Jul 02. 2020

5 Tips for a More Engaging Online Presentation

We’ve all been there–you’re sitting through an online presentation and your mind is on everything BUT the content being presented.

You’re thinking about what’s for dinner. Or the movie you watched last night. Or the conversation you had with your spouse that morning. Despite the presenter’s best intention, they haven’t created an engaging online presentation. You and the rest of the audience tuned out long ago.

But if presenters spend just a bit of time and effort creating a more engaging online presentation, they can not only capture their audiences’ attention for longer, but also help make sure their message actually gets across.

So, want to make sure your audience is engaged during your next online presentation?

Here’s what to do.

5 Tips for a More Engaging Online Presentation

  1. Get to know your audience
  2. Keep it short
  3. Use powerful visuals
  4. Make it interactive
  5. Adjust as you go

Get to know your audience

The online presentation you give to a group of 15-year-old students is going to be very different from the one you give to a group of middle-aged people. At least, it should be.

Tailor your content to your audience ahead of time, and you’ll have a much easier time keeping them engaged.

If you’re presenting to your coworkers or your team, you likely already have an idea of their general demographics and interests. But in today’s remote work world, that’s not always the case. We encourage you to do what you can to foster connections between remote teams to help establish these relationships. More on that here.

But there are some cases when you’re presenting to a large group of people, perhaps at a conference, that you’ve never met or spoken to. Depending on the conference subject, you’ll have a good idea of where to start.

During your presentation, you can use integrated real-time polling and questions to get to know your audience more. You can give your audience the ability to ask questions, add comments, or answer your questions as you go. With this knowledge in hand, you can create a more personalized and engaging experience.

Keep your online presentation short

From the year 2000 to the year 2018, the average human attention span decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds, according to the information from one study. There’s much debate about how accurate this number is, but as most of us know, it doesn’t sound that far off. Keeping your attention on a single image for 12 seconds might be hard to do without letting your mind wander.

While a 4 second decrease might not sound like much, this can make a huge difference in slide length for your online presentations. Keeping your slides shorter and the information more compact and precise will go a long way in keeping your audience focused on what you’re presenting.

Now, what about the average attention span for the entire length of the presentation?

There’s a lot of information out there that says anything longer than 7 minutes and you’ll quickly start to lose your audience’s interest. But try as you might, it’s hard to make a presentation that short and still cover everything you need to.

So instead of focusing on a specific time length for your next presentation, pay more attention to the overall message and how it’s delivered.

Are there areas that are repetitive? Is there information that’s not directly relevant or useful? Look for any areas you can cut out. Basically, if something could be removed from the presentation without changing the overall message, chances are it should be cut out.

Use powerful visuals

Let this sink in: the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Not to mention, 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. With that in mind, the importance of using powerful visuals during your next online presentation can’t be overlooked!

Rather than loading each slide with copious amounts of text, try using vibrant graphics with fewer words. Further, make sure these visuals are changed regularly so your audience isn’t stuck staring at the same thing for too long.

By the way, with Swift Polling, we offer branding options so you can incorporate your brand visuals right into your presentation!

Make it interactive

When an online presentation is interactive, your audience will be substantially more engaged. If some level of participation is required, their attention span for the content will drastically increase.

There are all kinds of different ways to make your presentation interactive with Swift Polling, including:

  • Real-time SMS and web polling
  • Q&A periods, including open-ended formats
  • Gamification (this is an especially popular option in educational settings)
  • Quizzes

You can choose from one or more of these options depending on what suits your presentation best. Your audience will be eager to participate, and this also sparks conversation and promotes inclusivity.

Adjust as you go

One of the best things about getting real-time feedback during your online presentation is you can use it to adjust your content as you go. One example would be polling your audience to see which topics they’d like to learn more about, and focusing on those. You can also use polls and quizzes to test your audience. With that information in hand, you’ll quickly notice the areas you need to focus on during the rest of your presentation.

We can help make your next online presentation your best yet

Want to learn more about what Swift Polling can do for you? Take a look at the exciting features we offer here, or visit our FAQ page to learn more.



Jun 29. 2020

Fostering Connections Between Remote Teams

If you’re one of the many employees or businesses settling into the new norm of working remotely, you’re probably noticing a shift in how your remote teams communicate and connect. While working remotely can bring on many advantages such as more flexibility, less commute time, and better work-life balance, it also comes with certain challenges.

Challenges to working remotely

Creating connections between remote team members becomes increasingly difficult when employees are working in different places. They can be left feeling isolated or disconnected from the group without consistent efforts for connection. And they may have trouble with important communication because of it.

Not being able to see facial expressions or body language can also create a major disconnect in the ability to communicate effectively. These actions are a huge factor in how we communicate. Without them, true understanding of one another can get lost.

In order for your business to persevere, you will first need to persevere as a group.

Creating or maintaining connections between remote teams on a more personal level can help you to build a sense of community and team spirit — even from afar.

How to foster connections in remote teams

There are a few great ways to foster the important connection between remote teams and consistently remind them that you’re all in this together.

