Hello everyone, this is Tom Hallett from the Learn Grow Succeed Podcast.
Today’s podcast is all about running an effective virtual training event.
Despite the recent uptake in virtual meetings due to situations beyond our control, for many leaders, virtual training sessions might still seem like a very advanced and technical undertaking. But all it takes is careful planning and a little help from the experts – which I’m going to give you today – and you will realise that not only are they easy to implement once you get the hang of things, they’re actually really effective and you won’t look back!
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So, let’s get started with my essential points to running an effective virtual training session. This may be an event you run internally, or you utilise the skills of a training organisation like ourselves at Excel.
There are five points – nice and easy to remember, so let me begin with the first one, and that is creating a game plan for your event.
1. Creating a Game Plan is All About the Core Strategy of Your Training Event
First things first, before you get into anything else, I want you to think about the following questions –
- What is going to be the topic of your training event? (and a tip here – a catchy title can go a long way in the world of training so make sure yours is punchy and if you can, use some alliteration).
- What outcomes are you hoping for from this training event?
- Who is going to host the event? Will you have any guest speakers?
- Is the event going to be live, on-demand or both?
- What time and date are you going to choose to host? Is this allowing for time-zone differences if you’re going to have an international audience?
- How are you going to promote the event either internally or externally?
- What platform are you going to use to host the event?
Now, there’s a lot to think about here, and a lot of this information you might know straight away – you will probably already have a topic in mind that you want to host your event around, and an idea of what you are looking to get from hosting this training.
But have you sat down and mapped out the sections, written your introduction and any pre or post-session activities you might want to include? The truth is, probably not, which brings me onto my next point – planning and designing your training event.
2. Creating Your Event
Your training event should be around a topic that you’re knowledgeable about, logically! And it should contain real value for everyone who attends.
Now, a suggestion for the title – asking an open question in your title will create an open loop in the participant’s minds. An open-loop question is when you set up an intriguing situation which leaves the reader wanting to know more. So by asking an enticing question in your title, participants are much more likely to register and join to ‘close the loop’ so to speak.
Map out your training event in sections – each section must have a clear message, and the more concise you can deliver your message, the better – people will switch off if your content feels excessively drawn-out.
Create slides or flip charts to go with each topic area so that attendees have something to look at while you’re talking through each section, and these can include exercises you might want to get people to work through too.
Often, it’s the practicalities of actually hosting an event which catches people out – so next, I want to go through what you practically need to do before you start promoting your event.
3. Webinar/Meeting Hosting – Getting Prepared
Here in the UK, there are several great platforms out there at the moment for you to host your training events, including Zoom, Go To Meeting and Go To Webinar.
If you want to record your webinar to use as training material afterwards, check that your platform allows you to do this and make sure you have a test run at first with your tech team.
During the event, this is an amazing opportunity to get some engagement, and you can do this by allowing participants to contribute, so make sure you get to grips with all of the features of your platform beforehand.
Remember that not all attendees will be tech-savvy, so make sure you know exactly how everything works so that everything runs smoothly.
For some inspiration, you can check out some examples of our free webinars on the Excel website – I’ll leave a link in the transcription.
So, once you’re confident that everything is ready to go, now you can start to promote the event.
4. Encouraging Engagement and Follow-Up
So here we are after you’ve hosted your training event – everything has gone smoothly, and that’s great – well done! You’re confident that you delivered a great training event and the feedback forms have a huge tick.
This, in many ways, is just the start of your journey.
Ask all attendees to provide feedback for your event – this is an effective way to keep the conversation open between yourself and your audience, and you might even get some useful feedback.
In an email, redirect attendees to other resources you can provide them with – this could be videos, previous webinars, downloadable reports.
Also ask them to connect with you on LinkedIn to keep informed of any further free webinars – if they’ve attended one, there is a statistically high chance that they will again.
So, there we have it – my guide to hosting a virtual training event. I hope you find this useful and that it inspires you to get out there and start planning your own event.
Until next time!
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