Engagement when doing online events is even more paramount than offline. Our attention span seems to be even shorter and because sometimes the cameras are off, we, as participants, tend to do so many other things while we have the meeting/webinar/workshop online (myself guilty as charged).
Only in March/April, I have led around 30 hours of online workshops – these have taught me a thing or two 😉
How do you keep participants engaged?
1. Theory should be limited to 3-5 minutes at a time – corresponding to a slide. Have something engaging for them – a question; an exercise; a prompt; a video; a poll. The idea is to vary the mediums often – so you keep the participants engaged. And there is a fine balance between being engaged and overwhelmed: find that balance. Continue point 2 😉
2. Balance in my view means having an arch – and like an arch there is a start, culmination and closure. And a workshop online or offline is a compilation of small arches that contribute to the big Arch – that is the whole flow of the workshop. Pay attention to each part of theory/exercise – are they a complete arch in themselves? Is there flow between them? How well are they connecting with each other? Important to keep in mind the intensity flow – in other words the flow of energy. That is: it is not smart to put two meditation or visualizations close to one another – there needs to be high and low which comprise an arch. And the transition between these high and low energies should be smooth.
3. Establish a clear frame of collaboration or agreements of endeavor. As much important as this is in all meetings/workshops, it is even more imperative when it comes to online where the nonverbal communication is lacking and the reading of the space is limited to one screen at a time.
4. Know your online platforms well: I use zoom and am quite happy with it – it gives so many opportunities for engagement: whiteboard; chat option; breakout rooms; annotate tool; changing the names of participants (good if you have an ice-breaker where they call themselves something different).
5. Have participants move – as simple as that. After breaks or when you feel the energy is low, have some fun moving exercises: it can be dance, stretching or another one that I like is standing up and high-fiving your neighbor. It becomes a mess and it’s fun.
There is more to come. I am learning every day and even though it demands more energy than offline workshops and not my favorite medium, I do see and like the possibilities that there are on online platforms.
Key point is: there is a way to make it work even online. Now, after the initial shock of the pandemic, online is the new “normal”, we have found ways to adapt and make the best of it.
All my workshops are online now. Check them out or contact me if you need a customized workshop for your organization or company.
I am devoted to helping young professionals step into their leadership and to supporting organizations develop, engage and retain their future leaders.