Just another day in the office

Well hasn’t 2020 been a year of learning and challenging us to step outside of our comfort zone! In my other career, the one that pays the bills, I develop and deliver leadership development programs, and I love it!

I’ve spent many years at the front of a learning room and have always thrived on the interaction and energy that I get from those that are there to learn and grow. But this year, I was thrown a curve ball and had to ‘pivot’ ( another highly overused word of 2020!!) to think about how I could deliver the programs virtually whilst still delivering a great learner experience!

I was, and still am, blessed to work with a great learning and development specialist in my team, and together we brainstormed how we could continue to invest in developing our people, but do it in a virtual environment that is engaging and relevant.

It was a big task, but I’m happy to say we nailed it, and at the same time, built a learning culture that we have been striving to create over the last two years! How’s that for a silver lining of COVID!

So here are some of our virtual facilitation tips that have seen us nail our effectiveness measures, achieve a 80% increase in participation versus last year, and deliver a strong ROI.

  • Don’t over focus on, or over complicate, the technology! Yes it has to work and be tried and tested, but it’s no different to choosing a room for face to face delivery
  • Send through a one minute technology ‘how to video’ prior to the session. This allows people to familiarise themselves before joining
  • Be flexible with communication forums.. everyone is different remember! Utilise the chat box, call on those that are comfortable speaking, launch a poll ( and incorporate the results) or use the whiteboard or annotate
  • Break up the content with different activities and don’t just do death by PowerPoint! Use flip charts in your background, utilise participants guides and simply talk…but not for anymore than 10 mins! Talking for longer than 10 mins will see you lose people and they will start flicking between screen!
  • Have some type of activity every 5 minutes. Whether that be break out rooms, whiteboard activity, questions etc
  • On that point, break out rooms are great! Our team members love them as it allows a deeper sense of connection and also allows those that have a preference for introversion a safe space
  • And finally… cameras on!! People want to see each other and body language is the key thing people take from an interaction. So I highly encourage you to have people see and experience each other!

As we head into the end of year break, I’m reflecting on everything we have achieved this year, and I’m super stoked! Not only have we delivered amazing learning experiences for the business, but I have grown personally and am now a confident and experienced virtual facilitator… winning!!