26+ Steps & Strategies to Make an Engaging, Interactive Webinar in 2023
Statistics show that the average viewing time for webinars is 57 minutes. That’s quite a long time for you, as a host, to keep your participants engaged in an era where distractions are only a click away. But how do you host the perfect interactive webinar that energizes–not bores–your audience?
The secret lies in mastering the fine art of hosting an interactive webinar – one that constructively engages your audience and creates an environment of active learning and enjoyment.
The challenge here is not just about dispensing information. It’s about designing and delivering your webinar in a manner that captivates your audience. This means weaving together a session full of engaging content, insightful data, instructive visuals, and impactful delivery.
This comprehensive article is designed to be a guiding light for all aspiring webinar hosts as it unearths several strategic ways to design an engaging, interactive, and memorable webinar. Packed with insights and tips, we’ll delve deep into effective methods to connect with your online community and deliver your content impactfully.
Ready to explore the art of hosting incredible webinars? Let's dive in and get started!
Benefits of Interactive Webinars
Many people make the mistake of thinking of a webinar as a typical video conferencing meeting. However, a truly interactive webinar engages all of the participants so they can connect with the speaker and one another in a way that feels personal, meaningful, and authentic.
A successful webinar also increases the value you bring to the table. Participants are more likely to walk away satisfied with the experience if it’s engaging–and are more likely to come back for more (and even bring additional participants).
Whether you’re hosting a coaching session, virtual event, or book club, prioritizing engagement is key to avoiding digital exhaustion and attracting an audience that is intentional with how they spend their time.
How to Make an Interactive Webinar: Activities, Tips, & Best Practices
Here are some of the best tips and tricks you can use when you are planning your next interactive webinar!
Use the Right Webinar Software
A great webinar hinges on the webinar software being used. But with the growing popularity of online webinars, there’s a lot of great webinar software out there. You want to make sure you’re choosing software that prioritizes engaging participants–not just getting as many attendees as possible.
AllTakes is a great example of a webinar software that’s designed for interactive events. With its Roundtable setup, where members “sit” in a circle structure in portrait orientation, attendees experience the camaraderie and connection usually seen at live events.
With straightforward settings, unique and animated expressions, private spaces, and monetization opportunities, AllTakes is the perfect choice for engagement for both webinar hosts and attendees.
2. Start with Icebreakers
The beginning of any webinar can feel a bit awkward. Loosen everyone up with a round of icebreakers that boosts engagement right off the bat.
The icebreaker doesn’t have to be anything intense or overly personal. The best icebreakers will be questions that make the audience think, but are also relatively easy to answer. This is one of your first interactions, so you want your participants to open up without putting anyone on the spot.
Try some of these icebreaker questions at your next webinar:
What is your absolute favorite snack?
If you could be one part of the body, what would you be and why?
What is your ideal coffee or tea order?
What was your favorite book as a child?
Breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
If you’d like, relate your question to the webinar topic. Are you hosting a session on how to lead meditations? Ask your attendees about their first meditation experience–or worst meditation experience.
Get creative and don’t be afraid to get vulnerable yourself. By setting a tone of authenticity and trust up front, you’ll be more likely to get others to open up throughout the session.
3. Use a Roundtable Setup
Many webinar setups tend to feel very formal, like you’re attending a serious business meeting. This isn’t necessarily a problem if you in fact are hosting a serious business meeting, but if you’re trying to create an interactive and personal space, you’ll want to remove some of that formality.
AllTakes makes this possible through its unique Roundtable formatting. By emulating the feeling of sitting in a real-life circle, this formatting naturally promotes engagement and takes away some of that initial stiffness.
Pro tip: Using the Roundtable format also makes it easy to go around in a circle and make sure everyone has a chance to share.
4. Cameras On!
While this seems very simple, having cameras on has a huge impact on webinar engagement.
No one wants to talk to blank screens–and it’s incredibly hard to form connections that way. Being able to see everyone attending the webinar encourages relationship-building, promotes authenticity, and makes it easier for everyone to interact.
5. Ask Questions
If the webinar is one-sided and participants don’t have the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions, you run the risk of losing their attention. This is understandable: every great conversation has a natural back-and-forth that can be hard to replicate in webinars.
To combat this, open up the discussion and ask your participants questions about the content and ideas you’re sharing. Whether they’re supposed to answer them on their own, share with the group, or share individually with you, encourage them to think and reflect throughout your webinar.
