from the quality and entertainment value of your hybrid conference.
Table of Contents
Engage your audience by using a video of yourself or a presentation before the presentation
This is an easy way to engage your audience and it does not detract from the presentation. It also builds that personal connection with the speaker, which can only enhance engagement. If you do this, make sure that what they see on video or hear in audio matches up with what they will be seeing/hearing live.
Keep the presentation interactive with questions and polls
This not only engages your audience but also gives them a chance to contribute. You can even do this in the presentation itself, with questions that you have on presentation slides or through polling during live streams.
When designing your presentation and putting together the agenda, be sure that it includes time for networking and games as well so attendees are engaged by the presentation and the networking.
Make it personal by sharing what inspired you to do this presentation in the first place
This is a great presentation idea for an audience that wants to know more about the speaker. When you tell them what your presentation is all about, it will engage their curiosity and they’ll want to hear from you. It also makes your presentation more credible because this personal connection with the presenter can build trust in the content of what’s been presented.
Break up the information into smaller pieces so that people don't get overwhelmed or bored
If you present too much information at once to an audience, they may disengage from it. It’s a better idea to break the presentation down into smaller chunks so that people can retain and engage with what is being shared.
It also serves as a reminder for them if they want to return later or listen in shorter time intervals because there are chunks of presentation they can easily digest.
The following steps are to help you break down your presentation into smaller pieces so that it is engaging for the audience:
Make a list or organize on paper what different segments of information will be presented in each section; illustrate how many slides there will be per slide, with an average reading time per slide.
Create presentation slides for each of the sections, going through these steps:
(i) write your talking points on one or two lines per point;
(ii) write a title and subheadings at the top of your presentation slides that are related to what you will be presenting in each section;
(iii) create bullet points below the presentation slides that summarize what you will be presenting;
(iv) create a presentation title slide with your presentation’s name and date.
Use visuals like graphs, charts, or pictures to keep things interesting
Visuals are a great presentation idea because they allow the presenter to not only use their voice but also show what is being said. This helps get across visuals and ideas in an engaging way, which can be especially helpful for audiences who want more from presentations than just words on slides or live speakers.
A presentation that has lots of visual elements will keep people engaged with the presentation content as well as help build your credibility so your audience knows you’re knowledgeable about this topic and have done the research to back up what’s been presented.
Including images in presentations can increase cognitive engagement by 40%.
There are many different types of visuals that you could include like photos, graphs, charts, infographics, video clips- anything where it would work to better tell the story or narrative that you are delivering
Offer a downloadable PowerPoint or Keynote presentation for your audience
Many presentation ideas will be more engaging for your audience if they are able to access the presentation content afterwards. This is a great option because it’s easy for them and you can make sure that everything looks good on their screen, which saves time!
If someone wants to share or forward what was shared in the presentation with others, this would also provide an opportunity for them too- without having to worry about copyright laws as long as you mention that these presentations cannot be sold.
No matter who views it, giving people access to download the presentation creates engagement by allowing them to have something tangible from the presentation itself when all is said and done.
A few things you should consider before creating downloadable slides:
(i) create copies to share with your presentation attendees
(ii) create copies to post on your website, blog or social media pages
(iii) include the presentation title and date in a PDF that accompanies it so people know what’s inside
Create an interactive quiz or poll.
Getting real-time feedback from your audience will keep them engaged during your talk as you can ask direct questions of your audience to see if they are listening, but also to help guild how you are presenting the information.
You could start the presentation with a poll or quiz and then halfway through your presentation, take some time to answer the poll, give your insight or feedback from that information.
This will do two things, the first is to break up the presentation and kind of switch gears for a little bit, which refreshes the audience, especially if it’s a long presentation.
and the second gives you a way to talk with your audience rather than at them, and this makes the presentation feel far more personal to each viewer, rather than have them feel like a passive viewer.
Provide participants with the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation via Twitter, which you can answer in real-time
Giving the audience a chance to ask questions during your presentation is another way to keep them engaged. Sending out tweets and responding with what you’re talking about in real-time will help decrease any anxiety they may have about asking a question, which can be especially important if it’s an event where people are from different companies or backgrounds.
If this is something that would work for your presentation content, create some guidelines on how participants should tweet their questions at the presentation so all of these questions stay organized:
(i) use #questions as the hashtag when tweeting
(ii) do not include information like company name or department info because those things could lead back to someone who needs anonymity
Your Twitter handle (or designated person) should be the only information included with these questions.
Please note that you may need to have someone monitoring this on your presentation day so they can answer any question in time or queue them up for a presentation break etc.
This is still a great way to keep people engaged as it’s interactive, breaks things up and gives you an opportunity to engage directly with everyone who has tuned in to what you are presenting!
Include a poll at the end of the presentation and offer prizes for those who participate
Offering prizes at the end of your presentation could be an incentive or give more meaning to what has been presented if they have participated in this interactive quiz or poll and had their voice heard on-screen!
This can also help prevent any feeling of being talked down to from someone who might not feel like participating as much because participation was made optional.
Offer live-tweeting access during your presentation via Twitter
This is a really unique way to have those who couldn’t attend the presentation tune in and feel like they’re able to participate.
It can be extremely powerful for your presentation if you are trying to communicate how an event or presentation impacts others, which might not always be possible when you cannot physically see what’s happening on-screen.
Include something in your presentation content that says: “follow along with our live-tweeting” so people know this will happen as it may impact their decision of whether or not they want to register for the presentation!
Give away freebies like brochures, pens, stickers, etc., as an incentive to get people's contact information before they leave the presentation
Offering something that people can take with them as they leave the presentation is a great way to help capture their contact information, which will make it easier for you to get in touch later.
Giving away freebies like brochures, pens and stickers are all good options here because those things are low-cost but still carry value! It also gives your presentation content an opportunity to include these items so there’s less of a chance someone might forget or not know what exactly they’re getting when they arrive at the event!
Make sure that the video is dynamic and has some interesting elements to it.
A dynamic video is one that has interesting visual elements to it, and the lack of this is where the idea of Zoom fatigue has come from. A single static image of your face, that never changes is going to switch your viewers off faster than doing nothing at all.
There are a few things you can do to make it a little more visually stimulating,
(i) Lower thirds
(ii) Multiple camera angles.
(iii) Interesting video layouts.
(vi) Background on the video canvas that moves slightly.
(v) Switching from video to screen share and back again.
Do some training on presenting to a camera
Presenters need to have some skills when talking to a camera, even with years of presentation skills when on a stage in front of a crowd, talking to a camera can be much different.
Doing even a small amount of training with a short course can improve the quality of presentations that mean you will also have much higher engagement and interest in what you have to say.
If you’ve ever been to a virtual event, chances are that the presentations were boring and made your eyes glaze over. And while it may not be as easy to get people excited about an online presentation, there is still plenty of opportunity for speakers and organizers alike to make their content more engaging -and interactive- by following these simple tips.
So if you’re planning a hybrid event, talk to the team at Bettercast today! We can help ensure that your participants enjoy themselves and walk away with new knowledge they can apply in their day-to-day work lives.