March 24, 2020

By Rachel Adams

As campaigns continue to grapple with rapidly shifting norms and practices, many are quickly moving typically in-person gatherings online.

It’s increasingly important to be able to effectively facilitate virtual spaces, where participants can get the same level of engagement and quality of content that they would in a face-to-face session. If done well, virtual spaces can be vibrant, engaged communities of growth.

Below, you’ll find links to resources we’ve created to help you lead strong virtual trainings.

It’s tempting to think the only real difference between meeting in-person and virtually is knowing how to use a specific app.

The truth is, effective virtual facilitation builds on your existing skills by focusing on a few key areas:

 

General “tech hygiene”

This refers to the way that you use technology in general, including best practices for managing distractions, setting up your space, and being prepared for your session.

 

Online presence

Showing up well online involves more than just sitting in front of a camera. These practical tips will make sure that you are showing up fully for your participants and encouraging them to do the same.

 

Virtual community-based learning

Regardless of where they are, people want to be involved and active in trainings and workshops. There are ways to navigate virtual spaces to maintain a sense of community and keep people bought in.

Facilitators can hone these skills to hold virtual space for participants, to keep engagement and enthusiasm high, and to keep NDTC’s mission moving forward.

To that end, we’ve created a resource bank with handouts designed to help you develop and practice these skills and get comfortable holding engaging virtual sessions that set participants up for success. Effective virtual facilitation means that the work continues as strong as ever.

 

Resources You Can Use:

Checklist – Before I Start My Training

Effective Virtual Community-Based Learning

Facilitating Engaging Virtual Breakouts

Virtual Training: Best Practices for On-Screen Presence

Virtual Training: Best Practices for Technology Use

Virtual Training: Maintaining Your Energy

Rachel Adams has been teaching hybrid (online and F2F) courses in rhetoric and composition, with a focus on digital and visual rhetorics, since 2012. Since 2018, she has also led online workshops and courses for small business owners and nonprofits shifting to entirely virtual workspaces.