In our last post, we shared some tips on how to start off on the right foot for your virtual workshops.
In this second part of the series, we dive deeper into what you can do DURING the workshop. We want to take you through some of the ways you and your teams can innovate while conducting your workshops remotely – because, like innovating for your company, working with different tools to achieve the same objective requires a little innovation too. In short, you need to know how to make virtual workshops work for you.
Tips and tricks you can use during your virtual workshop
Set microphones to off mode – Set your meetings to start with microphones off for everyone that comes into the room. Having your participants aware that they are mute by having to choose to unmute will help you control unwanted noise from someone not aware their microphone is on. The last thing you need in a workshop is to hear someone tapping away on their keyboard when someone else is speaking. While you can silence the room as the moderator, it’s nice not to have to.
Make use of breakout rooms – These are excellent for simulating a real event and helps to keep the workshop collaborative as people get to work in small groups and have more of a say in the proceedings. Plan it well so that you have a facilitator per group. If your app doesn’t have this feature, consider creating separate event links for each group and set a time by which everyone needs to return to the main event.
Use collaboration tools – Just as in a physical workshop, you still need to make use of flipboards, whiteboards and walls. Most conferencing apps like Microsoft Teams and Zoom have inbuilt whiteboards you can present onscreen. We personally love Stormboard because of how interactive and intuitive it is. Find one that works for you so you can create that virtual wall to bounce ideas off.
How to make virtual workshops work? Go wireless
It’s a known fact in year 2 of the pandemic that virtual meetings have lost their novelty, and there’s a variety of reasons why. A lot of them have to do with the frustration and discomfort of being stuck in front of a computer for hours, sometimes even days at a time.
Using desktop and wired devices keeps you captive at your desk, which may be good business for chiropractors down the line, but it’s not doing your posture any good and can make attendees very restless if the event is of any significant duration. Most employees at home won’t be using ergonomic desks and chairs, so the risk of chronic pain is real. This in turn causes a loss of focus in virtual meetings as attention moves to the pain rather than the topic at hand. Being wired in also means that if you have to leave your desk during the workshop, you could miss important parts of the discussion.
So, how to make virtual workshops work in this sense? A simple solution is to use wireless devices like earbuds and tablets. These allow you to get up and walk around while taking the workshop with you. You are free to get away from your desk, stand up and stretch any time you feel the need, or get to the fridge for a quick snack without FOMO. It’s even been seen that people take whole workshops while walking on a treadmill. (See, there are advantages to doing it virtually.) Just don’t make the mistake of taking your devices into the bathroom with you!
And finally, it’s the little touches that make the difference.
Background music playing as you wait for the room to fill creates a positive and lively ambiance right from the start. Encouraging team members to support those speaking by giving non-audio signs of appreciation such as “claps”, “love” and “thumbs up” adds to the collaborative environment as do those playful virtual backgrounds. Again, these are all available on Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
If you are wondering how to make virtual workshops work for you, remember to treat them as their own thing, not your same physical workshop online. As we’ve hinted above, people are now jaded by virtual meetings, so find ways to roll out the fun to keep the room energised. And remember, when it comes to innovating your business, a virtual workshop to get things moving is better than none at all. If you missed part 1 of the series, check it out here.