For many virtual facilitators, it can seem daunting to think about how to create engagement to keep a virtual session flowing. What we know with the best learning programs - in person and in the virtual domain is that they are engaging and have a great pace.
Here are four ideas for creating engagement:
1. Help people connect with their "WIIFM" - What's in it for me? - as early as possible. While this is critical for in person training, it holds true in the virtual domain, especially where people may be calling in from very distinct locations. Continue reinforcing throughout the program reflection points for reconnecting with what has been of interest and importance throughout the session. Providing members of the group to speak this (and not be on mute all day!) may surprise people with how similar learning is, even if you think locations are different.
2. Leverage breakout capability - Just as in an in-person training location many love the interactions and engagement of a smaller group, the same holds true with the virtual domain. Explore the breakout capability with the platform you are using and consider how you can be using this regularly.
3. Reminder regarding other pace changes. We often say in the in=person environment that changing pace every 7-10 minutes is critical. This is even more important in the virtual domain. Consider how you can change the pace with other engagement strategies such as polls, chat responses, while board etc.
4. Consider your own "presence" - In professional coaching we have a competency called "presence" which is the energy, being and approaches the coach or facilitator brings. Listen into the energy you bring to a virtual session. It can be a very different energy than in the in person environment, and may require more of a host role - welcoming people, connecting people, and building rapport very quickly. Listen back to past session recordings (if available) to notice your presence.
What other tips would you have for others regarding engagement in the virtual domain? Have a great start to your week!
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Are you a leader, coach or trainer wanting to amp up your skills in virtual facilitation? Our next Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive course will start on September 15th (Tuesdays 5-8 pm ET). 15 hours of learning, practice and feedback on your virtual facilitation skills. Click here to learn more.