What does it take to be a great virtual trainer?
Certainly, there are some fundamental virtual trainer / facilitation skills that translate well, whether in a virtual environment or a classroom setting.
Those fundamental virtual trainer skills are:
• The ability to navigate and engage varying personalities
• The ability to tailor the training to the needs of a group
• The skill of summarizing conversations
• The focus to keep the group on track and on time.
But becoming a great virtual trainer requires much more than that.
There is a fundamental difference between managing an instructor led group through a winning personality and connecting with a group of people that you don’t get to see face to face as a virtual trainer.
The audience is inherently distracted with everything on their desktop. And they don’t get that up close and personal feeling which drives some level of accountability when their facilitator is a mere voice behind the PowerPoint deck. In front of the classroom, that connection and accountability is almost a given but not so in the virtual world.
So…given that, what are the 5 key skills that turn a trainer into a great virtual trainer?
1) Technical Mastery of Platform. Let’s face it – our time is precious. As participants, we need that honored. A great virtual trainer can direct participants around the environment when they get stuck. And she also anticipates challenges they might encounter and essentially sets them up for success as learners. Mastery also means knowing how to problem-solve on the fly. The variety of glitches that can occur in the virtual platform are numerous so it’s important for a virtual trainer to have ‘escape routes’ for what to do when things go wrong.
2) Start Strong. A virtual trainer has just minutes to create a connection and establish the value they have to add to their participants. This comes from credibility, showing relevance to the unique audience and resetting expectations for a virtual classroom within the first few (5) minutes.
3) Strong Vocal Skills. Virtually, strong vocal skills carry the day. This does not mean loud, but it does mean a voice with lots of inflection, tone and a varied pace. It also means a voice that conveys authenticity and does not sound patronizing. Think of some of your favorite radio voices: Stuart McLean of the Vinyl Café comes to mind. Listen to anything he narrates and see what I mean. http://www.cbc.ca/vinylcafe/ . I could listen to him for hours – sometimes do. A great virtual trainer needs a voice that can maintain enthusiasm and interest for the duration of the class.
4) Commitment to Teach. I’ve seen many great instructor-led trainers fail at the commitment to truly teach when they move into the virtual platform. I suspect it’s because the technology can scare the virtual trainer right out of us! The commitment to teach requires a desire to truly impart learning to others. Just as participants can’t connect with the instructor that they can’t see, virtual trainers have trouble connecting with participants that they can’t see. So they succumb to the tendency keep on lecturing. But lecturing is not teaching. Teaching requires practice and the application of skills. It requires the opportunity to have questions answered. Finding creative ways to do this in the virtual classroom set a virtual trainer apart from the rest.
5) It’s About Them. Finally, remember that they whole reason they tuned in is to learn something that they can use. Great virtual training is really about learning HOW to be there for others.
- In other words, how do I pick up on the cues and nuances when I can’t see the group?
- How can I tell when they are bought in vs. when they just want to move to the next topic?
- It means checking in with the audience frequently.
- It means a willingness to hear the hard news and then course correct if you’re missing the mark. It means that you’re there in service to the participants, not in service to yourself.
- A dose of humility also leads to a great virtual trainer.
In a nutshell, becoming a great virtual trainer is not impossible but it does require a shift in how we train. When done well, we end up with the same great connections that can be created in the instructor led classroom where learning is taking place and participants are excited about what they are learning.
But remember, being a great virtual trainer requires confidence, commitment and lots of practice.
Mastering the Art of Virtual Delivery
Mastering the Art of Virtual Delivery is a three-part workshop (2 hours per session) where trainers learn and apply the skills that will set their workshops apart. This course is designed for facilitators, comfortable with Instructor Led Training and interested in developing skills for effective delivery in the world of Virtual Training. At the end of this workshop, participants will be better able to:
- Create connection with virtual participants
- Demonstrate mastery of vocal skills to keep participants engaged
- Learn and practice virtual facilitator essentials
- Utilize visual resources to maintain participant’s interest
- Demonstrate a learner-centric versus content centric-approach
- Receive personal feedback from facilitator and peers on virtual delivery skills.
If you want to get firsthand training on how to Sign up now – space is limited to 10 participants per workshop!
Upcoming Trainings Dates- $495:
- August 15, 22, 29 – Thursdays @ 10:00 AM PST – 12:00 PM PST
- September 9, 16, 23 – Mondays @ 10:00 AM PST – 12:00 PM PST
- October 4, 18, 25 – Fridays @ 10:00 AM PST – 12:00 PM PST
- November 4, 11, 18 – Mondays @ 10:00 AM PST – 12:00 PM PST
- December 2, 9, 16 – Mondays @ 10:00 AM PST – 12:00 PM PST
Or contact us to ask your virtual trainer questions or to schedule a dedicated session for your team.