If it’s your first time to conduct an interactive web conference, it can feel incredibly intimidating thinking about how you’re going to get the attention of so many people, much less keep it. But it doesn’t have to be such a frightening prospect, especially once you’ve gotten the hang of it.
Let’s discuss what you can do to keep your audience engaged during an online video conference.
Smile and Keep Eye Contact with Your Audience
Even if you aren’t looking at your viewers face-to-face, you’re trying to make it feel like you’re right there with them despite the fact that they’re just watching you on a screen. Though you can’t necessarily look directly into your audience’s eyes due to the nature of interactive online conferences, you can simulate the effect quite easily. All you have to do is to look directly into your web camera’s lens instead of staring at your screen, and you’ll be able to make it look like you’re making eye contact with your viewers, according to Inc.
You may want to record a video of yourself speaking in order to see if you’re looking away from the camera too often. Better yet, call up a friend online so that he or she can tell you on the spot if you’re not looking into the camera enough.
Use Professional Language and Gestures
While there is certainly a niche market for people who have strong and somewhat controversial personalities, the best way to retain your viewers during your online conference is to be as professional as possible. Thus, if you have a habit of cursing regularly, you’re going to have to practice until you get rid of that bad habit.
At the same time, though, you’ll have to master the art of body language. Smile at your viewers a lot, but not so much that you’ll start to make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t cross your arms or turn away from your audience or you’ll make them feel like you don’t want to talk to them at all.
Pick the Right Words to Get Your Point Across
Sure, you may look charming, having mastered body language all while wearing a professional outfit. But if you aren’t saying the right words, your audience still won’t care no matter how hard you try to convince them about your idea. So take some time to sit down and create an outline of what you want to say during your interactive conference. What’s your main idea? What are some things that will support this main idea? What is your expected audience like? What sort of voice or tone do they prefer? Once you’ve gotten this written down, you’ll have a better idea of what vocabulary you should use to make a connection with your viewers.
Remember: you don’t necessarily need to use incredibly complicated words in order to look smart. It’s how you use simple words to translate complex ideas into a way that’s easy to digest that will impress your audience.
Use Visual Aids, Whenever Appropriate
Most systems for cloud-based enterprise video meetings such as BlueJeans now come with a feature that allow you to pull up documents on the fly and present them to your audience. Thus, whenever possible, try displaying a simple but powerful visual image to further prove your point. A recent trend has been transforming information into colorful graphics, resulting in images that are referred to as “infographics.” You could easily make one of your own using a variety of free or reasonably-priced apps out on the market today.
If you want to go a little old-school, though, there’s no harm in actually using a real-life whiteboard and writing on it as you go. Just make sure you point your video camera toward it, and that your internet connection and camera quality is high enough that everyone can actually see what you’re writing.
Don’t Forget to Get Your Audience Involved
Don’t just jump straight into the agenda. There’s a reason why you chose to hold an interactive video conference instead of just recording the whole thing, after all. Make sure that you give your viewers the opportunity to ask questions about your discussion whenever possible. You might even want to schedule a few minutes after your talk as an official Q&A session, letting everybody know in advance so they can prepare their questions as you speak. Even better, you can encourage them to prepare their questions before the meeting even begins, according to Inc. You can go even further by inviting a guest speaker to your online event and interviewing him or her. Better yet, why not include your guest speaker in your Q&A session, too?
If you follow this guide, you’ll be sure to keep them hooked from start to finish. But don’t cram all of that hard work on the night before the presentation yourself. Success comes from being well prepared, so start looking into all of these weeks ahead of schedule. You and your viewers will be glad you did.