Training is an incredibly important part of any workforce, whether you’re training your teams on internal processes or your clients on how to use your product. And increasingly, companies are turning to virtual trainings as a way to better reach their audience.
Robert Rose, the Chief Strategy Advisor with the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), has a wealth of experience with both in-person and virtual training sessions; he’s the creator and primary teacher of all the CMI trainings for clients. Read on for three best practices to help you take your remote trainings to the next level. Or, if you want the TL;DR version, watch his Prezi video here:
1. Use great visuals
The goal of any training session is to help your audience learn something and, more importantly, retain that information for when they need it. People won’t remember anything if you’re simply running through slides full of text — support your message with strong images or videos that create a memorable metaphor.
Additionally, be sure to adapt your content to the medium. Too often, people will try to replicate the in-person experience for their remote trainings to mixed results. While talking over the occasional visual can work well when everyone’s in the same room, doing that remotely will only cause your content to fall flat. Your visuals have to pull more weight in virtual settings, so think about how your images move and build upon each other or how you can incorporate videos more effectively.
2. Organize your training
Trainings often contain a lot of information in a short period of time, which can be overwhelming for attendees. To help your audience better understand the material, Robert recommends treating your training program as a journey, with clear milestones so people know where they are (and where they’ve come from) at any given point.
In a virtual setting, the audience may not be in the same room together, but that doesn’t mean that they’re alone. It’s important to be mindful that people are likely dealing with distractions and other responsibilities while at home, so reminding them where you are in the training journey will help them reorient themselves as they come and go.
3. Be entertaining
This might seem like an intimidating tip, but you don’t need to be a comedian to make your remote training entertaining. The important thing is to be authentic and add your personality as you present, and share stories and anecdotes to help conceptualize the material in conjunction with your visuals.
Robert also suggests “resetting” your audience every 12 minutes or so. After a while, it becomes harder for people to maintain their focus. By periodically breaking up the flow of your talk with a quick Q&A or with a story or joke, you can re-engage your attendees.