How to Lead a Virtual Session Like A Pro

Sep 11, 2018 | Training and Development

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.

 

Pre-Meeting/Pre-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
Communicate logistics/details
  • 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
Assign notetaker
  • Captures minutes/key outputs from session
  • Provides material/documentation to be sent out to participants post-meeting/training as resource/reference material(s)

During Meeting/Training

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
Record session
  • Provides resource/reference material post-training
  • Re-enforces key discussions and outputs of meeting/training
Introduce attendees/participants

 

  • 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
Incorporate interactivity
  • 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
Encourage questions
  • 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

Post Meeting/Training

Communicate meeting/training outputs
  • Provides participants with key discussion points/outputs, resource materials and follow-up items
Solicit feedback
  • 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!

 


 

 

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