If there’s one thing we’ve learned during this awful pandemic, it’s that we don’t have to be ‘face-to-face’ to communicate with one another. That certainly goes for training. Yes, online meet ups can be clunky, and who doesn’t miss the natural interaction of being with people in the same place at the same time?
Only just think if Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams weren’t available? How would we manage then? Imagine trying to conduct a training session over the phone, asking someone: “OK can you move on to the next Powerpoint slide please? What’s that? You didn’t get the presentation…? Hold on I’ll resend it. Aaargh! It says your inbox is full…can I WeTransfer it to you instead? Just give me 10 minutes.”
As a media trainer I’ve had to reimagine how to deliver my course during the various lockdowns, firebreaks and quarantines. I’ve had to consider what works best for clients and in particular rethink the time needed for effective delivery. Normally, I’d allow up-to five hours for a face-to-face group session.
That was never going to work online. It’s now a maximum of three hours, with four or five short screen breaks in-between to avoid ‘screen-itis’. Start promptly at 9:00 and by midday everything can be done and dusted allowing everyone to get on with the rest of their day, which is what they want to do. So far, client feedback has been very positive.
A shorter timeframe naturally meant deciding what course content to keep, and what I had to leave out. Simply talking faster was never an option! Rather than try and put up a whole load of stuff online and risk losing everyone’s attention, I’ve been sending out separate complimentary material which allows trainees to absorb it in their own time.
Like most other people working online I’ve had to understand how to get the most from Microsoft Teams and Zoom―including encouraging as much interactivity as possible, along with the best moment to ask people to ‘mute’ their mics! There’s nothing more off-putting than hearing your own voice echoing back to you as you’re speaking, or those unintended ‘noises off’.
As we all struggle to find some normality in our lives we’re having to do many things differently. Remote training is certainly different. But with some forethought, reflection and re-setting it can be the work-around that still works for you.