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Tips for Pivoting to Online Workshops

You’ve probably heard or seen the word ‘pivot’ in a headline since the COVID-19 pandemic started as companies adapted and changed their work processes. Many companies have moved from in-person activities to virtual ones due to physical distancing restrictions. Venturing into the online realm may take some adjusting, but this can also open new doors to more innovation, efficiency, and global reach. Transitioning to online workshops with clients is one of the ways we’ve pivoted over the last few months. We’ve learned a lot in the process of using technology to collaborate.

Tip 1: Create a structure

Before hosting an online workshop, make sure you have planned the workshop structure and included ways to keep audiences engaged. Setting the ground rules upfront, including when and how questions should be asked or what features should be used to ask questions allows for clear direction in the absence of in-person visual cues. We also find it helpful to identify when there is a presentation moment versus a Q & A session or a workshop activity. Stay on track by having a designated timekeeper and remember to leave time for insightful discussions and team exercises!

Tip 2: Engage participants using verbal and non verbal methods

It helps to make sure that everyone has a chance to speak and participate in any workshop and this is also true for a virtual workshop. Since traditional in-person engagement methods won’t apply, make sure to use successful moderation strategies so that everyone is seen and heard. You can make use of online features, such as the chatbox, to engage and listen to your audience. As a workshop activity consider using a Start/Stop/Continue exercise and implement a shared online excel spreadsheet to aid for cohesive, participation in real-time by all participants.

Tip 3: Give options

Let people show up how they want to. Some people will keep their video off, some will keep their video on. We all have different comfort levels with technology, so it can help to provide a choice regarding video instead of making it mandatory. At the beginning of the workshop, give a verbal statement about video and chat features so that everyone is aware of the expectations and knows their options for expressing themselves. For example, we allow our clients to turn off their cameras during the presentation moments so that they focus on the slide content.

"When our plans for meeting in person changed to an online workshop format, Dooley Social Change made the transition seamless. The plan for the workshop was to review the market analysis and primary research findings for our initiative. Using an online meeting platform, we could still see and connect with Jennifer while she guided us through the proposed strategic focus of our initiative over the next few years using a shared screen. The online workshop was just as, if not more, efficient and effective as meeting in person. We were able to focus on the material with minimal distractions and Jennifer provided lots of opportunities during the workshop for questions and discussion. We would highly recommend Dooley Social Change for conducting online workshops and look forward to working with Jennifer and her team in the future". ~ Maria L

If you’ve been contemplating online workshops for your business, there’s no better way to learn than by stepping out of your comfort zone and giving it a try!

To learn more about Dooley Social Change, and how we can help you with your audience insights and marketing strategy needs, get in touch with us here. We’re happy to connect and collaborate with your team virtually. You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook or sign-up for our newsletter.


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