Virtual training certainly got a bad reputation over the years. It was like you were listening to a radio station that wasn’t quite tuned in. You just couldn’t quite hear and see everything that was going on. You were being talked at but didn’t get to talk back or ask questions. The writing on the presentation was in tiny print and unreadable.
Technology has advanced with faster internet connections and better video resolution. But still virtual training was getting a bad reputation. But then something changed. Now 70% or more of employee training is conducted using a browser with internet connection. Companies have embraced using the technology better with clearer sound and better presentations. But it still lacks the interaction we need to learn and engage. Most companies have a minimal set of interactive features on their webinars or online meetings.
Engagement on webinars is important. Ask the questions in the question pane, raise your hand virtually and present your ideas to the group verbally or a quick chat message. There’s a lot of evidence you learn more by being engaged. As a Business Analyst you are comfortable asking questions for elicit requirements and joining in group discussions. We try to make all our webinars engaging and fun with trivia and ice breakers to get to know you fellow attendees. This gets the blood pumping if you will and gets everyone involved and learning.
Engagement is measured by more than just wiggling your mouse to keep the screen saver from starting. So think about that for your next online meeting or webinar. Do we all know each other? Get the introductions rolling and make sure everyone is aware who is online. New person joining the meeting? Introduce them to all the folks in the virtual room and even throw in everyone’s roles. Make the new guy feel at home. Get those ground rules down – how will you handle questions? Is it being recorded? How will you ensure everyone is engaged in your online meeting or webinar?
Be careful what you present. Keep the font size above 24 points if possible. If the text is too small, it is harder to see on mobile devices and smaller monitors. Your 27-inch monitor is going to display a lot more detail then a 15-inch laptop screen or a smart phone. People are more and more mobile. Giving them the option of attending your meeting via their smart phone in an airport can help you get decisions and answers faster.
Pause so attendees can catch up. Silence isn’t a bad thing. Talking at hundred miles per hour and not allowing anyone to get a word in edge wise may seem efficient but really leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. Pause every now and then to give time for folks to take themselves off mute. You would think taking yourself off mute would take a second but today’s smart phones can be cumbersome.
Watch your chat screen. Attendees may want to send you a quick note to let you know they need to leave early or have arrived late. This helps keeps the flow of the meeting without interruptions. We recommend turning off those announcements or make them less verbose. When you have 20+ people all entering the room at the same time it’s very confusing. Although they are helpful in shaming someone for arriving late, in the end they just disrupt the flow of the meeting.
Get the report. Most virtual systems have a way to see who logged into the meeting. Just add this report to the meeting notes. Less work all around on taking attendance.
What else can you think of for running an online meeting or webinar? Hit me up in the comments below.
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