Virtual Team Training: It Works!
We all appreciate that in-person interactions can be stronger than those we have in virtual settings. It’s not just that body language is easier to read, but we aren’t dealing with technology issues, bad lighting, or audio glitches. So any managers wanting only the best results might wonder if virtual team training sessions are worth the time.
The answer is a resounding yes! Don’t be lulled into thinking that you need to wait for post-Covid times or that the experience can’t be effective in an online format. In fact, when a team has been prepped, there are advantages to yet another Zoom meeting that you may not even imagine. Our experiences have proven this numerous time and time again in recent months.
Unexpected time benefits
When we tackle big training initiatives, we often think we must devote hours or even days to it. That seems logical; one would expect that to achieve significant outcomes, you’d need to invest substantial time. However, that is one of the most attractive parts of coming together in a virtual environment. It can happen in short blocks of time that are repeated occasionally.
Scheduling shorter sessions becomes easier to fit into everyone’s busy calendars and getting together more frequently reinforces and refreshes the material naturally. Rather than a ‘one-and-done’ workshop experience, moving towards a ‘learn and return’ experience actually deepens and strengthens the knowledge. It also provides natural breaks for participants to become more aware of their habits, choosing to practice new skills and triggering tangible results that are noticeable to all.
Virtual team training in action
This played out recently in our work with an organization. Pre-Covid, we always facilitated our popular team-building program, in either half-day or full day sessions. But this December and January, we embarked on our “Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team” program with a motivated group of six online.
We scheduled out seven sessions over a nine-week period, each lasting 90 minutes on Monday mornings. For every session, we had 100% attendance (impressive!) and full engagement. We all felt like we got into a groove. In fact, I know I was eager every Monday to re-connect with this team.
I wanted to hear what had transpired since we last met. What successes and challenges did they face? How could we help? What changes (if any) could be made? What could we celebrate? Moving at a consistent pace, with lots of opportunity to observe, practice, and illustrate real change was genuinely motivating for all of us.
Meeting virtually, without travel constraints, also made it economical for us to be together, which is important for budget considerations. But the icing on the cake was the level of effectiveness this afforded the team to accomplish.
Taking advantage of circumstances
If you and your team are ready to evolve, you don’t have to wait until you all are in the same building before you achieve remarkable changes. There are other significant advantages to the virtual team training format.
Sometimes being in a remote setting presents a comfortable space to be more open with others. Sitting in a chair next to someone and having to address a difficult topic can be intimidating in-person. But the video format offers just enough ‘distance’ for someone to more easily make a statement or ask a probing question. Respect and professionalism are always expected but just moving outside of a normal space often helps open up a fresh way of thinking.
How to get the most out of it
Being open to new perspectives and 100% active participation are important whether you are in-person or virtual but are just as doable virtually. When prepping your team for these engagements, set the expectation of good video etiquette.
For example, ask that everyone plan to have the camera on (it’s ok to jump off if an unexpected visitor shows up or your dog is misbehaving). Just as you would for other important meetings, establish shared guidelines for good meeting protocols, such as being on-time (even early!), listening actively, and contributing.
Yes, I’m looking forward to in-person sessions again. But my perspective is now expanded and enriched by witnessing the many advantages of meeting virtually. Don’t miss out on an extraordinary time to help your team reach new heights. Get in touch for a free 30-minute consultation today!
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