In order to gain maximum Return on Investment, your workshop should be like a good presentation. It needs a great introduction (scene-setting beforehand) and a proper conclusion (follow up afterwards) to enhance the content. Let’s start by having a look at what needs to happen beforehand.
Prior to the session, whether you are delivering online or face to face, it is important to set the scene correctly for your delegates, having them looking forward to the experience and feeling enthusiastic about taking part.
For instance, when delivering online, which is still new to many and therefore open to putting one’s virtual foot in it, I have created a tip sheet to send out in advance to my delegates. Entitled: ‘Making the Most of your Online Training’, it gently suggests the niceties that should be observed when joining over the ether.
Some of the actions proposed may seem plain common sense, though I have found it pays to spell it out clearly. Here are a few of the suggestions I include:
Prior to Attendance:
- Please read and action any pre-work
- Download and print your pdf workbook so that you can complete the gapped exercises
On Attending; Please:
- Be prompt – the sessions are short, so the facilitator will not wait for latecomers, we would like you to arrive 5 minutes beforehand when our Producer will allow you to enter
- Be present – just as you would in a face to face workshop – which means being visible throughout and taking an active part. Blank screens or still photos are not appropriate in a training session
- Where possible, join from a PC or laptop – tablets and phones do not have the same functionality
- Raise your hand if you have a question, our Producer will be looking out for you and will bring you to the attention of the trainer
- Do not use the ‘chat box’ unless invited to do so by your facilitator and do not use the private chat at any time
- Do not take screenshots which include fellow delegates – although you are welcome to capture screen clippings of the slides only
- Enjoy your time with us!
Do not imagine this problem is confined to online training. One of my worst memories of poor scene-setting was as follows: (I found this out from a delegate after suffering several mornings of mutinous expressions and folded arms)
Their manager had informed them all in advance that – to quote – “Listen up everyone, this trainer bird is coming in over the next few days to teach you all how to be less c**p at customer service”
Thus, in one pithy remark, he ensured that:
- the delegates felt undervalued and incompetent
- I was to be viewed as a patronising ’pink and fluffy’ poseur
- the training was condemned as a waste of everyone’s time
So, ensure that whoever is tasked with setting the scene on your behalf can create an air of anticipation and interest. They need the delegates to feel valued and invested in, rather than unskilled and due for correction. If in doubt – set out an email template for their manager/organiser to follow – or offer to write to the delegates yourself.