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February 2021
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TD Magazine

3 Pointers for Leading Virtual Training

To set yourself up for success when leading a virtual training session, do your best to replicate how people interact in an in-person environment. As with face-to-face training, learner engagement is key.

1. Use rhetorical questions.

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Questions such as "So, why should you care about this?" or "How will this affect you?" create the appearance of a conversation, which is the best you'll do if you have more than a dozen people in a class. When you ask questions, your tone of voice changes and you sound more engaged and more engaging.

2. Use polls strategically.

Conducting polls engages learners, but make sure your polls further the conversation. Don't ask "Which of the following are your greatest concerns?" unless you are going to tailor your delivery to the most popular response. Otherwise, you may come across as dismissive of learners' challenges.

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3. Understand virtual platform limitations.

For instance, some companies use Zoom but disable the chat and record features, which are important modifications for a facilitator to know about. Inquire about such limitations well in advance of the training session so that you're not caught off guard.

About the Author

Jay Sullivan is managing partner at Exec-Comm, and leads the firm’s law firm group. He is an award-winning author and columnist, as well as an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law Center and Fordham University School of Law. His book, Simply Said: Communicating Better at Work and Beyond, was released by John Wiley & Sons in 2016, and has since been translated into Chinese, Korean, and Russian. As a contributing writer for Forbes.com, Sullivan brings relevant and timely advice on enhancing one’s communication skills to the business community.

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