Today's post includes five more pitfalls and what you might consider doing if they happen. These have been taken from my Group Coaching Ins and Outs blog, where I have been blogging on group prgoram issues (coaching, retreats, and facilitation since 2005. Click on over for lots more posts on this topic!
Pitfall #6 - Technology Breaks down – Check out the services you are using and have a back up. Make sure your connection works from your landline and mobile (and voip). Sometimes there can be a difference as to what you can access and where. Know how to complete quick items like record, mute, unmute, raise hands, chat or work a white board. Practice is usually the only way to master these.
Pitfall #7 - No on, or fewer than registered, shows – Rescheduling can become a slippery slope. Whether you have 4 people on the call or 40 people on the call, consider how your virtual program (or components of it) can be packaged for future benefit. How will you record the call? What changes might need to be made to the process and approach? It is likely that people will be running late. A best practice is always to start and end on time, given that people are likely to be calling in at different times of their days. As a facilitation team consider how you are handling missed attendees and last minute cancellations.
Pitfall #8 - Low energy: Virtual programs can be challenging for new facilitators in terms of the energy and feedback you receive. If you are using only a phone based system, other than enabling people to raise their hands in response, or signal on their keypad their agreement, it may feel like you are talking into a black hole. Your energy is imperative in keeping the flow going. Remember too that it is critical to engage your group members every 5-7 minutes. Without involvement and engagement it is challenging for anyone to continue to focus, let alone participate.
Pitfall # 9 - Lack of connection felt by the group - It is surprising how facilitators overlook how important it is to build connection amongst group members. Connection is an essential ingredient for group coaching, and is an important foundation even with a telesemianr or teleclass which may be more content focused. Engagement levels will be impacted if group members do not feel connected with the host and/or others.
Solution: Consider how you can build connection (as appropriate) amongst group members. If it is an extended program are you giving air time for everyone to speak? Are you encouaging that people send out a bio/photo between calls? For one-off engagements are you posing questions to the group which they can respond to verbally, by email/chat or by using their key pad?
Pitfall #10 - The multi-tasking mindset - The multi-tasking mindset can be common place for many of us. What can you do to capture people's attention and keep it focused.
Solution: Consider these questions: Are you making a request for people to disconnect from other technologies? Are you changing the pace frequently (ie. every 5-7 or 10 min)? Are you creating opportunities for individuals to pause and engage at their desk? What engagement strategies are you employing? Check out Teams365 #967 for Four Tips for Keeping Virtual Events More Engaging.
What other pitfalls are you concerned about? Let me know and I'll feature it in a future blog post.
Potentials Realized | Coaching Team Leaders
Check out our newest on-demand course: Teams365 Teamwork Foundations
Follow us on Twitter @Teams365
Join us this fall for a 15 hour Virtual Train-the-trainer in the Virtual Facilitation Skills Intensive program. We'll be covering the best practices of designing and leading virtual calls. The program will be held on Fridays from 3 - 4:30 pm ET starting September 23. Click here to learn more and reserve your spot.