Just last week, two things happened to make me realize that even though Covid-related lockdowns began in March 2020 (leading to a complete shift from in-person to virtual meetings and training sessions), there are a lot of people who still aren’t quite sure how best to leverage virtual technologies to engage people.
In July, the Association for Talent Development published an article I wrote to expand on this idea of an X-factor in their monthly publication, TD magazine. The article was entitled Presenter, Know Thyself. This concept revolves around a presenter knowledge/ability learning matrix. The article goes into more depth about how to navigate this matrix to become a more effective presenter.
Why is it important to know where you might fall on this matrix? I’ve found this matrix to be very helpful in reassuring me, as a presenter, that I don’t need to be able to do everything perfectly.
At some point in 2011 I decided I wanted to write a book, but my writing was rusty. My 2012 New Years Resolution was to start a blog in hopes that I could knock off the writing rust while compiling some ideas about learning and development. Here we are, about 10 years after I had the urge to write a book. And in today’s Train Like You Listen episode, Sophie Oberstein (author of Troubleshooting for Trainers) spent some time grilling me about this book.
I write that last arrogant suggestion in quasi-jest (if you think the book could be helpful to you as you put together your training programs, I’d love if you bought a copy!). I’d like to thank each and every one of you for taking some time out of your schedule to read my posts and listen to my podcasts each week, thank you for the likes and comments and shares. Thank you for the emails and direct messages you’ve sent. You make me feel like I have something to offer the learning and development community.
At some point in 2011 an idea grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I’d been in the field of learning and development for 10 years and while I tended to hop from one organization to the next every few years, this particular idea stuck with me. I wasn’t quite ready in 2011, so I did the next best thing.
In a post last week, I asked a series of questions to get a better idea of the effort that you’ve needed to apply as you bring training programs to a completely virtual/online environment. If you didn’t have a chance to respond, I invite you to check out the survey questions and add your own responses here.
I promised to share results, and after a week’s worth of data collection, there are some interesting findings, including the fact that one virtual meeting platform is being used FAR MORE than any other, and there is definitely more in-person training that is still happening than I would have hypothesized. Here is the way the survey results have come in to date:
As part of this post, I also asked the following two poll questions:
If you haven’t had a chance to respond to those questions, I invite you to share your thoughts now by selecting the choices that best fit you and your situation. The answers I’ve received so far offered some interesting data points.
Designing effective training is one thing. Designing training that can be delivered effectively (by you or by someone else) is a bit of a different animal. It doesn’t matter whether the training is being delivered in-person or virtually, the person delivering the session is an enormous X Factor in whether the training will be effective or not.
Over the past month, our Endurance Learning team has offered several free webinars on basic ways to put together an engaging virtual session and the importance of the “producer” role. If you missed either session, you can access a recording with the following links:
During each session, we shared some data and several job aids, which I also shared on LinkedIn and received a lot of positive feedback. Instead of having to search through the webinars or my old LinkedIn posts, I thought I’d collect all of those job aids and put them in one place.
What happens if there’s some sort of technological glitch (or worse, a catastrophic freezing up of your computer) when you’re delivering a virtual session?
A few weeks ago, my colleague Lauren Wescott offered a series of virtual sessions focused on the role of a producer. A producer exists to ensure your presenter can focus wholeheartedly on presenting information and engaging the participants.
One important way a producer can do this is by helping troubleshoot issues with the technology while the facilitator focuses on delivering a high quality session. Below is a guide that may help you identify some potential issues your participants are having specifically with Zoom (we’re working on a similar job aid for other platforms).