A few tips on running engaging remote training workshops, from my experience running short internal training sessions for remote teams.
Workshops are much harder to run remotely than in person – helping any one attendee troubleshoot their problem is hard, and helping more than one person at a time is outright impossible. Nonetheless, there are clear advantages to running workshops remotely:
- Attendees can join the workshop from anywhere in the world.
- Even for people who are close-by, not having any travel time or logistics can be the difference between attending a session or missing it.
- It’s simpler for people to arrive late, or leave early.
- Recording is very straightforward, with all interactions happening over a video call.
- With no travel time or logistics, running a session multiple times is as simple as offering multiple slots.
- Similarly, it’s also very simple to split a curriculum over multiple smaller bookings, which might be easier to find time for than a big booking.
There are specific issues to remote-ness worth highlighting as well:
- Troubleshooting or offering help is hard
- Tech issues can get in the way – both for attendees and organisers
Making it work
Setting the agenda
Take ample time to document all of the steps of the workshop, including the expected duration for each. This is especially important if you’re not used to running workshops, or if you’re not used to running them remotely.
Remote attendance means lots of participants might be fitting the workshop around other engagements during the day, and won’t have any room for the workshop to overrun.
First and foremost, spend time getting as familiar as possible with your video call equipment and software. Spend more time with Zoom, trying out all of the options, and configuring waiting rooms, recording, and so on. Zoom has way more of those gotchas than the average video call software, so it’s good to be aware of them ahead of time.
- Consider rehearsing with someone else. You pick up so many more potential gotchas if there’s someone who isn’t as experienced with the material to notice things
- Always share a workshop notes / supporting document ahead of time. Then you can put all the relevant links in there, as well as any specific instructions. Personally I also use that same doc as the outline of the workshop for myself. And that will be the doc I send around at the end with any extra links we discussed, and the recording if relevant. I’ll also take note of the time I expect to take for each section, so I have a sense of how I’m doing time-wise. You had slides, so it could also just be an extra “links” slide as well
- Ideally also have a section in that same doc with everything people should do ahead of the workshop. People might not bother ahead of time, but for those that do the workshop will be a bit easier to follow.
During the session
Start on time, end on time! In-between, make sure to keep to your schedule.