We really appreciated this question from Alexis in Sydney last week on our coaching call...
Hey Marcus, really hoping you can help, we had planned a stack of workshops in September but right now I'm wondering if I should just cancel. The team energy feels low, people seem anxious and don't want to put on their camera and one person even spoke to me last week about feeling "digitally" exhausted. I'm really struggling to get much out of meetings and the idea of some full day workshops is really daunting right now.
We don't think Alexis is alone, as we are all adapting in some ways to what the new normal of work feels like, and the added pressures of Covid in most parts of Australia is not helping.
We didn't consider it at the time, but we are somewhat blessed to have worked with global teams since 2010, whether on oil and gas or financial services programs, so remote work came quite naturally to our team. However, this is not the case for a large number of people and organisations, and learning to facilitate successfully virtually has taken years of experiments and training.
Our top 3 tips for Alexis:
Focus on the purpose and outcome of the workshop. If the attendees can naturally and quickly see the value, this will instantly bring energy to your sessions.
Be kind with time. Get creative around duration of sessions, have regular breaks and ensure everyone is engaged and refreshed when they return. Consider running an 8 hour workshop over 1 hour breakfast sessions for 8 days rather than trying to keep everyone engaged for 8 hours straight - the change in dynamic is remarkable.
Boost natural energy. From sparking movement to engaging other senses such as sound or even touch through drawing and play you'll be surprised at the difference this can make during your workshop or meeting.
Alexis and our Coach worked through the above, and she facilitated her first new design workshop on Friday. Our final tip for her was work with the audience and constantly seek feedback, a result of 4.7/5 spoke for itself!
Well done Alexis!
If you, your leadership team or anyone within your organisation is looking for help with virtually facilitating meetings or workshops and holding the attention of the audience, please reach out or learn more about our virtual facilitation course here.