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
- Get to know your audience
- Keep it short
- Use powerful visuals
- Make it interactive
- 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)
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.