Delivering Online Workshops: What We’ve Learnt

Back in March, the world shifted. Travel halted. Offices shut. Businesses closed. We stopped being in the same room as each other and started only seeing each other through a screen.

For Think Productive, as a Productivity Training Company delivering face to face workshops in people’s offices, it was a scary time for us.

Luckily, we had our Productivity Ninja characteristics to help us adapt. Agility. Preparedness. Unorthodoxy. We used these characteristics to pivot the business, to deliver our full suite of face to face workshops on Zoom and even created two brand new sessions ‘The Productivity Ninja’s Guide to Working from Home’ and ‘Leading Remote Teams’.

Since the beginning of April, we’ve now delivered hundreds of our workshops online across the world and we’ve learnt a lot in the process. There are pros and cons to delivering workshops in a virtual world. But, we’ve learnt, the pros far outweigh the cons…

Remote work

The not-so-obvious benefits of Online Workshops

– You can get a much more geographically diverse group of people together, which opens up perspective you may have never heard from.

– From a business perspective, it’s much cheaper, as you don’t have to pay out any travel costs (for your staff or our Trainer). It also means it can be easier to find a date for training that works for the whole team, as there’s no travel logistics involved.

– From a delivery perspective, it forces you to be more creative and possibly quicker (eg using break out rooms on Zoom instead of getting up and moving to another room physically)

– Accessibilty is good – there are lots of tools available like transcription.

– It can be a real leveller. In a real room, the most senior person might sit at the head of the table, and this does affect how others in the room contribute. In a virtual meeting, no one takes up more space than anyone else. Everyone gets their turn to speak as everyone takes up one box, visible in no particular order on camera.

– Distance between screens can make it easier and feel safer to share difficult communications.

– You can get an insight into people’s real lives. People are in their own spaces rather than in an artificial training space. It helps us to connect on a human level.

– Using the chat means you can potentially see a wider range of views, as people may feel more comfortable contributing in a chat function.

– Potentially screen demos are easier as people can all see the screen share rather than everyone trying to huddle round a projector.

The not-so-obvious downsides

– For some people it’s sensory overload. Especially in gallery view as you’re trying to read body language and hear voices across multiple squares.

– People are even more tempted to multitask in virtual sessions. Or get interrupted and have to step away because someone’s at the door.

In summary, although some people might be skeptical about the benefits of online training, our Productivity Ninjas have found an overwhelming number of benefits to this new virtual world we’re in. That’s not to say we don’t miss all being in the same room together! But for now, we’ll make the most of the new world of work.

Is there an unexpected pro you’ve discovered from working online? We’d love to hear them! 

For more tips, sign up to our Monthly Productivity Ninja Tips newsletter here.

To experience one of our virtual sessions, register for a free place on one of our upcoming webinars here.


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