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10 tips to keep the attention of your webinar audience

stressed bad online meeting presentation cartoon

Mastery of technology has made people ruthless, me included. Beyond the trolls and keyboard warriors, people online have become more impatient and unforgiving on the web.

I once attended a Toastmasters club meeting (pre-pandemic) and when the presentations were about to start, the mic suddenly stopped working. 

The speaker tried to wrap the cord to tighten the connector, didn’t work. He also switched to a wireless one, but it was all in vain.

There were 15 minutes of dead air. The audience was patient.

In the end, he did his speech without a mic. His delivery was excellent. The technical problem even helped because we all kept quiet and made an effort to listen to him.

Fast forward to last week, I attended an online webinar for a kindergarten class. I smelled the host’s tension oozing through my earphones as his poorly designed deck was aggravated by his awful internet connection and low-quality audio.

I left the meeting within 5 minutes and decided to just check their website for the information I need (sorry, not sorry).

PowerPoint Presentation level 999999

Digital presentations have transformed into a new standard and presenters had to adjust to the new normal. I have been hosting and attending online meetings myself for the past 2 years, and online speakers are always on thin ice.

Their audiences are easily distracted, they are at the mercy of their internet provider’s speed and it takes a lot more practice to ace an online presentation.

Many of us are already used to the work-from-home set-up and, depending on your company’s communication tool of choice, you must be “technically” at ease right now.

But here is another challenge: how do you capture and keep the attention of your online audience with a PowerPoint design that’s fit for online meetings? Here are some tips.

Use the correct dimensions

You and your presentation will be seen on computer monitors and mobile devices. Having that in mind, it’s best to use the 16:9 aspect ratio to cover more space.

PowerPoint shifted to this size for presentations a few years back, following the trend of wide-everything.

Less is more

When people ask for a copy of your presentation, it means you’ve created a reading material and projected it. If you put too many words in your deck, you will be tempted to just read from it, wasting everyone’s time in the process.

Each slide must be significant and helpful to your presence. Give more information as you speak, and keep the deck as a visual aid.

Font and size matter

If you notice that you have to hunch over to be able to read your PowerPoint deck, the copy is too small. Select the font you’ll be using (and its size) with consideration.

For the content, use sans-serif typefaces with a minimum font size of 32 points. Avoid using full uppercase where possible.

Use infographics

Word walls overwhelm the audience. Instead of lengthy paragraphs, make use of illustrations. You can ask your design team to create an infographic for the data you need to present.

📌  TIP: Add your logo to the infographics so when viewers share it, your brand will have mileage.

Keep the length of slides to a minimum

In my experience, 30 slides are equal to 45 to 60 minutes of presentation time. But this can vary according to the time allotted for each slide. It’s best to practice days before the actual presentation.

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Since we are working digitally, here are some additional techniques that I use to prepare for any business online presentation:

Set the goals

Any presentation has a particular goal. It is essential to know what you want to achieve from your talk to also choose and design the slides wisely.

Simplify your deck

Each digital conferencing platform has a unique method of showing slides. Avoid technological difficulties by creating presentations with fewer (or no) videos and animations.

Have a tech run

Always be prepared for technical difficulties. Focus on what you can control.

Prior to the presentation, decide who could take from your team in case anything were to happen to the host – or to which platform should the audience transfer to keep the show going.

Connect with the audience

We’re all tired of listening to dull presentations, online or offline.

No matter how seasoned the presenter is, there will undoubtedly be low-energy portions in the presentation. The solution to this is conducting interactive games or activities to keep the enthusiasm up.

Include a call to action as the presentation ends

If you are presenting the products and services of your businesses, you might want to make an attractive offer at the end of our presentation. Emphasizing a CTA will prompt timely attention from our audience.

happy confident online meeting presentation cartoon

Confidence is key

An online audience is more challenging to capture, that’s why intense preparation is needed to execute an excellent presentation. They can be quickly distracted but also easier to please. 

With shareable content and well-designed visuals, you will be able to keep them interested.

There are many factors involved in a successful presentation and you have control over all of them: your confidence, the content, the design, and even the backup plans for technical difficulties. 

Own your presentation and deliver with passion. Your audience will appreciate it.