Nowadays, many of us are facing the challenge of transforming a physical workplace into a virtual one. Since the majority of the organizations are adopting remote setups, the need for facilitators to help facilitate workshops or meetings is becoming the new normal. The best facilitators assist teams in moving towards their desired outcomes in a systematic manner by applying trusted facilitation methodologies and approaches.
Many experts believe that remote facilitation and online workshops will become more common and significant in the future. Developing the right skills and tools necessary to be an effective remote facilitator will prepare your team and organization for the future and enable you to engage with virtual teams and remote workers.
Let’s dive deep into knowing the common challenges of virtual workshop facilitation which are as follows:
1) Using and managing the right tools
As a facilitator, it’s important to control and have a complete understanding of the tools that you’re using. Due to the plenty of video conferencing tools available in workshop tools such as Zoom, Teams, or Hangout, we often tend to choose the one that offers ease and comfort. It’s always a great idea to mix different methods such as posting ideas, creating groups, etc. in order to increase interaction and participation from several individuals. Moreover, keeping note of which tool to use makes it easy to communicate things effectively. Testing new things and experimenting with the combination of tools with a colleague or friend results in better planning and successful conduction of a workshop.
2) Holding people’s focus and attention for a virtual workshop
For grabbing people’s attention for virtual workshops, it’s preferable to have a strategy based on smaller interventions and shorter synchronous video calls. Since people have shorter attention spans when it comes to working in a digital environment, it also becomes harder to keep pace with the energy of the group on calls. It’s also beneficial to consider what participants can do ahead of time in order to be effective with time management. The involvement of activities based on participants’ interests will result in better engagement from them. Simplification of the workshop in order to ensure that participants spend less time grasping activities and more time implementing them and processing the relevant information.
3) Activate people and create a relaxed and trust-filled environment
The most essential thing in a virtual workshop is to make the participants feel safe and secure before the beginning of a discussion in a virtual workshop. Moreover, one must ensure that everyone is in the flow of following the same guidelines in a video meeting. For example, instructing the participants to not post in the chat unless required. Also, getting feedback from participants not only after the completion of the whole session but also in the middle of it would help in improving the deliverability of future sessions based on current feedback.
To conclude, as teams and organizations will spend more time in online workshops and remote meetings, it is important to ensure that these are effective and well-facilitated in order to enable remote teams to feel connected, productive, and contribute to the organization's success. Since leading in the digital sphere differs from leading in the physical sphere. It might certainly serve the same function and achieve the same objectives, but it will necessitate fresh talents and insights into what works and what does not. One needs to facilitate digital interaction as much as you would if you were going for face-to-face interaction.
Remote facilitation isn’t just the future: it’s happening right now and gradually taking its space to an extreme level.
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