5 Tips on How to Prepare to Lead a Virtual Workshop
It’s Monday morning. You’re on the train, travelling to a training session you’ve delivered a hundred times before. You check your emails, complete a few tasks and still have time to kill so take a quick read through your notes. A brisk walk from the train station to the training location gives you a moment to think about the day ahead – perhaps you’ll include that statistic you just recapped as a killer opener. You arrive with time to arrange the room, set up your equipment and grab a glass of water before your participants arrive.
Compare this to-
It’s Monday morning. You’re sat at your kitchen table, checking your emails and completing your morning tasks. You glance at the clock – 10 mins ‘till showtime! You grab a glass of water, walk to your desk and place your notes next to your laptop – just for reference, you’ve run this workshop a hundred times before. You open the virtual meeting platform link and wait for your participants to join.
As virtual and hybrid learning become more popular, each of these scenarios is equally likely… but which version of you is feeling more prepared? Which version of you is feeling more energised and ready for the day?
There’s no denying that virtual training has the potential for incredible benefits both for coaches and participants – it can lower costs, improve the scope and accessibility of training programmes, allow remote workers to learn together and even improve engagement and learning transfer.
One thing it doesn’t have though, is the need for a commute.
Now, I hear you. Commuting sucks.
Well, yes and no. Though expensive, time consuming and often downright frustrating, commuting actually has some serious value. Travelling to a new location gives us a clear signal that we are about to start a new activity. It carves some time out of our day away from any other tasks and gives us time to reflect and plan. Without this forced preparation time, it can be difficult to switch mindsets as we move through the different stages of our day.
So what can we do?
Well, though there are no chairs to rearrange or new pieces of equipment to get familiar with, there are steps you should be taking to prepare for any virtual workshop. As well as giving you the best chance of success, taking the time to do these things can help to carve out that much-needed transition time, so that you feel ready for whatever the session throws at you!
1. Check Your Tech
Before each workshop, do a quick check of your essential tech: camera, microphone, speaker and perhaps most importantly apps. Technology is developing at such a rapid rate that the same virtual meeting platform may look different from one week to the next. Always take time to check any apps you plan on using before a virtual workshop begins to make sure everything is up to date and that you have full use of the platform functionality.
Check out the VTT Youtube channel for platform tutorials and other virtual training tips!
2. Check Your Space
Regardless of whether you’re delivering from a home office or a laptop balanced on top of an ironing board, you should always take the time to make sure your space is quiet, well-lit and as comfortable as possible. Make sure you have a suitable background and if you don’t have one, fake one! A blurred image of an office that overlaps slightly with your hair is better than a pile of laundry and evidence of whatever embarrassing hobby you picked up during lockdown. No one need ever know.
3. Check Your Resources
Just as you would check you had your notes, handouts and any other resources packed before leaving the house for an in-person training session, it’s a good idea to check it all before you sit down to lead a virtual workshop. When you work at the same desk every day, it’s all too easy to assume everything is there until it’s too late! Do future you a favour and check it before the workshop begins.
4. Check Yourself
Are you comfortable? Do you have some water close to hand? Have you already spoken and thrown that early morning frog out of your throat? Have you given yourself time to read over your notes, think about the session and take a moment before it all begins? Be kind to yourself. Throw in a mantra. You’re worth it.
5. Fake a Commute
Stretch out that walk from the kitchen table to your desk and carve out some time to mentally prepare for delivery. Pack your bag, put on your shoes and go for a walk around the block.
Adding a fake commute to the working day can help to improve motivation, productivity and overall health. The change in scenery can also help us to switch mindsets and feel more prepared, energised and ready for the next stage in our day – something that can help you to be at your best when the virtual curtain lifts.
Are you interested in learning more virtual training tips for delivery? Take a look at our Virtual Train the Trainer Programme!