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The Engaging Virtual Trainer

The Engaging Virtual Trainer

21st February, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do business in many ways. These changes include the new norms of working from home while holding virtual meetings with clients and team members. Employee learning is also changing as the face-to-face training model is giving way to new models of virtual training. However, conducting virtual training is not the same as training in the classroom. Trainers who are experienced in the classroom are not necessarily successful in the virtual world as training virtually is a very different game.

To make virtual training sessions effective, the following 21 rules (since we are in 2021) must be considered:

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
  2. Have a solid dark background for better visibility.
  3. Keep the camera just below the eye level.
  4. Try to look at the camera not the screen or the videos of the participants.
  5. Exaggerate facial expressions and the volume/pitch of your tone.
  6. Slow down when explaining complex concepts.
  7. Use pauses regularly for participants to reflect.
  8. Less lectures, more activities.
  9. Less is more. Only include the must-know information.
  10. Give more frequent mental and physical breaks as attention spans are shorter.
  11. Know your platform (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) and practice well beforehand.
  12. Give specific and clear explanations.
  13. Set a timer on the screen during breaks for better control and time management.
  14. Remind participants to stretch and drink water during physical breaks.
  15. Use visual props more frequently.
  16. Always add humor.
  17. Use the platform features such as breakout rooms, annotating, chats, polls, etc.
  18. Encourage discussions at all times.
  19. Memorize participant names.
  20. Share a lot of stories and examples.
  21. Engage participants every 4-5 minutes.

Moreover, in every virtual training session, the CORE principle should be applied:

  • Closers: Finish your training session with an exciting idea, quote, video, story, statistic, riddle, or joke.
  • Openers: Open your training session with an engaging game, activity, story, or poll. Personally, I love the Kahoot and Mentimeter platforms.
  • Revisiters: Consolidate the acquired knowledge and skills by reviewing the most important concepts. Be creative!
  • Energizers: This is a must after breaks or when the energy level of participants is down. There are plenty of activities. Make sure that each energizer does not exceed 5-10 minutes.

Would you like to explore the secrets of successful virtual trainers?

The Meirc team has developed a new course titled “Train the Virtual Trainer” to equip both new and experienced trainers with the needed skills to design and deliver effective virtual training sessions. The course provides practical tools to facilitate virtual training in an engaging and professional way.

About the Author
Hani Ramadan

He holds a bachelor of arts in hospitality management from the Lebanese University and a master of business administration from the Lebanese American University. In addition, he has a CIPD level 5 diploma in HRM, a level 3 certificate in assessing vocational achievement, and is BPS Level A&P certified in occupational testing. Hani is also an associate certified coach (ACC) by the International Coach Federation (ICF), a certified manager by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers in the US, and holds an advanced certification from the institute of training and occupational learning in the UK.

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