by Nagesh Sharma a Management 3.0 Facilitator
This is part two of a two-part blog about what it takes to lead amazing workshops. Check out Part 1 here
As I said, all my in person classes follow the same format: 6 Trumps and a 4c’s map from: “Training from the back of the room”.
I always try and keep my virtual classes as close as possible to the Face-to-Face experience. So let’s continue with how we can do that.
Teach Content in small chunks
#1: Pause and read the room: Unlike in an in person class, where I provide participants with a squishy ball to throw if I am continuously talking for more than 15 minutes, in a virtual setting as a facilitator, I need to be extra careful not to talk too much. A few things I do to ensure that I talk in small chunks and talk less, is constantly remind myself with a self-talk that says: “pause and read the room”.
If I see people taking notes or nodding their heads or making lots of eye contact, it’s an indication that people are getting it. However, if I see big question marks on their faces or they look puzzled or their webcams are turned off then it’s an indication that they are losing engagement.
I also have a talking stick to remind me to pause and read the room.
#2: Ask questions based on reading the room: Whenever I am teaching a topic in the online class or sharing a key concept similar to the physical class, I ask participants to raise their hands physically or give me a symbol. For example, if you agree with me then unmute yourself and say “I”. If you want me to proceed, then show me a thumbs up or show me a thumbs down. If my pace is okay show me a thumbs up.
And based on the just in time feedback I will adapt my delivery style and pace. Zoom has some great options for these indications, you just need to enable them.
Follow each teaching block with a 2-3 min revision/review: Unlike the in-person class where the review techniques are a standing quiz, one sentence summaries, pair-share or pass the question. I adapted pair-share and short summaries often leveraging zoom breakout rooms. Also, sometimes participants are asked to go through the flip charts and then teach back to the class in a two minute time box
Have learners practice active skills or content review. Use Visual facilitation techniques for concrete practice. I am a big fan of visual facilitation especially Flipchart art. I leveraged both drawing using an iPad and Apple Pencil as well as Flipcharts.
However, my participants appreciated Flipchart over the iPad. Of course, you need a camera to point towards the Flipchart and you can ask the participants to pin the screen. Its pretty engaging that way, and I was able to retain the focus of my participants. You can adopt concrete practices like discussions about the application of the content review worksheets/content. The key is to engage not a few, but all learners in the active review of major concepts.
Give learners time to summarise and evaluate what they have learned. This is a crucial step for participants. Activities that invite participants to create verbal summaries or post-it notes on Mural of what they’ve learned are more successful.
Another way is when we create Product Owner Skills of Traits Flipcharts in Mural using Stickies. Once they’ve added stickies, I ask participants:
I see smiling faces with a self-realization and I say, if your self-assessment is three or below, then you have work to do. What can be done within your influence and control to take the smallest step towards growth.
Agility is not predicting the future; It is an opportunistic discovery, said Gunther Verheyen.
The world is complex with more unknowns than knowns and best way to navigate through the complexity is to embrace empiricism and inspect and adapt through transparency.
We all are experimenting daily in this pandemic and learning from it. Despite our best efforts, there are things that might go wrong, as there are many variables that are not in our control and can’t be predicted.
I don’t treat my virtual classes any different than the in person ones, as I deliver them with the same intent of delivering value to my customers. Though I agree that face to face allows us to have a more human connection and the ability to build long term relationships, delivering the class with the genuine interest of helping the participants, asking for feedback frequently from them as well as from co-facilitator(s) and adapting based on the feedback, has been very helpful so far.