Leading a meeting or training session in person – no problem! Leading a virtual meeting or training session – a little trickier!
My first introduction to facilitating and leading virtual workshops was when I worked in the telecoms world! Having a geographically dispersed workforce across Canada and internationally resulted in no option but to get creative with the ways in which we communicated. I quickly learned that there were far more nuances of not only preparing for and leading a virtual session, but also ensuring continued participant engagement and interactivity throughout.
Through practice and trial and error, I’ve come to feel comfortable leading sessions virtually and have captured some of the best practices I’ve learned along the way and have since adopted into my virtual meetings and/or training.
|Create a detailed agenda
- Communicates the purpose of the session
- Outlines the process and flow of the session
- Allows participants to understand the why behind the meeting/training and the linkage between their role/agenda items
|Send materials out beforehand (including agenda)
- Saves time in having to handle logistics the day of meeting/training
- Provides participants with an opportunity to print-out or review materials prior to virtual session
- Promotes increased engagement during session due to familiarization with materials in advance
|Complete a dry-run to practice logistics/content
- Exposes opportunities for improvement in advance of meeting/training
- Allows for time to iron out glitches prior to virtual session
- Builds presenter confidence due to familiarity with materials
- Ensures smoother and more effective delivery
|Test out equipment
- Prevents potential technical difficulties on the day of meeting/training
- Prepares you for an alternate plan if technology is not working properly
- Creates organized environment for meeting/training
- Prepares participants and outlines the expectations both pre and during the meeting/training
- Provides clarity on date/time, location, technology (logging in, video etc.), purpose, materials, contact information
|Assign co-facilitators in various locations
- If you are holding a virtual session in multiple locations/offices, you can assign a co-facilitator in each location to assist with set-up, technology, logistics and leading activities
- Provides a more organized virtual session with primes in each location leading activities/meeting
- Captures minutes/key outputs from session
- Provides material/documentation to be sent out to participants post-meeting/training as resource/reference material(s)
|Conduct audio and video check
- Confirms audio is clear, free from noise
- Confirms video is on and participants can view either various rooms/participants in session
|Review technology features
- Provides awareness of multiple features of virtual program, encouraging participants to make full use of interactive functions
- i.e. raising hand, screen sharing, presenter swaps, asking questions, whiteboarding, emoticons, feedback tools
- Provides resource/reference material post-training
- Re-enforces key discussions and outputs of meeting/training
- Introduces all participants in session (i.e. through roll call, quick introductions or attendee names entered during login)
- Provides quick check-in at start of meeting/training
- Captures attendees for reporting purposes
- Utilizes key interactive features of virtual software/programs including polls, whiteboarding, screen sharing, drawing tools, raising hand
- Drives feedback and participation in real time
- Keeps participants engaged throughout the session
- Facilitates participant involvement by emphasizing importance of asking questions either by speaking up, using the raising hand feature or using the chat feature to type in the question
|Communicate meeting/training outputs
- Provides participants with key discussion points/outputs, resource materials and follow-up items
- Provides participants with an opportunity to share their experience and help fine-tune future virtual sessions
- Creates a list of strengths and opportunities
- Allows for continuous improvement to virtual sessions
Don’t be afraid of facilitating a virtual meeting or training session. While it does take exceptional facilitation skills to coordinate, lead and manage a virtual session, it can be run successfully through practice! Adopting some of the above-noted best practices will help set a solid foundation for you to lead a virtual meeting like a pro!
To learn more about our training services, visit: https://upskillconsulting.ca/services/
What can we do to help?
- Conduct preliminary assessment of organizational training needs
- Identify root cause of gaps and pinpoint business opportunity to address gaps
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- Design individualized in-house training programs including face-to-face, virtual and E-learning
- Deliver in-house training programs/sessions/workshops to multiple and respective stakeholders
- Establish mechanisms and tools to evaluate and assess return on investment (ROI) of training
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Some of our popular training sessions and topics include:
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Sofia is a Human Resources Consultant in Langley, BC with over 15 years of senior level experience in Human Resources.She is the Principal and Lead Consultant at Upskill Consulting, a Human Resources (HR) Consulting firm based in Langley, BC, offering personalized and tailored HR support, services and solutions to the Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver regions.
Throughout Sofia's career she has engaged in various functions of HR, always with a mindset of translating business strategy into systematic HR initiatives. Her HR experience has involved overseeing day-to-day operations, developing HR strategies, leading organizational changes and partnering with leadership to drive and deliver on HR principles and business strategies.
Her specialization in HR includes training and capability development, performance management, employee engagement, change management and organizational development.
Sofia has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Simon Fraser University,a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Human Resources Management from Kwantlen Polytechnic University and holds her Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation.
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