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ATD Blog

When Delivering Virtual Training, Good Enough Is Not Good Enough

Monday, October 4, 2021

Experience Is Everything

The biggest obstacle to gaining wider adoption of virtual training is the experience. Too often, virtual instructor-led training (VILT) feels impersonal, uncollaborative, low-energy, and two-dimensional. It can be a boring and awful experience for learners instead of engaging and educational. Experience matters more than anything. When you make VILT a great experience for your customers and learners, they’ll begin to trust it and be open to more. Therefore, to improve the virtual learning experience, our mission is to create as close a facsimile to in-classroom training as possible.

Good Enough Is Not Good Enough

In my experience, the most important and challenging virtual training mindset shift is internalizing and embracing the mantra: good enough is not good enough.

I’ve watched my own trainers and those of my clients struggle with this belief system. The problem is that it’s easy to be good enough and difficult to be legendary.

Discipline to always excel and do your best requires sacrifice. In fact, discipline is sacrificing what you want now (easy) for what you want most—the mission and making a real impact (challenging). Doing the easy things only serves to make you mediocre. It’s the hard things that help you grow.


You Are Onstage and Under a Microscope

Far too many instructors treat the virtual training classroom with less respect than they do the physical classroom. The truth, though, is that you must be better and more prepared in the virtual classroom than you are in a physical classroom.

In physical and virtual classrooms, you are always onstage. But in the virtual setting, you are under an intense microscope.

Everything you do and say, inside the limits of your video frame, is being observed and magnified by your learners. Everything—from what you wear, the quality of your visuals, lighting, sound, audio, body language, facial expressions, voice tone and inflection, the words you use, your emotional state, how well you manage the classroom, how you engage your learners, and your mastery of the training content—is being judged. Those judgements are not based on your intentions but on those of your participants.

You cannot fake it in a virtual classroom and get away with it. You cannot show up unprepared. In the classroom, raw charisma might allow you to get away with mistakes, lack of preparation, or a weak command of the content, but it won’t carry you in the virtual classroom. Your learners will see right through it.


There’s No Margin for Error

In the physical classroom, if something isn’t going well, there is usually enough time and space to fix it. In the virtual classroom, you do not have that chance, so you must be much more prepared.

Sweat the Small Stuff

With virtual training, you must be disciplined and strive for perfection in everything you do. Every detail matters. Even if your learners are not consciously aware of it, their brains know when you sweat the small stuff. They respect and value your investment in their learning experience.

With the right mindset for virtual training, you never accept anything less than perfection, even though you will never be perfect. You embrace the truth that complacency leads to mediocrity. The mark of exceptional virtual trainers is that they pride themselves on their deep attention to detail. They believe that continuous improvement is the name of the game. They take time to watch their deliveries, pick everything apart, and fine-tune their courses.

Likewise, cutting-edge instructors and learning organizations that are committed to delivering a legendary virtual learning experience make regular, ongoing investments to upgrade and add new production equipment, technology, and learning tools to enhance the learning experience. With this critical mindset, they never allow themselves to accept that good enough is good enough.

About the Author

Jeb Blount is the bestselling author of 13 books and CEO of Sales Gravy, an international sales enablement and training firm. His new book, Virtual Training, gives you a step-by-step guide to delivering a legendary virtual learning experience.

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