Shared Calendars

A shared calendar is a great way to inform others of what you have going on in your day. It lets them know when they might be able to speak with you should they need to.

Encourage employees to check in on each other and make time for conversations that aren’t related to work. By having access to each other’s calendars, remote teams are able to make these ‘water cooler moments’ spontaneous but convenient at the same time. Striking up a casual conversation with a team member is a great way to stay connected, but in a more natural way.

Use Video on Calls

Sometimes it’s easier to take a call from somewhere like the comfort of your own bed without your video on. While it’s great to be comfortable while working, having your video on during a conversation is an important part of communication for remote teams

The ability to see facial expressions and body language can add a lot to how you understand and interpret what someone is saying. It can improve your experience within a conversation and help you to feel a lot more connected.

Video calls can be somewhat awkward to start off. But they get a lot more comfortable over time as employees participate.

Encourage your employees to turn on their video and interact with one another.

Keep up with Regular Communication

Set meetings on a daily, weekly or monthly basis in order to keep up with regular team communication. While the consistency of your meetings and the subject matter discussed within them will vary, this time can be used in a number of ways to be effective.

Inform employees of happenings within the company and open up the floor for them to provide updates on what they are working on. This time could also serve as an opportunity for collaboration between team members, and help them to further develop connections between one another. A shared goal can bring on a lot of excitement and pride.

Let employees know that this is their time to share and interact with one another in terms of their work.

By the way, a great way to encourage communication within your team is with Q&A sessions. Here are our tips for effective employee Q&As to help you get better feedback.

Set up a Space for Non-Work-Related Conversations

Whether it be Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Skype, employees will appreciate having a space where they can talk to coworkers with a more casual approach.

Set up ice breaker questions like, “have you ever met anyone famous?” or “What was your first job?” These types of questions are more likely to stimulate conversation in remote teams and keep it flowing.

The typical question — “How was your weekend?” is more likely to bring your conversation to a dull end.

You might also want to set up specific channels in order for team members to share and relate to one another. One for pet photos, favorite jams, or the best spots for foodies, is bound to get the conversation going and help with making those important connections.

Fostering connections in remote teams is just one aspect of managing them. Click here for our other top tips for managing remote teams.

Schedule Activities for Remote Teams

Even though regular team activities like competitive bowling or team happy hour at the spot around the corner can’t happen in person, it’s still possible to put together team activities virtually. These activities can help remote teams get their minds off work while making some great connections with one another.

A scheduled virtual happy hour is a great way for team members to take a load off. At the same time, it helps build personal connections. Chat about your personal lives or set up a ‘drink of the week’ to discuss each other’s choices.

You could also plan activities like trivia, scavenger hunts, bingo, or even a team fitness challenge. The right activities will depend on your team, so be sure to pay attention to different personalities and their preferences. These genuine interactions will go a long way.

The adjustment to remote work life isn’t easy and creating a positive work culture for your team can take time. Look for opportunities to engage your remote teams and be sure to listen and respond to their needs.

The best type of remote team is one that is continuously open and encourages positivity in its culture.

Do you have any tips for fostering connections in remote teams we didn’t cover? Let me know in the comments below!


Jun 19. 2020

Effective Employee Q&A Sessions: How to Get Better Feedback

As we navigate remote work trends and other changes to how business is conducted, getting feedback from your employees is an invaluable resource. Your employees tend to have a front-row view in your organization. They can be the first to spot potential problems, obvious issues, and opportunities to improve. But what’s the best way to get this kind of feedback from your employees? Q&A sessions!

The benefits of Q&A sessions with employees

We know that employee feedback is more important than ever. We also know one of the best ways to get this feedback is through Q&A sessions.

Here’s why these question and answer periods are so beneficial:

  • They demonstrate your willingness to listen
  • They promote and foster communication and discourse within your organization (topical get-to-know-you questions are great for this!)
  • Q&A sessions can encourage employees to speak up when they might be reluctant to do so on their own
  • They help address issues within an organization before they become bigger problems
  • With anonymity options, employees are even more likely to offer honest feedback

Answering employees’ questions

At Swift, another one of our favorite things about Q&A sessions is their ability to work both ways. Not only can you ask your employees questions and get real-time feedback, but it can be structured so you’re the one answering questions instead!

Maybe your employees have questions about upcoming changes, current programs, work structure, or any number of things that play a role in how a business operates.

But with designated question and answer sessions where your team is given the go-ahead to ask about the issues they’re most concerned with, you’re giving them the opportunity to speak up, be heard, and get the answers they’re looking for.

Getting better feedback during Q&A sessions with employees

Keep in mind, not just any Q&A session will do. For a question and answer period to be successful, it needs these 5 things:

Your “why”

Before you set out on planning a Q&A period with employees, consider why you’re doing so. We covered the benefits of these sessions, but which ones speak to you? What are you hoping to get from this event? With that in mind, you can create a more effective Q&A session with the type of feedback you’re hoping for.

A list of questions

Once you’ve established your “why,” you can create a list of questions in line with that goal. A list of 5–10 is a great place to start.

