The basic rules for conducting an impactful meeting or workshop in person or online are the same: keep people engaged, encourage participation, get the most out of them, etc. However, in a virtual environment, the rules differ from those in a physical one. The following tips were taught to me over the past few months on how to get the most out of an online workshop.
Tip 1: Cameras on
So many years of school and university have taught us the basic principles of coexistence in a face-to-face class. But these rules do not always apply to an online environment.
Therefore, if you are the facilitator or presenter, start the session with a slide with the main “rules of coexistence” for all participants: Everyone cameras on; microphones muted unless someone wants to comment; And please, do not start with “Can you hear me?”, the facilitator or the participants will be in charge of telling you in the chat if something goes wrong. It is also important to encourage participants to use the chat at the beginning, so that they become familiar with it.
Tip 2: “the good, if brief, twice as good”
Do not even try. There is no way you can get people to want to meet in an online session all day, much less two days in a row. My advice is that you try to space the sessions during the week and that they last no more than 2 hours. In our case, we decided to propose a work plan of 2 sessions every two weeks, each session lasting two hours. It’s amazing how much can be done in 2 hours of work if you set a good schedule and plan your goals for each session in advance.
Also important is the role of the facilitator in time management and keeping the focus on the objectives to be achieved. For this function create a kind of parking lot where you can put those points that deviate you from the final objective and that you can bring to light in other sessions or offline with the participant.
Tip 3: Large group vs. small group
Even though leading a group discussion in person can be challenging, doing it online can be even more challenging. The number of participants per session was limited to 10 in our case. Using visual tools when moderating is key to getting participants to capture their thoughts first, so you can then ask them to present their two main ideas to the group.
In my last tip, I mentioned that you can have them use some tools to do this on paper. We created small discussion subgroups with three participants each in Klaxoon training’s to take advantage of our large group. You can increase participation in the workshop by creating smaller groups using this functionality.
Tip 4: Different time zones
Organizing a permanent team that works together during the workshops is one of the challenges of creating workshops with a global focus. Understanding the different time zones is crucial to making this work. Try to group up with someone in the same or adjacent time zone whenever possible.
In cases where different time zones need to be covered (+10 hours), try to alternate the workshop hours so that all members of the team can participate. You must maintain the engagement of participants who were unable to connect if this is your case. The workshop can be done through Klaxoon Teams or by holding a 15-minute Klaxoon where the results are discussed.
Tip 5: Useful tools
Klaxoon is a virtual meeting program we recommended it. They introduce the workshop platform, bringing unmatched capabilities to accomplish tasks. The work of organizations of all kinds must be rethought in a sustainable manner, regardless of their sectors or missions. Work becomes more human and more responsible with Klaxoon by providing teams with a collaborative environment and the right tools, regardless of location.
Your online workshops will be more engaging by following these tips. By leaving a comment below, you can share your recommendations with everyone.