What do we gain and lose by going from in-person to virtual?

While difficult, we can translate a majority of our in-person interactions to an online format over video chat, instant messaging or a combination of the above.

We will necessarily lose a lot of spontaneity.

  • People will need to serve themselves the food.
  • We cannot have as much spontaneous dialog. Rather than having an unplanned conversation, we will need to talk, stop and take questions, then talk again. This is because we cannot have more than one conversation at a time. Things must become much more choreographed.
  • We may need to do the “in-plenary Q&A” via typed questions from the audience. The instructor can answer them verbally or via typed text.
  • We cannot ad-lib activities – those need to be pre-meditated because we will need to set up breakout rooms in advance.
  • We cannot use movement as a way to communicate the way we can move around the classroom and project energy and drive engagement.

However, there are a lot of things that we can still do well:

  • We can cold call people by name! (This actually works better on line because their names will be listed!)
  • We can engage the audience by polling them and letting them type questions.
  • The audience can raise their hands and we can call on them by name when Q&A time arrives.
  • For smaller audiences, they can physically raise their hand and the instructor or moderator can spot that and cue them in.
  • We can use breakout rooms to facilitate small group discussions.

Adapted from a blog post titled "Leading a virtual entrepreneurial team – Part 5. Pro-Tips for Instructors and Trainers" by Elaine Chen

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