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  • Writer's pictureBeth Hernandez-Casey

Make Your Next Zoom Zing!

We’ve all been there: your Zoom presentation is getting drier by the minute. Everyone who’s bothered to turn their camera on is either discreetly checking their phone or pretending to listen as they do other work. You’ve lost the room and you just know an excruciating silence is waiting on the other side of that fateful inquiry, “are there any questions?"

A boring Zoom experience is tough but hey - it’s not your fault! You’re competing with an endless list of things vying for your audience’s attention: their families, pets, doorbell, dishes, social media...the days of tossing a fresh box of donuts onto the conference table and being rewarded with rapt attention are over. If you want to hold their focus, it’s time to get creative. Before you let those crickets get you down, check out a few strategies to encourage your participants to...well...participate.

Create a culture of participation

Be open with your attendees. Acknowledge early in the program that actively participating in a virtual event takes a little bravery, but they’ll get the most out of your event by joining in! People should leave feeling as though the event wouldn’t have been the same without them. Here are some ways to guide them out of participation anxiety:

  • Encourage everyone to turn on their cameras, but don’t be pushy. There are plenty of reasons they may not be able to turn on their camera so give one warm invitation then let them decide what to do.

  • Create branded virtual backgrounds they can customize and use during the event

  • Engage with participators and avoid shaming shy attendees

  • Kick-off with icebreakers!

Employ a variety of learning styles

Just like there are many love languages, there are many learning languages, too. To keep attendees engaged and able to retain the most information, incorporate elements that appeal to common learning styles.

  • Go the extra mile to give your slides visual appeal and make an infographic or two available for visual learners

  • Record your sessions and create mnemonics for auditory learners

  • Run a live Q&A session and create Breakout Rooms for linguistic learners

  • For kinesthetic learners, include an interactive element and toss a squeeze ball into your swag bags (more to come on swag bags!)

Pro tip: No matter what kind of learners are in attendance, the best practice is always to keep lectures short, sweet, and creative.

Don’t let them leave empty-handed

An audience should always leave an event better equipped for success than they were before they arrived. Be sure to provide attendees with at least one practical strategy or resource they can employ immediately to improve their daily experience. Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Make event materials accessible online

  • Share time management strategies

  • Teach quick mood-boosting techniques like power posing or grounding exercises

  • Provide free membership trials or toolkits

Don’t forget! Your virtual event should always include

  • A strong agenda that resonates with your target audience

  • 1:1 networking between attendees

Without a compelling agenda, you won’t have passionate attendees. Without attendee networking, you’re hosting a webinar—not an event. You can create some magical opportunities for attendees to connect using Zoom breakout rooms and some pre-selected discussion prompts.

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