Life Training or classroom training on leadership and methodology has started to recover ever more rapidly. I am planning and actually facilitating some! Yet, one such event was cancelled last minute: COVID incidents. I am vaccinated for the third time myself, but that would not help very much with twelve or sixteen participants in such circumstances…
In the end, they allow more spontaneous action! Firstly, real eye contact. Secondly, voice, language, the way we pronounce can be varied. Thirdly, body language can be used. All in all, we can provide more variety and have more fun at the same time!
Preparing and leading training courses has always been easy for me. So I always packed a moderator’s case, an extra box with pens and a bag in which I have, well, everything I need with me. I thus have a second power supply for the PC, a mouse, a loudspeaker to “shower” large rooms and a Jabra … And all the utensils for my favorite exercises. And I may return to this routine!
In any case, I am not a fan of designs based on the motto “send three groups into their rooms, let them work out something and present to the plenary”, in the worst case on the same topic. And that in endless repeat. Virtual training makes this all the more sluggish. A mix of methods throughout the day is not only useful here, it is needed.
Old routines work once more. So, I like to do a coin sociogram to present power and social closeness. But that did not work virtually, as I had to suffer once: a participant could not point the camera at her sociogram. I had to imagine the coins and only so could proceed. While (almost) all methods could be used in the virtual world, yet, they had to be adapted! Now you can follow the original modus operandi, again.
The Marshmallow Challenge as well as the well-known tower building exercise actually encourage more personal closeness. Using MS Teams’ breakout rooms, the participants automatically kept their distance in the literal sense of the word! I often had such groups work in the corners of the classroom. Under current conditions, the participants have to group around large tables and keep their distance!
Flip charts and partition walls could simply no longer be used. We had to use the virtual whiteboards to draw, as “easily” as using a flip. Participants could an also write sticky notes on Conceptboard. Having said that, some trainers felt a need to use as many tools as possible. Tools were an end in themselves. Not for me. And virtual trainings offer advantages of their own. My experience about closeness and trust is different from common wisdom: If the trainer and also everyone else meet in their own breakout rooms, enable the cameras, and follow some more rules like in any “home office”, trust can arise! As children or animals may appear in home office, they are also welcome as diversion in virtual training.
Classroom training is feasible once again. Action Photo will follow…
Face-to-face or classsroom trainings are now going to happen much sooner, but still by and by. Planning – booking hotel rooms, coordinating specialists – proves difficult and volatile. At the same time we must consider that we are not yet through the fifth wave, and regional hotspots may all of a sudden arise, as can (the influx of) mutants. We will always have to plan a virtual version in parallel as we design trainings (and workshops) for a long time to coming! But for the moment: let’s enjoy the new situation, as an outlook onto the New Normal.