“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Alexander Graham Bell
Your virtual communication will be more effective if you prepare your physical space, your virtual space, and yourself so that you can stay focused.
Prepare Your Physical Space
- Choose a place with limited distractions that meets your work needs and will be comfortable and quiet for an extended period of time.
- Get as close as possible to your router for optimal speed as well as optimal audio and video quality.
- Get as close as comfortably possible to your computer screen and sit forward so you appear present and engaged.
- If possible, sit facing or next to a window because natural light feels warmer and more comforting. Otherwise, have
“I believe that first impressions are very important.” F.W. de Klerk
If you want to make a positive impression on a virtual platform, here are things you should NOT do:
- Sit far back from the computer screen so you seem detached.
- Not look at the camera so there is no eye contact.
- Look down at the camera so you seem aloof.
- Have clutter in the background.
- Not turn off email or other messaging applications.
- Not minimize external distractions.
- Check email during the conversation.
- Have lighting behind you or to the side, creating a shadow on your face.
- Allow sunlight, direct or reflected, to shine into the webcam.
- Wear black, white or bright colors that may reflect light.
- Wear thin stripes
“There is comfort in rituals, and rituals provide a framework for stability when you are trying to find answers.” Deborah Norville
I recently conducted a two-day class on How to Design Accelerated Learning Programs. It reminded me of the importance of rituals, something that the participants can anticipate will be repeated. And it got me thinking about what constituted a ritual. Here are my thoughts:
- At the beginning of a program, I use a Koosh toss to have participants introduce themselves. At the end of every day, I use a Koosh toss to have participants report out their key takeaways.
- I repeat a key concept throughout the day by asking the participants to explain it.
- Once I’ve taught
“It takes an extraordinary intelligence to contemplate the obvious.” Alfred North Whitehead
I’ve facilitated train the trainer and presentation skills workshops both nationally and internationally for many many years. But it was gently pointed out to me in a recent workshop that I’ve been debriefing facilitation practices backwards!
Let me explain. In my train the trainer workshops, participants learn how to create participatory lesson plans and design participatory learning activities. For the last day, they design a 10-minute learning activity at a learning level of application or above. This is on a topic relevant to the other participants in an activity they have never facilitated before.
In debriefing, I’ve always asked for the observers’ feedback regarding the strengths of the … Read the rest
“I’ve been imitated so well I’ve heard people copy my mistakes.” Jimi Hendrix
I just attended a three- day marketing seminar conducted by a self-proclaimed curriculum design expert. It was very disappointing to see once again what happens when a trainer ignores the basics and sets learners up to fail.
She made ten glaring mistakes. We covered the first five in last week’s Tip. Here are mistakes 6-10:
- Never hold a one-on-one conversation with a participant in response to a question or comment that many could not hear.
Instead, repeat every question and comment before you answer it. This is both a courtesy and a necessity for those who might have shared the same concern or confusion and needed … Read the rest
“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.” Mark Twain
Over the years, the term “lecturette” has been used to reinforce the idea that trainers should keep their lectures brief, limited to no more than 10 minutes. After that, trainers are encouraged to give their participants an opportunity to interact with the information, either to check their comprehension or allow them to test or apply what they have learned.
A lightning talk is a conference presentation that, like lightning, beams a brief flash of light that strikes to the core of a discrete subject. It is a concise, clear and insightful form of communication. It is also very quick, typically 3-6 minutes and definitely … Read the rest