Engaging a virtual audience can be a challenge, particularly when your audience can be easily lost to thoughts about errands to run, things to do and generally anything other than the topic at hand. Fortunately, this does not have to be the case. By utilizing well thought-out presentation techniques, you can successfully engage your audience.
Multiple topics, no goals and a scattered presentation are an effective way to lose your audience’s attention. Design your presentation with a clear topical focus and objective. By keeping the information focused, it can be presented in multiple ways for effective knowledge transfer and retention.
It’s not just how the material is designed and delivered; the presentation also needs to be engaging. (Remember the teacher that you had in high school that just droned on…and on…and on? That’s who you want to aspire not to be.) Enthusiasm is contagious; if you’re not excited about it, why would your audience be? And ask questions to encourage active participation and discussion.
Because your audience will be looking at a screen during the presentation, the content needs to be visually clear, yet interesting. PowerPoint presentations are one vehicle for information; they are easy to create and to be creative with. Large blocks of text are difficult to read; try bulleted lists instead. Use an image to illustrate a point, instead of words on screen. Multimedia such as videos can be added for additional visual interest. But be careful; there’s a fine line between interesting and overboard.
Get people excited so they’ll want to participate. Contests and games can both impart information as well as check for understanding. Play music to emphasize a point or for a silly “get loose” break. Don’t forget to laugh!
Recognition is also part of the fun. Use on-the-spot kudos to recognize your audience and remember that positive praise goes a long way.