Aside from the logistical side of finding an online venue and platform for a virtual conference, it is also important to be able to create an engaging and interactive presentation that people are interested in hearing and will talk about after the session is over. Combining strategies from the days of large in-person conferences and new strategies that maximize audience engagement can help to still give those phenomenal presentations that contribute to the effectiveness of your conference.
Build your toolbox
Many virtual conference venues, such as Zoom, have tools that can help to boost your engagement from the audience and create a more interactive setting which encourages the audience to participate. Some of these tools include audience reactions, hand raising feature, and the chat board. Each of these features allows for the speaker to continue their presentation without interruptions from the audience but can make up for some of the social cues that are lost when switching to a virtual format.
There are also helpful tools to integrate into your virtual conference to get the audience to participate with you, which can provide the speaker and organizers feedback into how the conference is actively going. For example, live polling can be used at the same time as the presentation, without the audience having to leave the call or conference to participate. The polling of the audience can be a great way to see how much your audience knows about the topic you are presenting while also helping the audience feel included in the conference like they would if it was in person.
You can count on the attention span of the audience being a little bit less than it would usually be. People are in their own homes or comfortable spaces, often with distractions. If you are using a PowerPoint presentation it is best to still stick to visual slides that aren’t filled with too many words and are easy to read. By keeping just the main points and a visual on each slide, your audience is more likely to pay attention and focus on the content you are saying.
Conferences being online now allows for a unique opportunity, record yourself using the camera and microphone you will be presenting with. This allows you to not only rehearse and hear your presentation so that you can alter and make changes to it, but it also allows you to see and hear yourself very similar to how the audience will. Record the presentation and make a check list for yourself on ideas and topics you had intentions of getting across to the audience. Ask yourself if this would be a presentation you would want to engage with and listen to, and maybe how you could make it more engaging to listen to.
Ready to find out more?
Eris Unleashed can help conference organizers integrate these tools and technologies to give speakers the highest potential for audience engagement. Click on the button to the right to find out more.