7 Ways to Engage Your Audience When Speaking Online

Written by: Natasha Bazilevych, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

As we all know, virtual presentations are here to stay. And it’s not a secret simply showing slides or talking non-stop through your computer or phone screen is boring. You’ll put your audience to sleep in no time.

So, how do we make our online presentations, FB lives, or Zoom calls engaging? How do we make sure our listeners interact with us, enjoy our content, and don’t want to let us go at the end?

I’ve got 7 tips for you. You can use all of them or one of them, depending on the kind of your presentation. Let’s discuss each strategy in detail.

1. Start small. Ask a simple question.

It’s no secret you can’t ask somebody to marry you on the first date. That’s creepy. The same rule applies to presentations. You can’t ask somebody to answer a deep question before you warm up the audience, connect with them and build a rapport.

First, you’ve got to ask easy questions that require a one-word answer. Make it as simple for the audience as possible. Invite your listeners to drop an emoji if they’re on their phones.

I like a question that starts with: “On a scale from 1 to 10, how …” And then you can add anything from 'how is your day so far' to 'how great are your presentation skills’ to ‘how much do you like astrophysics?’ People just need to put a number in the chat. It’s fast and creates engagement.

Another simple request could be to ask for a show of hands. It’s easy for an audience and create interaction.

Of course, you’ve got to make these questions relevant to your topic or your goal.

2. Go Deep. Invite listeners to share experience.

As soon as you built a rapport, you’ve earned your right to go deeper with your audience. Now, you can ask them deeper questions that require reflection and expanded comments.

If your listeners are with you on Zoom or another platform, invite them to unmute themselves and share their opinion, experience, or stories. Again, the situation, your topic, and your objectives will dictate possibilities for interaction.

3. Create connections.

Connect your speech, your message to particular people in the audience.

You can prepare it in advance if you know you will be listening to you. Or be spontaneous and flexible, insert the names of people you see in front of you into your speech.

Refer to them, use them as an example, praise and compliment them. It will create a unique atmosphere and connection.

4. Tell a joke.

This one is probably the hardest. You need to know which joke is appropriate in which situation.

But if you can evoke laughter, that's a huge win.

Some even call humor a Holy Grail of Public Speaking.

This kind of interaction puts you in a position of influence. Why? Because as soon as you make somebody smile or laugh or experience any other positive emotion, they'll warm up to you and become much more open-minded.

5. Create a poll.

No matter what platform you’re using, there’s always an opportunity to create a questionnaire or a poll.

On some platforms, you’d have to do it in advance. Others, like Zoom, will allow you to put a poll on the screen for everyone to participate right away.

It’s a fantastic way to engage the audience and learn their opinion. You’re killing two birds with one stone. Use it as your marketing research and a way to connect with listeners.

6. Use breakout rooms for discussion.

Encouraging your listeners to discuss in groups what they’ve learned is a powerful way to engage them. They’ll reflect, share their opinions, bond with other participants, create new connections. It’s a win/win for both a speaker and a listener.

You have the ‘breakout room’ option on all popular platforms for online meetings. Make sure you get acquainted with its functionality before using it.

As soon as your audience is divided and all participants are in breakout rooms, you have an option to take a short break, or join different rooms to listen to discussions.

7. Play games with the audience.

Who doesn’t like FUN? Everybody does. So, help your listeners enjoy your speech even more by playing a game with them.

You can create a game related to your topic or search online. There are numerous resources with activities and games.

Be flexible and creative. If you find or remember a game you played at a party, modify it for an online presentation. Use your imagination.

Would you like to take your presentation skills to the next level? Ready to speak with power and reach your audacious business goals? Get your free video course here.

Follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and visit my website for more info!

Read more from Natasha!

Natasha Bazilevych, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Natasha Bazilevych is an international speaker and business trainer. She teaches business owners, top managers, and entrepreneurs to give powerful presentations and reach audacious goals. Natasha has been teaching business skills for 13 years, has two bachelor's degrees and an MBA. Her signature program, “Speak With Power,” is a unique experience after which each participant knows how to overcome fear, craft powerful messages and deliver them with confidence.



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