Rules of Engagement: How to create captivating webinars

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So here are 6 “rules of engagement” for how to lead virtual trainings that are, well, engaging!

1. Set Expectations

This isn’t about telling participants what you expect of them. It’s about telling participants what they can expect of you.

As early as possible in the training, make a promise to learners as to what they'll get out of the training. This helps motivate them to stay engaged and actively participating, so that they actually get the benefit you promised.

This promise can be content specific, such as, “This workshop will give you six tips to help you overcome common threats that harm your virtual trainings.”

But it can also be an implied promise in terms of the tone you set right away for the level of engagement that learners will enjoy in the webinar. You can do this through soft openers, openers, etc.

2. Find the Right Tool

Zoom? Microsoft Teams? Adobe Connect? Others?

But it’s not only about figuring out which webinar platform you like best.

Once we do that, we also need to figure out which specific tools we can use within those platforms to maximize engagement for each content segment. Maybe it’s drawing, stamping, typing on the screen, chat box, mics, polls, etc.

3. Reach Them

Before we can reach participants with our content, we need to draw them in.

We can do this with an opener that breaks their preoccupation, allows for networking and is relevant to the content.

Maybe it’s a video, game, story, quiz, etc.

4. Get to Know Them

This requires extra effort in a webinar.

It’s easier to do in a physical classroom, but still possible in a virtual context.

In our three-day workshops, part of the homework after day one is for learners to send in a personal picture of themselves doing something they love. Then our trainers include those pictures in various interactive slides the following day.

You can also have learners make name tents or name tags where they can include their goals for the training, as well as their favorite foods, bucket list items, etc. Then they share those details with the class or in smaller breakout rooms.

5. WOW Them

What can you do to help your webinar stand out and be memorable?

Come up with a theme that relates to the content? Play games? Create a great handout that people will want to keep?

6. Make it Easy

Not just for participants. For yourself, too.

Don't bite off more than you can chew. If instructor-led participant-centered training is new to you, start by doing little things to add interaction.

Maybe that means starting by incorporating slides that encourage stamping and typing on the screen, rather than starting with slightly fancier technology like C3 Softworks or UMU.

You can also make it easy for learners by giving clear instructions for activities both verbally and by putting the instructions up on a slide.

Be sure to keep an eye out for other blogs in this series, giving you even more tips to help you become a virtual super trainer!

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