Episode 8: How to Captivate your Audience from the Start of your Virtual Presentations

Engage and Captivate during your Virtual Presentations

Today’s episode is going to be a little different. I’m going to share one of the lessons from my virtual presentations course. Specifically, the lesson on how to start your virtual presentation in a way that engages and captivates your audience’s attention from the very beginning. 

If you enjoyed this sneak peek into my virtual presentations course and you want to learn all the strategies to delivering an engaging virtual presentation, you can enroll now and get 80% off here.

You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.

What You’ll Learn in this episode

  • Different ways you can start your virtual presentations
  • How to get your virtual audience to stay engaged

Action Items

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Episode Transcript

In this lesson, I'll share tips on how to start your virtual presentation. Maybe we should first talk about how to not start your presentation. And that is with saying stuff like: "all right, let me share my screen". "Can you see my screen or can everyone hear me?" Okay.
instead, I recommend that you capture your audience's attention by showing them the impact of the presentation topic. Let me show you an example: 

" Today's talk is about how our cities will look different post pandemic specifically about my simulation results from the safer bike lanes we plan on installing once commute starts picking up."
What I've done is I've tied my project topic to a larger initiative that others in the room may be interested in, which is how our cities will look different after the pandemic. As well as showing the impact your project has. Versus if I had just started off by saying, I'm going to talk about simulation results from the safer bike lanes.

Well, so what? What does this project mean? What is the impact of this project? 
 After you have this opening line, you can start with a story or a hook, something to reel your target audience into your topic.  Play around with what order you want to do the above. You can start off with a hook or a very interesting story or fact, and then talk about your presentation topic, just see what works best for your audience.

But this is important to do at the beginning.  If you'll lose their attention at this point, which is the beginning of your presentation, you may not have other opportunities to win them back, especially in virtual situations where they may decide to start multitasking or get off the computer altogether and go do some chores or other activities.


You may be wondering when to give an introduction about yourself. This may not be necessary for all situations, especially if you're presenting at a meeting where in front of people that already know you.
But if you are presenting to folks who don't know you, I do recommend introducing yourself ideally after the hook or the opening line about your presentation topic. It's important not to skip introducing yourself because. You need to show credentials, you need to gain the trust of your audience members on why they should be listening to you about this particular topic.
 Use this opportunity to gain the trust from your audience and that way they actually pay attention to what you're saying, because they see you as an authority on the subject.

Assuming you started off captivating your audience's attention with this great opening line or hook. Well, that's not enough. We want them to also be engaged and the best way to keep your audience engaged throughout the presentation is to make sure to start as early as possible so that they get comfortable with the tools and with engaging in.
Within the first three minutes of your presentation, have them do some type of engaging activity. At the beginning, I like people to start using the chat box so that they feel comfortable interacting and are more likely to pay attention and they get comfortable with using the chat feature as well.

So I usually ask them an easy question. Like where are they from or how are they feeling today? So examples are saying: 
"in the chat box, please go ahead and tell me where you're calling in from or in the chat box. Let me know which team you're from. Or let me know what job role you currently have"
Or you can ask them to use the reaction feature. Like" give me a thumbs up. If you are super excited for Friday to come."

Now something I noticed that you should be aware about is that the more effort and engagement required from the audience, the less likely your audience will do it. For instance, if your engagement requests asks people to unmute themselves and then share their thoughts, you may not get a lot of volunteers.
Similarly, if you ask people an open-ended question that requires a long answer in the chat box, the responses may come slower. Maybe not everyone will participate, but if you use a poll feature or you ask a question that requires a shorter response, like.
Where they're dialing in from, or what job role they have, you will hopefully see more participation from your audience. Same goes with using reactions or raising hand features that requires very less effort and more people are likely to participate