Here are some examples of questions often used in this format:

  • This or that questions: “Would you prefer to work one less hour per day or have two paid days off each month?”
  • Yes or no questions: “Do you feel like this organization supports your professional development?”
  • Open-ended questions: “What is your most recent professional success?”
  • Scale questions: “On a scale of 1–10, how satisfied are you with your current position?”

Then, you can go ahead and use this information to improve and make changes wherever possible.

A time limit

We’ve all been there: you’re stuck in a never-ending meeting and itching to move on to the rest of your day. As these meetings go on, we become less engaged and interested in whatever’s being discussed. If you’re the meeting host, you could start to notice lots of fidgeting, stretching, yawning, disinterest, and disengagement.

In fact, your audiences’ attention span starts to drop off within 7–10 minutes, according to multiple studies.

To keep your meetings engaging and effective, setting a time limit is crucial. Not only that, but actually sticking to this time limit demonstrates to your team that you respect their time.

One way to help you stick to this time limit is showing up prepared. Having your questions ready, your technology set up, and a clear goal in mind for the meeting.

An anonymity option

If your employees are nervous to voice their honest opinion, you have no hope of receiving effective feedback. This is where an anonymity function in Q&A sessions comes in handy!

With Swift by ExciteM, anonymous open-ended questions are supported through web/online voting. Although the SMS medium exposes audience phone numbers when they submit open-ended responses, SMS voting is anonymous for the multiple-choice polling.

That brings us to our final must-have for an effective employee question and answer period:

The right tools

With most of us working from home right now, technology that facilitates more effective remote work is more important than ever! If you’re hosting a Q&A session, you need reliable, fast, and simple tools to help you get the job done.

By the way, you won’t want to miss our top tips for successfully managing a remote team. Check them out here.

Our live polling software lets you ask your audience questions and display the results in real-time.

With the ability to text questions or comments and the ability to moderate questions as you go, you can engage everyone in the room and get more accurate feedback.

Here’s how Swift by ExciteM works:

Create: Create any number of polls and then activate the one you want your team to vote on using our user-friendly dashboard.

Present: Present your poll on any screen and let your employees vote by text or online.

Get Results: Provide real-time updated results from within your presentation and spark a fully inclusive conversation. You can use these results to improve employee satisfaction and the overall success of your organization.

Better Q&A sessions with Swift by ExciteM

So, are you ready to get started? Create your first poll with Swift by ExciteM for FREE.

Swift Polling features a free plan which can be used to try all of the features completely for free. The free plan includes 150 responses. This makes it a good fit for small classrooms, meetings, and many other formats.

With Swift Polling, effective employee Q&A sessions are just a few clicks away.

Click here to sign up, or check out our FAQ to find out more!


Jun 18. 2020

SWIFT Polling Newsletter - 15.06.2020

Welcome To The New Swift!

At Swift, our goal has always been to provide you with the tools and resources to effectively engage, interact and excite your audience.

To better serve the needs of our diverse customers, we have released a massive upgrade to the Swift platform.

– Redoing our entire user dashboard

– Optimizing our user experience

– Delivering a ton of new features

– An all-in-one remote events solution (registration, video, audience engagement, etc.)

To make your job as a presenter, marketer or event co-ordinator that much easier. Take a look at what we’ve just released!

Audience Q&A 🙋

Collect questions and feedback as you engage with your audience.

Moderation 👍

Approve feedback and questions before they go live in your presentation or on your screen.

Social Upvote ✅

Give the audience the ability to choose which question you should answer.

Profanity Filter 🤬

We take care of filtering out all the troublemakers in the audience.

Anonymous Feedback or Open Participation ❓

Your audience can remain anonymous or not. Set up your event exactly how you’d like it to run.

Custom Designs & Backgrounds 🖼️

Level-up your web polling with a custom branded template, graphic or design.

Remote Event Streaming & Facilitation 🎥

If you’re running remote events, we’ve got you covered. User registration, UHD video streaming and audience participation — we do it all.

Whatever you’re trying to achieve with your presentation, we’ve got you covered.

If you want to understand how some of these new features work, don’t hesitate to reply back to this email and we’ll get someone to contact you in under 24 hours or less.

▶️Learn more

Swift Polling

Create trivia, quizzes, polls through our simple user dashboard, allowing you to create engagement on the fly. Present with a single click. Collect responses on any second screen or through social media (facebook & twitter), web, calling in, text. Wherever you choose to launch your poll (one sport, or all of them), you’ll see all the data and answers come in real-time.

▶️Learn More

Swift Events

With Swift events, we enable you to take your events remote, giving you the full power of audience engagement and presentation tools that you would have in front of a room of people, virtually.

▶️Learn More

Custom Solutions

Customize the look and feel of your entire experience from A-Z. Swift for Enterprise is effective, efficient and used by some of the largest brands and media companies on live TV (NBC, FOX,…) or major live events (Emmys, Golden Globe,…).

▶️Learn More


Jun 15. 2020

Managing Remote Teams: Our Top Tips for Success

Remote work isn’t just a trend right now — for many of us, it’s a necessity. And if you’re tasked with managing remote teams, you’re likely familiar with the particular challenges that come along with it. Read more…