5 tips to make virtual training work

By Neil Shorney, Director, Navanter Knowledge Bites.

The training industry is beginning to wake up to the fact that virtual training is here to stay. I've just finished a call with a client who had audible excitement in her voice for the ability to reach new audiences who are just too far away for face-to-face training to be practical.

Here are 5 quick tips to deliver virtual training that works:
  1. Get comfortable with the tech
    Tech in a physical training room is easy - you need to use the forward and backward button on PowerPoint, and you need to be able to take the lid off a whiteboard marker. That's it, pretty much, unless there's a fancy coffee machine in the room. Online, however, it's a different matter and all those things you'd do naturally in a "real" room now have buttons to control them! The good news is, most things you do in "real life" are possible online. For a course to run well, though, it needs to be slickly done, and practice and preparation are key.

  2. Get into the zone
    For many of us, when we step into a physical training room, we become performers as we work hard to engage a room full of learners. Virtual training can feel a little lower-impact to the trainer as it's just you in a room. Take steps to get yourself "in the zone" for your training, such as dressing smartly, perhaps putting some energising music on before you start, and remember that you're still speaking to real people who are expecting something amazing from you.

  3. Stand up
    It helps. It helps you to make your voice more energetic, your diction clearer, and make the use of body language easier. And it helps your learners as it comes across so much more energetically on camera. It will also mark you out as different from all those boring Zoom sessions they've attended in the past, which helps to set the right mindset from the start.

  4. Get your materials right
    In a physical training room, I rarely use PowerPoint. In the virtual world, it's pretty much required. Participants need to see variety on their screen, they need to see colours, and they need to see movement. But think about the slides you create. There's no problem in using a lot of slides, as long as they're not too busy. Take a look at this excellent YouTube video for more thoughts on that.

  5. Focus on the human element
    You're a human, and your learners are (for the most part) human, too. Yet there's all this technology separating you, which drain away the personal connection. Take extra effort to use people's names, to look at the camera, and to engage people as individuals rather than a wall of faces on a screen.

To learn more about how to run effective virtual training, check our our popular course.


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