Let’s admit it- grabbing people’s attention online is like convincing a toddler to eat veggies! No matter how much you try, you will end up at an impasse. The same is true for online workshops and webinars. Yet, it is not as challenging as you think, if only you follow the right strategy.
First, let’s answer the overwhelming question- what does it mean by interactive workshops? How is it any different from conventional workshops? Interactive workshops are those where there is a two-way exchange of information. The person who leads the workshop is not simply an instructor. He motivates the attendees to participate. Gone are the days when people used to sit passively in a workshop, listening mutely. But what if you fail to stir up excitement among participants? It certainly feels awful when people are distracted during your workshop. So, here are some proven tips and tricks to make your live workshops more immersive:
There is a two-step strategy to make an online workshop more interactive:
- Catching everyone’s eyes
- Encouraging the participants to engage
Let’s see how you can catch and hold people’s attention during interactive workshops:
Keep ahead of others by using the latest technology
Technology is ever-evolving. If you keep yourself updated with the latest technology, you should be able to stun everyone. Once you bewitch the audience, in the beginning, you have won half the battle. The greatest benefit of online workshops is that you can be creative with your approach. Use VR, AR, or AI technology to your advantage. Don’t use the same old static designs that will bore the audience in a moment.
Avoid beating around the bush; stay relevant
Catching attention and maintaining it are two different things. Suppose you manage to start with a “bang”, but if you cannot keep up the spirit, your workshop is doomed. And do you know what is the best way to put off the entire audience? By being irrelevant! There is no harm in connecting with them through personal stories, but don’t forget your main purpose. Make sure to deliver what you promised to and that too skillfully.
Now that we are aware of how to catch attention in live workshops, our first step is complete. Let’s move on to the next step, i.e., inspiring the audience to take part.
Take pauses and ask questions
When we come fully prepared for something, we tend to tell all of it in one breath. You must take pause at regular intervals; ask the attendees if they have any questions. If no one raises a query, make it a point to ask what they liked the most so far, or if they want you to move slower. Include polls, questionnaires, and quizzes in your interactive workshops. Make them want to take action.
(Have you read Donald Barthelme’s novel, Snow White? It is well known because it contains a questionnaire that asks the reader if he liked the story so far or not. The reader feels important; he senses that his review matters). Taking feedback is crucial if you want to make your audience feel special.
Introducing a fun element
To delight the audience, choose meaningful discussions and entertaining activities over tedious presentation slides. You can use the following ideas to liven up your workshop:
-choosing this or that
-asking attendees to find answers in a puzzle
-urging them to describe what they learned in three words
Make sure to tell them the amount of time they will be sitting for
We’ve all been through those online workshops that could have been a lot better if they were brief. Decide the time frame carefully. It can be hours long if you have full confidence in your interpersonal abilities and the uniqueness of your content. Or, it can be short and crisp if you compress your content. Whatever it is, respect your and others’ time. Let them know how long it is going to be. Those who choose to attend are willing to learn; engaging them cannot be that difficult.
Never forget to set some rules beforehand
Before beginning, lay out some general rules to ensure order. Though you want it to be interactive, it shouldn’t end up in chaos. For instance, tell people to keep their mics off when you are talking. Tell them to save their questions for the doubt-clearing sessions. No participant should leave within the first 15 minutes of the workshop unless absolutely urgent. No one should start an argument over something they don’t believe in; agree to disagree. Rules make it easier to conduct the workshop peacefully, leaving room for proper engagement. Whatever your objective may be, your focus should be on giving people the experience of a lifetime. When you are passionate about your work, it will show in your live workshops. And passion inspires people.