Keeping attendees engaged on Zoom is a real challenge, but according to this improv comedian and marketer, it’s totally possible. You just need to have a bag of tricks and “work a little harder.” 

Here’s my interview with this fascinating trainer and speaker.

Kathy Klotz-Guest

Interview with Kathy Klotz-Guest. Bio and website below.

CHUCK: I’m spending a little bit of time this evening with Kathy Klotz-Guest. I’m glad to have her as my guest, and I’d like for Kathy go ahead and introduce herself. So, Kathy, take it away.

KATHY: I am a guest, Kathy Klotz-Guest. My background … I came out of marketing. And I also have many, many decades of doing comedy. So, my business, Keeping It Human, brings the two together. And my goal is to work with businesses to help them inject improv and comedy principles — not just trying to be funny — so that they can actually have better team cohesion, come up with new ideas, do more creative, better communication. That’s my goal.

CHUCK: So, what kinds of clients do you work with?

KATHY: The type of clients I typically work with are bigger businesses. I’m out here in Silicon Valley, so I tend to work with a lot of tech companies, but not exclusively. So, it tends to be sort of teams — teams within companies.

CHUCK: OK. And, pre-COVID, let’s walk through what a typical presentation would have been like. How many people would have been there? Would you have done it on premises at the client’s facility? That kind of thing.

KATHY: Yeah, pre-COVID, typically I was in-person. I’m an in-person speaker, workshop person. So, a lot of the work that I would do — not all, but a big chunk of the work — was in-person because there is a live energy that I get. Especially because a lot of the work that I do is interactive improv exercises. So, it’s really about harnessing that energy, and people love learning in a very experiential, safe way. So, that was it.

Now, a lot of it, of course, is delivered via Zoom. And some stuff, I was already doing beforehand via Zoom, like coaching and things like that. But nowadays, a lot of stuff has moved — a lot of my business has moved online, yeah.

CHUCK: Interesting. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how folks in your position who are speakers, teachers — we see a lot on TV about athletes who are having to deal with the fact that they may not be able to be in stadiums in front of 64,000 raving fans. The Seattle Seahawks actually calls their fans the “12th Man.”

So, what was the experience like — you’re saying you already were doing some training online and on Zoom. But what has the experience been like going from in-person, analog, one-on-one trainings and experiences where you literally have feedback right in the room contemporaneously to — let’s say, on Zoom in particular — that you can get back at someone raising their hand with a gesture. Or saying, “Hey Kathy” and asking for something in chat. How do you deal with that lack of response?