6. Add Video & Audio
Video and audio can help your webinar feel more like a community rather than a formal (boring) online meeting. By engaging multiple senses, video and audio capture attention and lead to stronger emotional connections–without overloading your audience with text-filled screens.
AllTakes takes this tip seriously. The platform recently launched a music feature that allows you to add a track to any part of your webinar, whether it’s welcoming individuals as they join or supporting a transition. Hosting a meditation during your session? Add some background music that matches the mood. Giving your audience a few minutes to answer a question you posed? Support them with some beautiful tunes.
Whatever the situation, including the interactive mediums of video and audio can do wonders for your engagement.
7. Host Your Webinar on the Right Day & Time
For most webinars, Wednesdays and Thursdays are usually the best days to host. Research also shows that 11 AM is an ideal time for webinars but any time in the morning tends to work well. You’ll also have to be flexible for attendees who live around the country (or world).
Of course, before scheduling the day and time of your own webinar, determine who your ideal audience is going to be made up of. What generation of people are you trying to attract? What kinds of jobs do they hold and do they have families to take care of?
These are all details that are going to dictate what times your audience is most likely to be available and able to attend.
8. Limit the Amount of Content Shared
As you already know, webinar presentations usually present a large amount of information in a small amount of time. While it’s important to be informative, you also don’t want to overwhelm your audience.
A few tips here:
Reduce the amount of written content on the slides to make the information more digestible.
Remove “fluff” and anything that’s not necessary, as well as information that is too repetitive.
While polls and surveys are engaging, too many can be distracting. Choose a few key moments to send them out, and ideally have a team member manage any responses or questions.
9. Try Quizzes, Polls, or Surveys
Everyone likes a fun, low-stakes quiz! These little knowledge checks are a great way to reinforce what the audience is learning and can encourage them to pay close attention throughout.
Keep the quizzes fun and present them in a positive and interactive way. Get everyone involved and highlight the most important information when you’re asking the questions. You can either present them on the screen within your presentation (multiple choice, anyone) or send them right through a chat!
Just make sure to avoid overly long and complicated quizzes to keep the webinar rolling–one or two questions at a time are plenty!
Polls and surveys also allow attendees to interact with the presentation without interrupting the flow of the session. These activities encourage participation and allow you to get to know your audience more personally.
This will help you engage with them better throughout the webinar and during any follow-up. You can also use the results of these polls and surveys to better cultivate your attendees' experience for future webinars.
Send polls through the chat, as a link at the end, or just ask an open-ended question!
10. Prioritize Production Value
When it comes to production, you want to prioritize authenticity over perfection. However, for an engaging and successful event, you’ll still want to deliver a professional event without distracting technical issues.
You don't necessarily need expensive, high-tech equipment to host a successful webinar. But a good camera and clear audio can go a long way. Make sure you have a clean background that’s devoid of distractions and you’re in a space with good lighting. Artificial lighting can be better here since it won’t change throughout the event like natural light would.
Create professional content as well: design thoughtful, easy-to-read slides, have a script prepared on the points you’ll be discussing throughout the webinar, and provide relevant links and content in the chat as needed.
And of course, keep an eye out for technical issues throughout the event.
11. Assign Roles to Your Team
A great team can help with this! Assign someone to manage backend audio or video issues and answer any technical or setup questions in the chat. You may also want to have breakout room leaders or chat moderators to keep things going smoothly.
Clear roles keep everything flowing seamlessly, so your audiences can focus on the exciting information you’re providing.
12. Plan for Mindful Moments
A great way to bring everyone back to the present moment is through short mindful practices. You could have everyone take a short meditation break or play some music while everyone does a few stretches in between slides.
13. Offer Raffles or Prizes
Consider offering some simple raffles or prizes at the end of the webinar or event. You may even want to share this opportunity with your marketing material as an added incentive for participants to join.
Raffles can be won by any attendee who makes it to the end and prizes can go out to individuals you want to call out for a success they had during the webinar, whether that’s getting every quiz question right or answering all your polls.
Just don’t break the bank on these prizes–choose something relevant to your webinar topic that can help your attendees keep learning!
14. Include Stunning Images
Your presentation most likely has a lot of text that helps you get your point across. To break this up, add some engaging images that still provide value to the content. This is especially helpful for visual learners, who learn and retain information better in visual formats.
Make sure your images are high quality and relate to the section of the presentation you are discussing. You could also insert humorous images if you want to add a lighthearted touch!
15. Consider Short Breakout Rooms
A benefit to hosting a webinar is that it can hold as many attendees as you want from all around the world.
