With the WomenTech Global Conference 2020 just around the corner, we wanted to support you, our 200+ speakers, in the preparation of your presentation or workshop. We created a three-part series and in this guide, you can find tips on how to:
Create a Successful Virtual Workshop - so that your participants stay engaged and leave with new skills and knowledge.
10 Strategies for Facilitating a Successful Virtual Workshop
In challenging times, learning shouldn't stop, therefore we've compiled a list of strategies, which you can incorporate into your virtual workshop to make it engaging and educational for the participants:
1. Engage All The Way Through:
Start by engaging people immediately. Tell them what's in it for them. Use questions, powerful quotes, videos, the beginning of a story, anything that will make them want to stay till the end. Repeat that tactic throughout the workshop.
2. Be Personable:
When doing a workshop online it's more important to build a rapport and connect with the participants than it is when you're face to face because there is a physical barrier between you. Make sure, if possible, that you greet the people coming in or if it's a really large group, ask an ice-breaking question in the chat, and then you can comment on their responses to show that personal touch, include their names when you do that. Repeat that throughout the session.
3. Make Sure People Know What They're Doing:
First, if they need something to prepare for your workshop, make sure that you include that in the description of it. Then, if you're going to have them participate actively using the tools of the software provided, count in a few minutes in the beginning during which you'll explain shortly how to use the tools provided.
4. Make the Most Of Your Time:
Like in speech writing, make sure you know your audience and tailor your content to them so that no one feels excluded when they join you. It can be tempting to put a lot of information or exercises into the workshop, but follow the "less is more" rule and identify several learning objectives and focus on them. Check in often with your audience, as they will be more easily distracted in a virtual environment.
5. Create Meaningful Interactions:
A virtual workshop should be interactive with lots of opportunities for people to get involved. Therefore, set the expectations for how the audience should get involved at the beginning of the event, and keep them active throughout at regular intervals.
6. Pay Attention to Your Slides:
You can refer to the tips in our article regarding virtual presentation skills to create slides that are going to work in your favor and keep people engaged.
7. Encourage Learning By Doing:
Think of ways in which you can involve your audience in a way where they have to perform tasks to remember and digest the information you serve them better.
8. Include a Call To Action:
Think of your workshop as just the first step of a long-term learning journey. Whatever you have taught the participants, they should be able to incorporate into their personal or work lives, at least that should be your goal. This can't happen in just one workshop, so think of the ongoing support you can provide for your participants. You can give them directions on what to do after the workshop to supplement what they learned, you can offer them toolkits or other materials for download after the session, or ask them to make a commitment on what they'll do next on your topic.
9. Plan and Practice:
Plan the activities and main points of your workshop. Think about how long you want to spend on each so you can pace yourself. Create your slides in this step according to best practices. Think if you want to add extra learning materials for after the session that you can give access to. In the practice section, see if you actually fit in the time frame you have.
10. Have Fun:
It might sound too casual, but as it is with giving a presentation, your energy will affect the participants, so if you're not enthusiastic, they won't be either. You can also think of an ice-breaker for the beginning of the workshop that puts people at ease or you can include funny videos or memes here and there just to add in a bit of excitement.
There you have it, your short guide to engaging workshops that you can use for the upcoming WomenTech Global Conference 2020 or for future workshops.