How to keep your audience active and engaged in an online presentation

You are in charge of a large project that needs the support of many people. It would be straightforward to inspire and engage them if they were all in an office, but, as is often the case today, they are spread across the country and in the comfort of their homes.

Instead of connecting individually with each person, you decide to set up an online presentation using video conferencing, so that everyone can collaboratively hear the same details simultaneously.

online presentationYou want to make it an effective and efficient process and get it right the first time, so here are some important presentation tips that will effectively help you in your journey. 

Be the best you can be

It would be best if you had a good night’s sleep, a calm voice, and a balanced meal. Also, make a cup of tea or something that makes you glow and high on energy when presenting online. Participants can see when you are not well-rested, malnourished, low on energy, when you are in a hurry, and when your voice is weary. We can both agree that it wouldn’t be nice if they noticed these things.

Leverage your voice

When you eliminate the physical component from your presentation, your voice takes on a lot more weight. A monotonous, unclear, or difficult to hear the voice is amplified in the virtual world. As the primary communication tool, you need to make sure that you are using the best voice possible.

Start by recording and analyzing your strengths and weaknesses, then move on to the topic. There are lots of tips online on how to improve various speech problems. At the very least, do a few simple warm-up exercises before the presentation. As a great vocal artist, your money is where your mouth is, so don’t treat it lightly.

Embrace the pause 

Under the guise of invisibility, the online audience can be very passive. As a result, presenters tend to engage in long monologues, which only discourage participation and encourage disconnection. Get their undivided attention with the pause.

This can be a great tool for allowing your audience to detail what you said, ask questions, or comment. There are other strategic uses for the break. Pausing before revealing something important can generate expectations, while pausing at the end of a sentence, can reinforce a key point.

Start on time

Between connection and connectivity issues, arrival times are rarely consistent among online audiences. As a host, how do you avoid the frustration of people who arrive on time without penalizing those who arrive late?

Here’s a tip: you have two options! The first being a “soft” opening, designed to engage the audience without revealing too much.

For example, a survey that your on-time audience can respond to promptly, which leads to your topic. Whatever your soft opening strategy is, make sure it is interesting, relevant, and non-revealing for the audience to understand the topic.

The second is a “hard opening,” reserved only for when everyone is present. This double start is a bit more tiring, but it’s worth thanking everyone for their patience.


To keep your audience interested, you need to create some interaction in the presentation. With average human attention of around 5 minutes, sporadic attempts at interaction will not be enough.

Get your audience involved before they fall into the attention free-fall by scheduling some form of interaction every 4-5 minutes. It can take many forms, such as surveys, a question, or a whiteboard session.

Whatever you choose, be sure to plan and prepare ahead of time so that the interaction doesn’t get in the way of everything else you planned.

Visually reinforce key points

You can use fewer slides in a personal presentation because it’s easier to gauge your audience’s understanding of your expressions or body language.

The places where you would naturally stop are often overlooked, as online presentations usually confuse the audience’s silence as understanding. To make sure you don’t confuse your audience, prepare a recap slide with the main points covered after each section, and stop to recap and answer questions.

Use visual examples

Words are good, but the graphics are excellent. Find pictures that are truly worth 1,000 words. Don’t overload your online presentation with tacky art unless it has a relevant purpose to what you need to communicate. Taking screenshots from the web can be very useful for referring to online documents. You can also do this in real-time for urgent materials. If you plan to use a video, make sure it’s short and concise. Otherwise, share the URL and let people see it whenever it is you want them to see.

Simplify your slides

Since you have no idea of what screen size your audience sees in your online presentation or how slow the connection is, design your slides to work well on a smaller screen. Small screens can proliferate already busy graphics. Animations may appear choppy or out of sync with the conversation track.

Keep your graphics simple and clear and limit animations to fading and simple transitions.

Use a determined movement

There is a section of ​​the brain that is called the limbic system, which is very sensitive to movement. What this means for presenters today is that any movement on the screen will grab viewers’ attention. It has its advantages and disadvantages.

Targeted movement – switching slides or using web tools to guide audiences to different areas of the screen – works in your favor. Random or chaotic movement – choppy animations, running mouse, or fast transitions – works against you. Exercise the power of movement with purposefulness and wisdom.

Give room for questions

If you set a presentation time, at least 10-15 minutes should be devoted to questions and discussions. You can review any unanswered questions in writing and allow team discussions. Don’t allow questions to become redundant. Manage the session with kindness, determination, and authority.

End the presentation on time

While this also applies to personal presentations, timely completion plays an even bigger role in an online presentation. It can easily make people disconnect from what you’re trying to achieve. Please specify in advance that you intend to stop at a certain time. When the time comes, give your closing remark and answer any other question offline or schedule another presentation.

Maintaining online public participation is no easy task. Understanding where and how you might disconnect and make changes to your presentation will help you achieve your goal and keep you from speaking to yourself.

Bottom line

Keep your audience active during your online presentation by applying these expert tips and using the right tools to present them. The last thing you want is to disrupt your presentation because attendees are busy downloading cumbersome software and can’t be on the same page as you.