February 9, 2012 by Jeff Hurt
Our time is valuable.
Many of us see our time as money, a resource that we don’t want to waste.
Asking people to commit 30-, 45- or even 60-minutes of their time to attend your Webinar is asking a lot. It’s critical that your digital event provide tremendous value and ROI or you’ll lose your attendees’ trust.
As digital event presenter, it’s your responsibility to make sure that everyone that participates succeeds. You need to provide enough direction and instruction so that your remote attendees can prepare and participate enthusiastically.
Before the event, make sure that marketing materials clearly articulate what is expected of your audience. You’ll want to help them understand that they have an important role to play in the experience. Encourage them to “own the role” just as a presenter would own the stage or a singer would own the concert hall.
How do you do this? Send the participants a specific email after they have registered that invites them to be more involved than just passive listening. Let them know that the best way to make the digital event a success is summed up in one word: participate.
Let your remote audience know both before and at the start of the Webinar the importance of their participation.
Participate is a verb. It involves some type of action. The synonyms for participate include contribute, chip in, involve yourself, partake, play a part and share. Let your remote attendees know that the more they participate in the meeting, the more they will get out of it.
How can they participate?
They can be present. Fully engaged. Listen. Think and most importantly, share their comments via the text chat.
Encourage them to use the available tools to communicate comments, feelings, attitudes, thoughts and questions. Entice them to respond to polls, surveys and questions as well as provide feedback.
Invite them to click away from the presentation if the experience is not meeting their needs. If they stay connected, encourage them to give their undivided attention and above all, to participate!
If during the Webinar your audience is not using the chat feature or responding to polls, prod them into participating.
Use the attendee feature to call out some names directly and ask them to respond. Tell them you’re going to give them a few moments to get those fingers typing. Then hum the Jeopardy theme song to add some humor.
When using a digital elbow to get people to participate, be careful not to come across as demanding. You don’t want to create more stress or fear. Gently nudge them to do it. This will also keep your audience alert.
As people respond, praise them. Thank them and add some color commentary. Give them the equivalent of a head nod with a “Yes,” or “Me too,” or “Yep, I’ve felt that way.”
Helping your remote participants prepare for your digital event will lead to a higher level of accomplishment and enjoyment. It also results in a lower level of stress and frustration for all of those involved.
What are some other tips you’ve used or seen presenters use to get a remote audience to participate? What communication tools should your digital event platform employ so audiences can participate?
Filed Under: Hybrid & Virtual, Speaker Coaching
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