Is Your Webinar Audience Paying Attention?
So around these parts we talk (a LOT) about things like engagement…interaction…keeping your audience interested….with you. And those are the right conversations, of course, because what’s the point of a webinar without an audience? And if your audience isn’t with you, well, then there’s no point. But how do you know if they’re all in?
Is “attention monitoring” the answer? Short story, it’s a feature in some web conferencing software that tells you whether your webinar is at the forefront of your viewer’s desktop. Apart from any “Big Brother” reaction (mine), does this really tell you what you want to know? That I left your webinar at the forefront of my screen while I went to get a coffee? That your webinar is up on my laptop but I’m working on my mobile device? That an urgent IM popped up requiring my attention, but that your webinar is so compelling that even if I can’t get back to it I’ll be viewing it on demand? Yeah, you’re not getting that from a monitoring feature. So what do you do?
Step One: Since you’re a human being presenting to other human beings, review your content thoughtfully, for starters. Table stakes? Give them content they want and need. But do you have plenty of sound bites, compelling stories and relevant visuals to make it interesting? Or are you drowning them in your expertise served in 8 point font? Take the time to review honestly, and you’ll know if your presentation is worth paying attention to.
HINT: If everything is on the slide, the answer is usually NO.
Step Two: You’re a human being. Not every human being lives for the spotlight. Voices shake. Nerves show. “Ummm” gets said. Sometimes a lot. Practice doesn’t always make perfect, but the confidence it gives will make your presentation the best it can be.
HINT: Have a note card or two with your best sound bites/stories handy. If your nerves do kick in, your best material will be at the ready, minimizing your risk of resorting to reading the slides.
Step Three: Human beings love friendly faces. Even if you’re a born presenter, it’s HARD to do it in a vacuum. And if you’re sitting alone in your office presenting your webinar, that’s pretty much your reality. If you’re a joker, are they laughing? If you’re telling a story, does it resonate?
HINT: Have a friendly colleague sit across the desk for a little real-time feedback. (Of course you’re using your headset (always!) but do remind your colleague that you’re presenting live so s/he doesn’t create an audible distraction.)
Now here’s a question: if you knew that some noteworthy percentage of your audience wasn’t paying attention, what would you do differently?