[Article] It’s virtually the same

I’ve said on several occasions, that I’m not keen on the idea of running virtual training programmes and workshops.  I believe that when you all get in the same room and breathe the same air, something different happens, that is impossible to recreate through virtual media.

Having said that, I’m very mindful that this may the only option we have available to us for some weeks or months to come.  That getting in the same room may be impossible for a time.  Consequently, this conundrum has been on my mind.  Am I just being a bit of a Luddite?  Is it, in fact, perfectly possible to run successful workshops via virtual media?

The reality is, I don’t know.  But I’m about to find out.  I’m going to take the plunge and run some events on-line.  In the same way that I’ve had to run a lot of meetings virtually, that I would have preferred to do face-to-face.

What I’m hoping is going to happen, not just for me, but for everyone is this:

If we make more use of virtual communications technology, we’ll get more comfortable and confident with it.  And once we’re comfortable and confident with it, we’ll be able to distinguish between the kind of interaction that lends itself to virtual meetings and the interactions where we do in fact benefit form being together in the same room in reality.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences and plans.

  1. I very much enjoy your videos Dianne and am of the opinion that virtual meetings by you will be a success.

  2. Hi Dianne.

    I share your view that virtual meetings don’t replace those where you are in the same room with the person. I think virtual sessions are sufficient for giving presentations or discussing a theme. But when you coach people you want to observe all their physical responses to your coaching exercises like body posture. I am convinced that sitting in the same room with the person you coach you also receive vibrations and subconsciously obtain other information about the current mental state of the coachee. This doesn’t work in a virtual session. But that’s me. Maybe you make the experience that there is no difference.

    1. Hi Achim,
      I think that is exactly what I’m hoping to find out. I’ve always been convinced that something different happens when we get together with another person in the same room. I guess the big question is just how much we can achieve remotely and when do we really need to be together to get the required results?

  3. Hi Dianne
    I understand your reluctance, but I am reminded of one of the presuppositions of NLP.
    The system (person) with the most flexibility (choices) of behaviour will have the most influence on the system. You appear to me to be a flexible person, so try it and if it doesn’t quite work, then it will be feedback not failure

    1. Hi Joan,
      You’re absolutely right! I usually find that if I view a situation in the light of the NLP Presuppositions I find a useful approach. Thank you!

  4. I have turned into a huge convert after several weeks of on-line meetings and am finding Zoom and Teams the most user friendly. They let you see everyone’s faces which really helps alongside hearing them.
    We also have a weekly quiz with all of our furloughed staff just to check in with them and it really seems to help, instead of radio silence.
    Looking forward to your on-line content Dianne! Best wishes – Harriet x

    1. Thanks Harriet, it’s good to hear that you’re finding on-line meetings are working for you. Thank you for the encouragement!

  5. Hello Dianne.
    I agree that there is a big difference in engagement and personal sensory feedback from a ‘room’ experience. I ran my first ‘online’ training a few days and made sure I followed the tips of some of my colleagues. They worked! The key ones for me were: allow for more, smaller breaks; punctuate my sentences with slightly longer gaps to allow for slight time lags and speak ever so slightly slower (as there are more people to potentially ask questions). The ones I learnt for myself was to keep slide numbers down to support keeping engagement high, just to be myself, and have gimmicks and tools around me to hand (my go to is a small, portable whiteboard that I can sketch models or ideas in the moment and hold up to the screen). Good luck when it happens Dianne 👍

    1. Hello Brendan,
      Thank you for sharing your experience and top tips! It seems that, to quote one of my mentors, ‘everything you already know still applies’. In this case, to keep the needs of your audience in mind and think about what makes you engaging. Good luck in your continuing exploration of the virtual world.

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