Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Virtual Program Facilitation Challenges - Three to Keep an Eye on

Avoiding the pitfalls with your first virtual program –webinar/teleclass/teleseminar

With technology continuing to evolve, and more people accessing online learning of some sort, it is likely that at some point you will add virtual programming to your offerings, whether it is a preview webinar, a teleclass, teleseminar or a virtual group coaching program. I’ve written about virtual programming tips for many years now as virtual programs have been a popular part of my business for the last 7-8 years.

Three challenges to keep in mind if you are preparing for your first (or 100th virtual program):
Technology Breaks down – Check out the services you are using and have a back up. Make sure your connection works from your landline and mobile. Sometimes there can be a difference as to what you can access and where. Know how to complete quick items like record, mute, unmute, raise hands, chat or work a white board. Practice is usually the only way to master these.

No one shows – Whether you have 4 people on the call or 40 people on the call, consider how your virtual program (or components of it) can be packaged for future benefit. Back in 2006, I offered a series of Business Brown Bag calls – 45 minute calls for business owners, of which 15 minutes were a presentation on pertinent business topics, with the reminder of the call a more group coaching format. I recorded the first 15 minutes of my presentation and made these into podcasts. It became a popular resource for business owners, and unknown to me at the time, a marketing vehicle that generated interest and registrations for many years.

Low energy: Virtual programs can be challenging for new facilitators in terms of the energy and feedback you receive. If you are using only a phone based system, other than enabling people to raise their hands in response, or signal on their keypad their agreement, it may feel like you are talking into a black hole. Your energy is imperative in keeping the flow going.  Remember too that it is critical to engage your group members every 5-7 minutes. Without involvement and engagement it is challenging for anyone to continue to focus, let alone participate.

What other challenges do you find common in leading virtual programs?

Have a wonderful week,

Jennifer Britton, BCC, PCC, CHRP
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2012)
Host of the Group Coaching Intensive (15 CCEs - July 12-13, Huntsville), Group Coaching Essentials (6.75 CCEs, starts Aug 10), Advanced Group Coaching Practicum  (starts mid-August)
Looking to take action on your group program ideas and want time and a structure to focus on designing your program? Join me Friday July 20 and 27 (10-1 pm Eastern) for the Group Program Virtual Retreat
Phone: (416) 996-8326

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