Learning from hundreds of online training sessions during WFH
It has been more than a year of working from home and for us trainers, it is training from home. I went through all the five stages of grief, as usual, it started from denial and to the eventual acceptance of the new normal.
I have always wanted my training programs to be highly interactive two-way communication-based. I remember the initial frustrations of people not speaking or not even chatting in the chatbox, to babies and cookers crying in the background. We have all been there when we forget to mute and are on another call and worse when we crib about the trainer or the training.
I have heard it all from "we have to do this mandatory training for the hours" to "there is a training going on, but I can talk".
This amazing experience has taught me many lessons, I would like to share some of them with you in this article:
Please dress professionally when you present online: it builds your credibility as a professional. If you take your job seriously, I am sure the audience will take you seriously
Have a professional headset and light: make sure you have good light and sound since these are the most important part of an online presence.
Keep your camera ON while presenting: we do not connect emotionally with PowerPoint slides. We need a human touch, somebody we can connect with at an emotional level.
Use, less content: divide the content of your presentation into three parts: ok to have, good to have, and must-have. Only have must-have information on your slides. Put all the other information in the notes section
Have images: "a picture is worth a thousand words" have relevant images to make your presentations more visually engaging to your audience. Sometimes these images can tell so much that you don't even have to speak.
Use stories and analogies: we are all storytellers, we have been telling stories even before we went to school. A story is just telling someone of an experience that we had. There are only three parts to it, "Show them what you say, tell them what you heard and make them feel what you felt". Another powerful tool is analogy "tell them what it is like" and use examples that they can relate to. My favorite analogy is we need to stretch ourselves like a rubber band, if do not stretch ourselves frequently we will lose our elasticity.
Have polls in the Chatbox: you do not need another site or fancy software, just ask a question and ask people to reply. Chatbox has worked wonderfully for me. It creates excitement and engagement and also gives me an opportunity to ask the participant to share their experience related to the poll.
Be patient: when we do not get an answer immediately after asking a question, it may get unnerving, be patient and either rephrase the question or ask them if they have understood the question. I was waiting for an answer the response I got was but what does the term mean? That's when I realized, I was on a different tangent than my participants.
Encourage and appreciate: I encourage participation by removing the risk of embarrassment and the tension of being right every time. I tell them that there is no negative marking, all ideas are good ideas and when someone shares their point of view I appreciate them for their contribution. This creates a healthy learning environment. Which eventually leads to more contribution
Be normal: I usually sit with my cup of tea or water and sometimes take permission to switch off the AC. Take a break after an hour, if it is a long session. Short breaks help in staying focussed and also managing the home.
I hope my learning helps you in your sessions.
Stay strong and safe
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