The Zombie Effect

Zoom isn’t the only platform creating Zombies!


Have you been giving online presentations that result in your audience showing glazed eyes, vacant expressions, and confused nods? If yes, you’re spreading the infection! I’m here to talk to you about a little something called the ‘zombie effect.’

There’s no denying that the word ‘zombie’ has a consistent meaning. No matter which language you say the word in, there is a universal image attached to it. All of these words: zombi, vrykólakas, zumbi, jiāngshī, ゾンビ, thây ma, aljan,  ਜੂਮਬੀਨ, زومبي mean ‘zombie’ and will conjure up the same image when said or thought about. You say ‘zombie,’ you automatically think of a brainless creature who can’t sustain intelligent thought.


the Zombie effect


What is the Zombie Effect?

Now, I’m not saying that you might be infecting people in a literal sense. I mean to shed light on ‘the zombie effect,’ meaning you might need to improve your presentation skills so your audience doesn’t feel like zombies. Although, presentation skills are not the only factor to blame for creating this effect.

Many virtual collaboration platforms can create metaphorical zombies because of aesthetically dull presentations. Moreover, poorly rehearsed presentations and agenda-less meetings can contribute to the overall effect.

The truth is that no matter which platform you’re using, WebexGoToConnect, Skype, or MSTeams, you won’t be immune to this effect. The only thing that can help is an exact look at and focus on the little things that need to be improved during your presentations.

I have personally witnessed the zombie effect take place, and I also know how to avoid it. One of our earliest training programs refers explicitly to ‘the zombie effect’ related to your audience.

How to Beat the Zombie Effect

So, let’s talk about how to leave your audience feeling motivated after a virtual meeting or presentation. While virtual communication will never replace good old F2F communication, there are many ways to achieve the engagement results you desire from your remote communications.

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Here are some ideas to get you started:

1.Find the BEST presentation structure right here. You can find a lot of great presentation templates that are also free to use. Your audience will love a visually appealing and organized presentation. What’s more, you can read up on the Principles of Adult Learning Theory and get critical insights into how you can create more effective presentations for your audience. Once you read this theory, 50% of your work will have been done.

2.Incorporate icebreakers into your presentation. You will find that your audience is ultra-responsive when you work in some simple icebreakers into your meeting. You will hold their attention and keep them engaged if you get them to join a group activity of some sort. Make sure these icebreakers are specific to your unique audience

3.Increase engagement by utilizing features such as Chat, Polling, Virtual Swag, Pre-Event Interaction, a Q&A Session, Whiteboards, and more, depending on what your platform offers. These engagement tools will help you create more touchpoints with your audience, enabling them to give feedback and participate in the presentation more effectively.


4.Book a Virtual Office Audit to ensure that your unique environment meets the highest professional standards. You wouldn’t be interested in a meeting where you had to look at a shabby or unkempt background, right? So make sure that your audience has something interesting to look at. They should feel like they are in a professional and clean environment.

5.Hire a Professional Virtual Skills coach to build your knowledge and confidence. You will be able to work on specific areas that need improvement, which will help you keep your audience engaged.

6.Take frequent breaks during your meeting. Nobody wants to hear someone droning on about a topic for endless amounts of time at a stretch. Make sure you’re giving your audience breaks in the middle to absorb the material and give meaningful feedback on the session.

7.Book an entire teaming training program such as ‘Their Brains in Your Webinar: Attention! Matters‘ Training programs are instrumental if you want increased efficiency, effective communication, and overall better results. You will learn lots of other useful tips on keeping your audience’s attention even through the most prolonged meetings.

Use these ideas so your audience is engaged and leave your presentation or virtual meeting feeling motivated!


3Plus offers programmes on managing remote teams more inclusively. Find out more HERE.


Originally posted in Everything Webinar 

Kimberli Allen Contributor
Kimberli, founder of Everything Webinar, is an international virtual presentation skills trainer, coach and webinar strategist. She has worked in the virtual collaboration industry for almost 12 years and has been an entrepreneur for nearly a decade. Kimberli has either managed, produced or hosted over 15,000 virtual events and is well versed in instructing others on how to effectively engage the virtual audience. Kimberli has designed customized training programs such as Webinar Basics, Webinar Production Basics, Universal Symbols, Make An Impact With Color, How To Create A Professional Virtual Office, Virtual Cognitive Load and many others. Since founding Everything Webinar in 2004 Kimberli has worked with such clients as Nike, Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, and TAB Products to name a few. She has personally coached thousands of clients in more than 29 countries and is 3Plus International's vendor of choice for training our coach's in virtual presentations and online collaborations.

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