Mates we’re transitioning to a digital world and although it’s challenging there are also some awesome benefits from it.

This week I’ve been running virtual workshops with young people through the City of Palmerston Youth Program. We’ve run workshops on comedy, photography/videography and creating your own blog/website.

It’s a crazy thing to move interactive workshops online – definitely presenting me with some obstacles and creative thinking challenges. But so far they’ve gone pretty well – I think being able to connect during iso is a great outcome in itself.

Anyway, thought I’d share 5 lessons from running virtual workshops in case these help you in what your delivering.

  1. Open the room early and let people have conversations, connect and get comfortable before you launch into anything.
    • Socialising is so important when we are in isolation, and when you run a face to face workshop it’s one of the most important development aspects. Try to encourage interaction and prompt people to engage with each other before the workshop starts.
  2. Don’t panic if they’re quiet
    • This was a big one for me. I’m so used to bouncing off people when I teach, so it’s been a bit grounding exercise to allow for silence and not read too much into how people react to the content. It’s hard to respond in real time in a virtual workshop and a lot of the time people have their microphones on mute so don’t let silence ruin your flow.
  3. Control the sound and the flow
    • I ask people in my workshops to turn their microphones on mute unless they’re talking to stop back ground noise and typing sounds interrupting the workshop. I also try to direct the conversations a little so that people don’t talk over the top of each other. This is also proving useful at getting the ‘quieter’ participants to actively engage as everyone has their moment to chat.
  4. It’s challenging but make it interactive
    • This is one element that I’m still working on, but I’ve found when you build in exercises for people to do at home between the workshop information it makes it a whole heap more fun and memorable. It’s also good for people to be able to share in these spaces – so creating opportunities for that will help them get the most out of what they’re learning
  5. Chill out and enjoy it
    • Look, we are all learning and developing new skills daily ATM. I think it’s important to be kind to yourself and not expect perfection right away. People are keen to connect and enjoy the experience of a virtual workshop without it being perfect. I also find that when I’m having fun the information and the interaction flows a lot smoother – so chill out, focus on the people in the virtual space and enjoy the fact you have human connection.

Always happy to provide mentoring, advice and support for people transitioning their workshops and activities online. This digital adaption is fast changing and important for us to get a grasp on. Touch base if you’d like more information.

Amy Hetherington

Amy has a jack-of-all-trades tool kit of communications skills and heaps of energy. She offers services including content creation, videography, photography, publicity, community engagement, social media and MCing and comedy to help Northern Territory people connect with events, organisations, causes and celebrations. Amy is passionate about creating content and sharing stories in a fun, enjoyable and amiable style. She’s heavily involved in the NT community and would love to add some fun and engagement to your next project.