Back in early March, I wrote about leading a virtual training session. Remember, even though you may not be a formal trainer within your organization, you should be familiar with some basic concepts since all leaders have to provide coaching, mentoring, and even some informal training.
After leading a few virtual training sessions this past month, I was reminded of a few additional tips:
– Check your content. Content that works well for a traditional in-person setting may not have the same effect for virtual sessions. For example, you may have training slides stuffed with content that could take you 10 minutes to get through with your class, which may work well if you are standing in front of the class and capturing their attention. In a virtual classroom, minds will quickly wander if you lecture too long. Think about breaking the content to keep things moving and keep a visual pace. Don’t crowd the slides with information. This will hinder retention. It is better to have more slides with fewer details on each. Note, stay away from too much animation in your slideware. It may look great off of your PC but drag through some desktop sharing applications.
– Check the presentation design. Again, your participants will likely be fixated on the training material you are sharing versus watching you, so pay close attention to the layout. Are you guiding eyes in a predictable way (i.e. left to right, top to bottom)? Avoid distracting colors, ensure background images are subtle, keep your font consistent, and avoid mixing clipart and photos. If you are using a PowerPoint template, make sure the template matches the tone and content of your presentation. Ultimately, you want to engage and generate interest without distracting the participant. Check out the 2 header slides for a class on brainstorming techniques. Which do you think is more appropriate?
– Use visual cues. It’s okay to provide your own personal reminders within the presentation. Often these can be subtle hints to ensure you ask a question of the audience, provide additional information, or have participants engage ina group activity. See the example below and spot the visual cue. In many cases, your audience will never even notice it.
Good luck creating your own online presentations or virtual classes!