We are being asked more frequently to facilitate hybrid training sessions – some participants are in person and others are beaming in via Zoom/Teams on larger or more often than not, smaller screens.
It’s quite a challenge! Where do you physically stand to ensure you don’t have your back to anyone? How do you make an extra effort to include all participants and give them a voice? What sort of activities do you include? How do you encourage participants to write on flipchart paper and also type into chat or onto virtual whiteboards?
Here are some tips that helped us and please add more to the list:
• Do more regular check-ins to ensure that everyone ‘gets’ your key messages – “How are you tracking?” Or “What else do you need to know to be able to apply this technique?”
• Try to ‘equalise’ the participants by having everyone do an online poll or form a wordcloud via their devices. There are many free apps for this purpose.
• Be very conscious of how vital it is to include everyone. Make lots of eye contact with the virtual participants and directly call them by name to respond or to give an opinion.
• Pair a participant who is in the physical room with someone who is attending virtually. They can still chat about a topic and then provide feedback to the larger group.
• When participants are paired, the participant in the room can also set up a private chat channel with the virtual participant to so that they ensure that their ‘buddy’ remains on track and included.
• Do you best to ensure that there are large screens in the room so that the participants who are coming via one of the virtual platforms aren’t just a tiny tile on the screen.
• Do sound, microphone and connection tests before the session commences – ask the Zoom/Teams participants to log in earlier so that the technology doesn’t impact the experience for all participants.
• Have people in the room physically get up and walk to the room camera when they want to ask questions or comment.
• Planning is a must for hybrid sessions. Include a screen dedicated to on-line participants and multiple cameras and remote microphone so the presenter could move between lectern to whiteboard. Participants appreciate the extra effort to engage via having chat comments fed back to larger group live by the presenter.
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