How Virtual Training can Work Brilliantly for Introverts
Virtual Training – An Introvert’s Perspective
I am an introvert. Before we continue, let’s clarify what I mean by that. Often, people mistake the term introvert to mean shy or lacking in confidence. Rather, it is about where you get your energy from, how you think and how this impacts your communication.
Introverts mostly find being around groups of people, or highly stimulating environments, very draining. A classic day or face to face (F2F) training workshop is often challenging for us. We often prefer to communicate 1-1 or in small groups, and large groups of people can be incredibly daunting at times.
How Virtual Training can Work Brilliantly for Introverts
All Eyes on Me
If you’re like me, walking into a room full of people you don’t know is awful. When I attend a F2F training session, before the learning has even started, I am uncomfortable. Faced with the task of making idle chitchat with strangers while feeling like all the eyes in the room are staring, makes me want to run for the nearest corner and hide there until the workshop ends.
Virtual Workshops mitigate this almost entirely. As a learner, sometimes I choose not to turn my webcam on. When I do, it only flashes up when I speak, so I avoid the ‘everyone is watching me’ feeling, making me more relaxed and inclined to engage.
So often, when involved in idea-storming and group plenary discussions, I find myself with good ideas and experiences to share, but no chance to offer them, as discussion can be dominated by the extroverts in a group. This is where introverts are mistaken for being shy, when really, we just prefer to stay out of the spotlight.
In Virtual Training, a well delivered workshop means that the trainer can direct talking traffic much better. By using various techniques, trainers can keep a log of who has been interacting the most and then involve and engage the quieter members of the group into discussions. This removes the need for the introvert to feel they must push their opinions forward and subsequently, avoid doing so.
SourceThink you might be an introvert? Here is a blog with 21 signs for you to find out – which ones fit you?
Thinking Before Speaking
I like to think before I speak. Often, I have been bouncing an idea around in my head for a few minutes before I commit to opening my mouth. This way, I have the chance to reflect and maximise the point I want to make. This doesn’t work so well in a group setting; with quick fire questions or group discussion, which usually results in my idea going unsaid.
In a Virtual Workshop however, it’s possible for skilled trainers to accommodate the introverts better. For example, displaying questions on a slide, giving learners a chance to think and reflect before asking them to share answers. This gives everyone precious thinking time before calling on them to contribute.
Something that lends itself very well to many introverts is the idea of a Flipped Workshop. We released a one-minute video about them - you can watch it here.
A Flipped Workshop is where the learners are given the content to consume prior to the workshop, usually via a video or recording. They are then given the time to reflect and digest the content, before coming along to a live workshop to explore it further and put content into practice. By live, this can mean F2F or virtual; though we will always recommend virtual, due to our commitment to reducing carbon and travel.
As an introvert, being given the option to familiarise myself with the content before attending the workshop, rather than having it “sprung” on me, really adds value to training. It gives introverts the time to reflect and order their thoughts before bringing them to a group setting.
Questions to the Group
When asking open questions to a group, in a F2F setting, it is easy to notice when someone is about to speak. In a Virtual Workshop, this isn’t always possible and can be the cause of learners not joining in, for fear of speaking at the same time as someone else. When this does happen, the introvert tends to back down and the extrovert will continue.
An adept Virtual Training trainer will direct this better by leading the group and choosing a learner to answer. “Think about your response to the question on the screen. Heather, I’m going to come to you first.” By announcing who will be answering the question and giving the learners time to think, the challenge of multiple speakers is addressed.
In a F2F session, nothing unnerves me more than the idea of performing in front of a big group of strangers I just recently met. Be it a roleplay, ad lib, scenarios, or on the spot questioning, this situation leaves me uncomfortable.
In a Virtual Workshop, while the scenarios are still possible, it is less exposing, and the groups are smaller. The Virtual Training Team limits their groups to 10 people in a session, which keeps introverts from feeling like they have been forced into the spotlight during breakout sessions or group discussion.
All Types of Engagement
Often in Virtual Workshops there is the functionality for learners to participate through such as a chat box, emojis and ticks/checks. This manner of communication is great for an introvert as it allows communication of a feeling or understanding quickly and easily, without having to fight through a group conversation. There is diminished need to make themselves heard, when they can simply place a tick next to their name to show understanding.
Final ThoughtsAt the Virtual Training Team, we regularly get comments from learners who identify as introverts too, letting us know how much Virtual Training appeals to them.
An article by Cartwright Communications rightly says, “Just because you are an introvert, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy networking”. It just about doing it in ways that make it better for you. Virtual Training is helping to mitigate some of the stresses that a F2F environment can cause, so I think I’ll be sticking to the digital side of learning where possible from now on.
What about you? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you want to try Virtual Training as an alternative to F2F?