However, the larger the group, the harder it is to foster interpersonal connections. Breakout rooms are a great solution for this. Webinar attendees are split into smaller groups where their discussions are private from the rest of the attendees. In these groups, they can continue the conversation or review the speaker's discussion in a more inclusive, engaging format.
You can do this one of two ways: pre-forming the breakout rooms or letting attendees join the room they feel called to. At AllTakes, you can do both! The breakout rooms are created in seconds and you can easily assign specific people to each room. Participants can also choose a room to join–just like they would in real life.
16. Share Resources
An interactive webinar needs to contain as much information as possible to provide the most value, but all of the information shouldn’t be on your slides.
Instead, share longer-form resources via chat during the webinar. This not only adds value to your work but also encourages attendees to engage in both the chat and with the resources you’re providing–long after the webinar ends!
17. Send Expressions (And Encourage Attendees to Send Them!)
Expressions are a great way for people to interact with each other without having to go off mute. This means viewers can send them throughout the event to show support and interest, even if the presenter is speaking.
This form of communication can also add a personalized touch and keep things from feeling too formal.
18. Start a Virtual Scavenger Hunt
A virtual scavenger hunt is a fun way to keep everyone on their toes throughout your interactive webinars. You can create a list of things participants can look for throughout the presentation to share at the end, such as specific facts or images in your slides. Just don’t add too many items–you don’t want your attendees to only be focused on the hunt!
19. Use Private Chats
Depending on your webinar content, not everybody is going to be comfortable sharing their thoughts with a larger group. A great option is offering private chats so that individuals can have individual discussions either with the presenters or one another.
This also allows everybody to talk about what matters to them without cluttering the main chat or being too distracting.
Note that advanced privacy and security is crucial here. You need to have the right security measures in place to avoid having individuals who might try to spam your audience.
20. Pre-record Parts of the Webinar
While this might feel unintuitive, pre-recording parts of the webinar can actually boost engagement. This break allows the speaker to engage with the attendees in real time and answer their audience’s questions as they come in. It also gives them time to renew their energy before the next session.
Of course, you don’t want to pre-record everything: the key to an engaging interactive webinar is providing genuine, warm, human experiences.
21. Provide Networking Opportunities
Networking is a huge benefit to webinar attendees, so make sure to provide that for them! Offer opportunities to network via private chats, breakout rooms, and post-webinar connections. However, never provide anyone else’s contact information unless you’re given explicit permission to do so.
22. Assign "Homework"
Because online presentations provide so much information, it’s easy for participants to walk away and forget everything they learned. A great way to prevent this is by assigning some fun knowledge checks after that to keep the information fresh.
Whether it’s a book recommendation, an interactive worksheet, or a thought-provoking question, encourage your participants to follow up with you or other attendees with what they’ve discovered after your webinar has ended!
23. Schedule Breaks
The majority of webinars are around one hour long–and we know you have a lot of content to get through. However, scheduling breaks can keep your audience alert and interested and prevent them from wandering off on their own time.
Encourage participants to stretch at their seats, have a drink of water, or rest their eyes before your presentation begins again.
Keep in mind that you want these breaks to be short and sweet since you still want plenty of time for your interactive slides!
24. Send a Pre-Webinar Welcome That Encourages Engagement
Webinars range in content and participation levels, so let your attendees know what to expect. In your reminder email before the event, share with your audience that this interactive webinar is going to be engaging: chatting and questions are encouraged and fun activities will be happening throughout!
25. Hold a Q&A Session
After an hour of absorbing information, a lot of people are going to have questions. Not only will a Q&A session encourage engagement, but attendees will walk away feeling more satisfied with what they learned and the value they gained.
You can always come prepared with questions to start the session off if the attendees don't have questions immediately. For instance, share some “FAQs” you get during your webinars–chances are they might be wondering the same!
26. Encourage Continued Connection
Last but definitely not least, end the webinar by encouraging your attendees to join your community for some continued conversation. This not only adds value for them, but it also allows you to stay in touch about future events.
Improve Engagement at Your Interactive Webinars
Hosting a successful webinar requires time and skill since there are many moving pieces. The most successful webinars are ones that encourage engagement and are cultivated for that specific audience.
You also need to make sure your webinar is more than just a simple presentation with slides. It should include things like interactive activities and open chatting between the speaker and the attendees.
Are you planning an interactive webinar and want to set yourself up for success? If so, you need AllTakes. AllTakes was designed to deepen human connection online–and that’s exactly what they’re doing! The webinar software eliminates meeting fatigue while promoting feelings of community, connection, and care.